Scotland meet England in the Six Nations Championship 2020 at Murrayfield in Edinburgh on Saturday afternoon, with both teams looking to bounce back after going down to defeats in their opening matches.
Match: Scotland vs England (Six Nations Championship)
Date and kick-off: Saturday February 08 @ 16:45 GMT
Best Bet: Handicap – Scotland +9 @ 11/10 with Betfair
Scotland started their campaign with a 19-12 defeat to Ireland in Dublin. It was a game that Gregor Townsend’s men really should have won, but they wasted a host of opportunities, whilst giving up soft penalties that cost them points. There was plenty of encouragement for the Scots in an intensive 80-minute performance, but ultimately they fell short again.
England began with a 24-17 defeat to France in a rain-soaked Paris, in which they trailed 17-0 at the interval and failed to adapt their game to the conditions until it was far too late. It was an error-strewn performance that they can’t afford to repeat at Murrayfield.
The Calcutta Cup is at stake here, but there is far more on the line in terms of the championship for both teams.
Scotland fly-half Finn Russell has again been left out of the squad to face England for “breaching team protocol”, but Adam Hastings started at 10 in Dublin and successfully kicked four of his five penalties.
Injuries have accounted for England’s most effective ball-carriers in Billy Vunipola and Manu Tuilagi, with Jonathan Joseph perhaps the latter’s most likely replacement.
This is likely to be a ferocious encounter, with Scotland starting with high intensity from the off. Scotland will attempt to distract England from the task in hand in every possible way, so acts of gamesmanship and scuffles are to be expected. England will need to retain their composure.
The one bright spot for England in Paris was Jonny May, who conjured up two superb tries to give some late hope. Scotland will need to ensure that he is kept quiet throughout.
Scotland are always up for any sporting event against England and that certainly applies to any Six Nations game at Murrayfield, where England have lost on three of their last seven visits, including a 25-13 defeat on their most recent trip north in 2018. Scotland could certainly set the early pace here.