Scotland vs.. England Preview
Analysis of the England – Scotland Six Nations game at Murrayfield.
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England, underdogs? Oh, okay who are they playing must be the All Blacks. Oh, the Six Nations you say? Well the only team that could possibly be favourites ahead of England would have to be the French. Not the French, well who then? SCOTLAND?!?!?!? Are you deluded?
However strange it may seem, for perhaps the first time in the professional era England are heading up North to Murrayfield as underdogs. England have a new coach who has never coached at first class International level and a starting XV that boasts a mere 233 caps. Compare that to Scotland’s cap count of 499 and Andy Robinson, a coach with vast international experience who was a key part of England’s 2003 World Cup success. On paper the gulf in international experience is vast. Perhaps the biggest shock is when you compare the two skippers. New Scotland skipper, albeit Robinson’s second choice, Ross Ford is winning his 54th cap and has a Lions tour to his name. Chris Robshaw, England’s new skipper, has a solitary cap next to his name. Considering that England have not won at Murrayfield since 2004 it is clear to see why they are embracing the underdog tag.
However, the noises coming from the England camp is that the new influx of faces has brought a freshness to the England set-up that it hasn’t had in years. Stuart Lancaster hasn’t put a step wrong so far with impeccable media work, a hard line approach regarding off the field discipline whilst dedicating time to the players to keep them on side. However, the acid test comes now and all that will matter is whether he can deliver results on the pitch.
Scottish Rugby will be buoyed by Edinburgh’s qualification to the knock-out rounds of the Heineken Cup. Only the second Scottish side to ever achieve this and matches England’s achievement with only Saracens qualifying. However, if Scotland are to have any hope in the tournament they must find a way to cross the whitewash. They only scored a try in one of their four world cup games failing to cross the line against the lowly Georgia. If Scotland can’t find a way to score tries they will find themselves once again in a fight for the Wooden Spoon.
The Scots have also been embroiled in a bit of a PR gaffe when 2008 T-shirts bearing the words: Calcutta Cup. Scotland Winners were accidently re-released this week. The timing was considerably unfortunate following Andy Robinson’s words earlier in the week standing by his comments that he made after the World Cup when he accused England of ‘arrogance’.