Match Preview – England vs Scotland

February 5, 2021 0 By boss


England open their 2021 Six Nations campaign by hosting Scotland at Twickenham on Saturday (4.30pm kick off); talking points include Scotland’s poor historical record, Eddie Jones’ ‘pride’ jab, England’s Saracens spine, the qualities of Finn Russell and Ollie Lawrence vs Cameron Redpath

Last Updated: 05/02/21 3:47pm

Will Owen Farrell or Stuart Hogg lead their side to victory at Twickenham?

Will Owen Farrell or Stuart Hogg lead their side to victory at Twickenham?

Read the talking points as England and Scotland collide on Saturday in an eagerly-awaited opener to their 2021 Guinness Six Nations campaigns….

150 years of hurt

Rugby’s oldest rivalry reaches a historical milestone when England and Scotland clash in the 150th anniversary of their first meeting in Edinburgh in 1871.

The fixture has been dominated by England, who have won 76 of the 138 previous encounters.

England have the superior record in this fixture in terms of the head to head

England have the superior record in this fixture in terms of the head to head

Eddie Jones’ team are odds-on favourites to dent hopes of a Scottish resurgence, but a dramatic 38-38 draw two years ago will rid the home side of any complacency.

Pride of England

Jones has sounded a note of defiance by reminding Scotland they do not have a “monopoly on pride” in response to the mistaken belief that England are incapable of the passion displayed by their Celtic rivals.

England head coach Eddie Jones this week said Scotland do not have a 'monopoly on pride'

England head coach Eddie Jones this week said Scotland do not have a ‘monopoly on pride’

It was a reminder Gregor Townsend’s side face resolute opponents determined to launch their title defence with a statement victory.

A mischievous Jones also questioned whether Scotland would fold beneath their own expectations amid the positive noises radiating from the underdogs’ camp this week.

Testing time for the Sarries spine

For all England’s conviction that their influential Saracens contingent will be ready, the fact that all but Billy Vunipola have not played since December is a concern heading into the Twickenham showdown.

Maro Itoje is one four Saracens players starting who have not played a game of rugby since early December

Maro Itoje is one four Saracens players starting who have not played a game of rugby since early December

The spine of the team – hooker Jamie George, lock Maro Itoje, No 8 Vunipola, fly-half Owen Farrell and full-back Elliot Daly – have been inactive for two months.

No matter how intense England’s training, it will be unable to match the ferocity of the opening exchanges against spirited visitors.

Fearless Finn

“Free and fearless” is one of the descriptions of Finn Russell’s attacking genius issued by England this week in full understanding the Racing 92 general has the keys to unlock their defence.

The mercurial Finn Russell is perhaps Scotland's major attacking threat

The mercurial Finn Russell is perhaps Scotland’s major attacking threat

Two years ago it was Russell’s vision that inspired Scotland to their remarkable comeback after falling 31-0 behind in a riotous afternoon at Twickenham.

His range of passing and array of kicks is unique amongst any playmaker in the game today and he must be denied the freedom to ignite his backline.

Best of enemies

Best friends will become unflinching enemies when Ollie Lawrence and Cameron Redpath face off down the inside-centre channel.

Ollie Lawrence starts at inside-centre for England against Scotland

Ollie Lawrence starts at inside-centre for England against Scotland

Lawrence provides England with call carrying muscle while Redpath is a more inventive 12. The pair are former England U20 team-mates and Jones will be hopeful Redpath wilts on his debut having failed to cap the Bath playmaker after picking him in his squad for the 2018 tour to South Africa, only for a knee injury to intervene.

Up against Lawrence will be Bath's Cameron Redpath at 12 for Scotland - who was called up to an England squad in 2018

Up against Lawrence will be Bath’s Cameron Redpath at 12 for Scotland – who was called up to an England squad in 2018

Team News

England: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ollie Lawrence 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Ben Youngs; 1 Ellis Genge, 2 Jamie George, 3 Will Stuart, 4 Maro Itoje, 5 Jonny Hill, 6 Mark Wilson, 7 Tom Curry, 8 Billy Vunipola.

Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Beno Obano, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Courtney Lawes, 20 Ben Earl, 21 Dan Robson, 22 George Ford, 23 Max Malins.

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg (c), 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Cameron Redpath, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price, 1 Rory Sutherland, 2 George Turner, 3 Zander Fagerson, 4 Scott Cummings, 5 Jonny Gray, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 7 Hamish Watson, 8 Matt Fagerson

Replacements: 16 David Cherry, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 WP Nel, 19 Richie Gray, 20 Gary Graham, 21 Scott Steele, 22 Jaco van der Walt, 23 Huw Jones





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