RUGBY | SIX NATIONS

England get off to winning start against Scotland at Murrayfield

England opened their Six Nations campaign with a hard-fought 15-9 victory over Scotland. The English scored tries from Kruis and Nowell, while the Scots managed just three penalties.

England get off to winning start against Scotland at Murrayfield
ROBERT PERRY EFE

England got the Eddie Jones era off to a victorious, if not quite glorious, start on Saturday as tries by George Kruis and Jack Nowell earned them a 15-9 victory over Scotland in a nervy Six Nations clash at Murrayfield.

England led 7-6 after an even first half as lock Kruis capped their opening dominance with a 14th-minute score, only for Greig Laidlaw to reward Scotland's spirited fightback with two penalties as England again got on the wrong side of the referee at the breakdown.

England came out firing in the second half, with number eight Billy Vunipola carrying with real intent and the rolling maul causing problems, and they got their second try when sharp passing sent winger Nowell over.

Laidlaw reduced the deficit with a penalty to set up a tense last 10 minutes but England's impressive defence held them at bay to extend their unbeaten run against their oldest rivals to nine matches.

France 23-21 Italy

Virimi Vakatawa in action

Meanwhile France coach Guy Noves hailed his team's enthusiasm after a hard-fought 23-21 home win against Italy in their Six Nations opener earlier on, but said Les Bleus had a lot of work to do if they wanted to be fully competitive.

Virimi Vakatawa and Jules Plisson shone in the new-look France team, with sevens stalwart Vakatawa, who had not played 15-man rugby in over two years, scoring the first try from the wing.

Damien Chouly and Hugo Bonneval also crossed the line and fly-half Plisson kicked a conversion and two penalties.

Italy responded with tries by Sergio Parisse and Carlo Canna, who also added a drop goal, a penalty and a conversion, while Kelly Haimona got the on the scoresheet with a penalty.