Cowan-Dickie sorry as England boss Jones takes blame for Scotland loss
Luke Cowan-Dickie has apologised to England supporters for conceding a penalty try in a 20-17 defeat by Scotland as Red Rose coach Eddie Jones accepted the blame for the Calcutta Cup loss at Murrayfield.
England were on course to open their 2022 Six Nations campaign with a win in Edinburgh on Saturday.
But at 17-10 ahead with 15 minutes left to play, Cowan-Dickie batted a crossfield kick from Finn Russell into touch, with referee Ben O'Keeffe ruling the England hooker had denied Darcy Graham the chance to catch the ball and score a probable try.
To make matters worse for England, Cowan-Dickie was sent to the sin-bin.
Scotland took full advantage with the extra man as fly-half Russell kicked a winning penalty to secure successive Calcutta Cup victories for the first time since 1984.
"Just want to apologise to all you supporters," said Cowan-Dickie on social media. I let myself and you guys down.
"Every time I play for my country I want nothing more than to make you guys proud. Thanks for all the support. Looking forward to bouncing back next week!"
Jones, however, insisted the team as a whole, rather than Cowan-Dickie, were responsible for England losing their opening Six Nations match for the third year in a row despite dominating territory and possession.
"Luke is disappointed, that happens in the moment. He played exceptionally well and he is very disappointed, but all the boys are supporting him," Jones said.
"We have only got ourselves to blame. We are massively disappointed that we lost and Scotland deserved to win.
"We dominated a lot of the game but didn't get the points out of the domination."
The veteran Australian coach added he was responsible for the error that led to Russell's match-clinching penalty.
With Cowan-Dickie off the field, Jones opted against bringing on reserve hooker Jamie George.
That meant prop Joe Marler had to throw-in to a subsequent line-out but his attempt failed to travel the required minimum of five metres.
And it was from the ensuing scrum that England conceded the penalty that enabled Scotland to go three points in front.
"We thought we could wait for a scrum because we wanted to keep the back rowers on at that stage," said Jones.
"Scotland were moving the ball around well. We thought we needed that third back rower on. Certainly I take the blame for that."
- 'Do a job' -
Jones, however, had no qualms about his decision to take off fly-half Marcus Smith midway through the second half.
The 22-year-old playmaker, who scored all of England's points, had just rounded off a fine try when he was replaced by veteran stand-off George Ford.
"It's a 23-man squad," said Jones, who had to field a much-changed side at Murrayfield from the one that beat world champions South Africa last time out in November after injuries to several senior players.
"We felt George could come on and do a job for us in the last 20 minutes."
England will look to bounce back away to perennial strugglers Italy next weekend, with a defiant Jones saying: "This doesn't change anything. In the next game we'll get as many points as we can.
"Obviously we want to win the competition but this doesn't change our approach," he added.