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Six Nations begin investigation into beer bottle incident at Murrayfield | Sport


The Six Nations organisers have launched an investigation into the incident before England’s Calcutta Cup victory over Scotland when a member of England’s coaching staff was struck on the head by a beer bottle.

Eddie Jones lashed out after his side’s scrappy 13-6 win, accusing Scotland supporters of lacking respect after England’s head of performance, Neil Craig, was hit shortly after getting off the team bus at Murrayfield. Scotland supporters were also seen making obscene hand gestures at the England squad.

Jones, who was also deeply unimpressed by the crowd’s repeated booing of Owen Farrell as he kicked at goal, said: “We weren’t expecting beer bottles to be thrown. It’s a pretty good achievement, throwing beer bottles, you’ve got to be brave to throw a beer bottle.”

The Scottish Rugby Union said it had apologised to England’s team manager, Richard Hill, and cast doubt on whether the bottle had been thrown.

The SRU pointed to new footage that it believed suggested the bottle had been blown towards Craig rather than thrown.

The Guardian understands that the Six Nations was in discussions on Sunday with both unions over the incident.

England triumphed in a scrappy, weather-affected game thanks to Ellis Genge’s second-half try. When it was put to Genge that a Scotland supporter had thrown the bottle which struck Craig, he said: “He’s old, man. He’s like 93. You can’t throw a bottle at an old man. If someone did that to my grandad, I’d lose my mind. I’m glad I didn’t see it. That’s out of order. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. I’m happy he’s OK.

Meanwhile the Rugby Football Union moved to deny reports in South Africa linking Rassie Erasmus with replacing Eddie Jones as England’s head coach. Since the Springboks’ World Cup triumph in Japan Erasmus has moved upstairs at the South African union, acting as director of rugby while Jacques Nienaber has taken over as head coach. Erasmus was at Murrayfield on Saturday but on Sunday the RFU’s chief executive, Bill Sweeney, strongly denied the suggestion that Erasmus has been in discussions over replacing Jones, whose contract expires in 2021.

The day after the World Cup final Sweeney said that it “made sense” for Jones to extend his contract through to the 2023 tournament. Sweeney and Jones have since held talks over a contract extension but no deal has been agreed. Sweeney was adamant, however, that there has been no contact with Erasmus. “The reports are 100% inaccurate,” he said. “There has been no meeting. There have been no talks whatsoever about any position at the RFU.”

England’s victory over Scotland kept alive their hopes of winning the Six Nations title with Ireland due at Twickenham on 23 February after the tournament’s first fallow weekend. England flew home on Saturday night to avoid the full impact of Storm Ciara that caused severe travel disruption throughout the country.

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England Women’s match against Scotland has been rescheduled for Monday afternoon and will now take place behind closed doors at Murrayfield. The match was initially scheduled for Sunday at Scotstoun Stadium in Glasgow but was postponed due to the extreme weather.

The Six Nations said: “Weather conditions in Edinburgh on Monday will not be as severe as Glasgow but still forecast as challenging, so the game will not be open to the public or have tickets on sale.”

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