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CLIVE WOODWARD: England can take positives from crazy Scotland draw

I have never seen a game quite like it! But England must not worry too much, Eddie Jones can take some positives out of draw with Scotland

On Saturday I wrote that I really wanted Scotland to front up at Twickenham and they fronted up in the second half when they totally rattled England.

But now is not the time to over-react — there are more positives than negatives from this Six Nations for Eddie Jones.

Credit to Scotland for coming back from 31-7 down at half-time and scoring six unanswered tries before George Ford salvaged a draw for England.

George Ford saved England from defeat with a late try in Saturday's 38-38 draw with Scotland

George Ford saved England from defeat with a late try in Saturday's 38-38 draw with Scotland

George Ford saved England from defeat with a late try in Saturday’s 38-38 draw with Scotland

First of all it was an amazing game of rugby for the crowd. I have been coming to Twickenham as a fan, player, coach and pundit for years and I have never seen anything like it — so well done to both teams.

Finn Russell was fantastic at fly-half for the visitors in the second half. No-one got near him and he ran the second half brilliantly but the England defensive system got pulled to pieces. It is not the first time this team have faded following the break.

I believe that at half-time you mentally imagine you are back at 0-0 but England didn’t look like that despite Owen Farrell obviously stating it at the break when he had the team in a huddle.

The way the game slipped away from England is a concern heading into the World Cup but we shouldn’t go overboard.

Scotland's players looked dejected after the match but they were superb in the second half

Scotland's players looked dejected after the match but they were superb in the second half

Scotland’s players looked dejected after the match but they were superb in the second half

But I do wonder if there is too much pressure on Farrell being captain, playing fly-half and kicking goals. That takes a lot of doing.

Other teams will see this and the game against Wales and will gain encouragement for Japan but it can be fixed in time.

One aspect that disappointed me was the way the England bench was used. Would it have been a different result if the starting XV, minus Ben Moon who was injured early, had stayed on the pitch for the full 80?

England have a very strong starting team but when that gets disrupted and the pressure comes on you don’t see the players pulling together and saying, ‘How are we going to sort this out?’

When you look at the finishing team with Nathan Hughes playing in the second row, Scotland were bringing on all their replacements but it doesn’t mean we have to do the same thing.

There is a lot of pressure on Owen Farrell being captain, playing fly-half and kicking goals

There is a lot of pressure on Owen Farrell being captain, playing fly-half and kicking goals

There is a lot of pressure on Owen Farrell being captain, playing fly-half and kicking goals

As the changes came on we got worse and worse.

One thing to come out of this Six Nations for England is that Eddie has nailed his starting line up. If you look at the team who beat Ireland 32-20 in Dublin that is just about it. Just don’t keep making all these replacements.

But I would make a couple of changes with Joe Cokanasiga and Sam Underhill, who has been injured, coming in and keeping everything crossed that the main men stay fit.

If I was picking a team to play the All Blacks in a one-off knock-out game Cokanasiga starts on the wing and Underhill starts at No 6.

That might seem harsh on Mark Wilson who has done a great job but I would like to see Underhill and Tom Curry paired together in the back row alongside Billy Vunipola.

In those games you have got to go out and play quickly and that would be similar to the Richard Hill, Neil Back, Lawrence Dallaglio combination we had in my England team 16 years ago.

It was a stressful match for Eddie Jones but there were positives for the England coach to take

It was a stressful match for Eddie Jones but there were positives for the England coach to take

It was a stressful match for Eddie Jones but there were positives for the England coach to take

The Wallabies have done it with success playing two natural sevens in Michael Hooper and David Pocock in their back row and I can see it working with those two.

The rest of the side picks itself as things stand and the good thing for Eddie is he has some depth to play with. There are others good enough to start — Ellis Genge, Wilson, Brad Shields, Jack Nowell for example — and Dylan Hartley would be on my bench but only as injury cover, not as an impact player.

Anthony Watson still has to come back and he is a fantastic talent at wing or full-back.

So Eddie has got some reserves but there are a few players you just can’t lose such as Farrell, Maro Itoje, Mako Vunipola, Manu Tuilagi at his best and Curry who are pretty much irreplaceable.

Curry at openside is the big guy we should be talking about. He is the one player who has absolutely cemented that position and we have been waiting for this for a long, long time probably since Neil Back was around.

He has been brilliant in this tournament and his progress is a huge bonus for Eddie. And Curry and Underhill are a step up from what England have had in the recent past.

Tom Curry has had an excellent Six Nations campaign and is irreplaceable in the England XV

Tom Curry has had an excellent Six Nations campaign and is irreplaceable in the England XV

Tom Curry has had an excellent Six Nations campaign and is irreplaceable in the England XV

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