White steals Hassell-Collins’ thunder and exploits England’s weaknesses

In the end, the contrast could hardly have been greater.

It was supposed to the start of a brave new era for England under new management and Ollie Hassell-Collins was supposed to be a significant part of it.

But in the end, the London Irish wing never had a sight of the tryline on his debut and it was his Gtech stadium team-mate Ben White who stole his thunder for Scotland.

Scrum half White, who has played his part in a fine season for the Irish, took full advantage of a porous defence early in the second half to skip through missed tackles and score the third of the Scots’ four tries at Twickenham on Saturday.

They retained the Calcutta Cup with a deserved 29-23 victory thanks to a late try from South African born Durhan van der Merwe and the home ambition to usher the Eddie Jones era firmly into the past with a decisive start to the Six Nations tournament under Steve Borthwick was left in tatters.

White has good reason now to love the sight of England as opponents. The 24-year-old, who was earning his 10th cap, launched his career by coming off the bench in a 20-17 victory over Jones’ wilting side up at Murrayfield a year ago.

The Stoke-born player has represented the nation of his birth at youth level and played for England against the Barbarians. But the Scots are now benefitting from his skills.

However, this was not the start Hassell-Collins would have been dreaming of the night before his debut.

The 24-year-old is a powerful runner and good in the air, nd his abilities were recognised by Jones, who first introduced him to training squads two years ago.

He has scored 33 tries in 66 Premiership games for London Irish, including eight in 12 this season. But he had few big chances to shine as England spluttered unconvincingly in what has become an all-too familiar way in recent times.

They won only five of 12 Tests last year and were booed off the field in their last match – an abject display against South Africa in November.

It was not a brilliant day either for the three other west London men turning out in white – as Harlequins trio Marcus Smith, centre Joe Marchant and no8 Alex Dombrandt failed to alter the woeful narrative for England.

Marchant, earning his 14th cap, was a surprise choice ahead of Manu Tuilagi, and it was quite the vote of confidence from the new head coach. But a few of his clever charges ended up a cul-de-sac, with the Scots far more impressive in containment than the hosts.

Dombrandt too will not look back too fondly on this one. He was guilty of one of the missed tackles which allowed the fleet-footed van der Merwe claim his first try with a charge from half way which really should have been halted.