England’s defence of their Under 20 Six Nations Championship title got off to a bad start, losing 24-6 to Scotland at Cumbernauld.
Scotland led 12-6 at the break with tries from full back Blair Kinghorn in the corner and Murray McCallum under the posts.
Joe Simmonds kicked two penalties for England – who also lost captain Jack Walker to the sin bin on the stroke of half time.
The hosts then scored 12 unanswered points as forwards Scott Cummings and Matt Smith both bundled over while Kinghorn added to his first-half conversion to take his personal tally to nine.
It was a first ever victory over England for Scotland’s Under 20 side who had failed to win in 11 previous attempts and was also the first time they had won four games in a row at that level.
Flanker Josh Bainbridge admitted it was a disappointing scoreline to open their Six Nations campaign with but said the side never gave up.
“There is a negative in the loss but going forward there is huge positives," he said. "In the last 20 minutes we never gave up and did the jersey as much justice as we could with the scoreline.”
The scrum was a huge area of success for England on an otherwise disappointing night and Head Coach Jon Callard said his side were guilty of not playing to their strengths.
“Scotland were hungry and credit to them for the way they played – they were committed and forced errors," he said.
"We had a lot of possession but they capitalised on our mistakes and the more the game went on, the more we chased it, and the more Scotland fed off that.
“I thought our scrum was excellent and we should have played on that more. Our line out was also winning us good ball but our driving play wasn’t where it should be and we were too often disjointed.
“I’ve got great belief in this young group of players. We’ve been in this situation before and bounced back and now we need to see this as an opportunity to do that again. We need to dust ourselves off, regroup and move forwards into the rest of the Championship.”