It’s fair to say England have stagnated recently. There were flashes of what they could do in November and against Wales but in reality the last time England were on top form was probably way back in the November of 2016.
England were pathetic at the breakdown on Saturday and overwhelmed by a very belligerent and powerful Scotland trio that wanted it more than England.
Chris Robshaw was again workmanlike but is that really enough to be the best in the world? England need something more than a workman as their starting openside flanker.
If they go up against New Zealand’s Sam Cane or Ardie Savea with Robshaw there could be a serious cricket score when the two meet at Twickenham in November.
George Ford showed us all what a bad day at the office looks like kicking the ball repeatedly to Tommy Seymour and Sean Maitland rather than into touch. One of the kicks led to Scotland scoring one of their three tries.
Can you imagine George Ford kicking to New Zealand’s Ben Smith or Australia’s Israel Folau? It would result in total carnage.
Elsewhere, Dylan Hartley failed to galvanise the team. It is rare that England have had to come from behind, and Hartley did not look like a leader that England need out there.
The Red Rose have been winning games, and for that alone they cannot be a bad team, but they have been winning ugly for the last year or so with the odd flash of brilliance. That is not enough if they want to win the World Cup next year.
Improvement is needed for England to really lay down a marker and announce themselves at their peak for the next World Cup. There are a huge amount of milestones they need to hit between now and then.
They need to win their remaining Six Nations games, beat South Africa 3-0 and then negotiate an autumn campaign which includes the highly-anticipated clash with New Zealand at Twickenham.
You can’t go on winning forever and certainly not winning ugly like England have been. This result has to act as a harsh reminder that England can be beaten and cannot go anywhere and expect to win.
Scotland were simply excellent, let’s not take anything away from them. Finn Russell, Huw Jones and Watson were at their best and they confronted England and took their game to another level.
If Scotland can keep performing like that then they could give Ireland a serious game in Dublin. Joe Schmidt’s men look strong and Scotland will have their work cut out in a stadium the New Zealander has never lost a Six Nations game in.
England have been brought back down to earth with a bump, it’s time for them to stand up and show what they’re really made of. If Jones’ men can learn their lessons then France will be in for one hell of a match, if not England are unlikely to even finish second this year.
The real test starts now, but how quickly can England bounce back and in what fashion?
They have the world watching and a win in France is the first step on the road to redemption.