Steward is a consistent player for England but has been dropped

The England team news v Scotland has revealed star full-back Freddie Steward has been dropped by head coach Steve Borthwick in the Six Nations with Northampton Saints’ George Furbank is starting in his place.

Steward is one of his country’s most consistent players, a trait that has earned him back-to-back England player of the year awards. He started the first two rounds of the 2024 tournament in the No 15 jersey, starring in the wins over Italy and Wales.

Related: What is the Calcutta Cup?

The full-back, who made his debut in 2021, particularly stood out against Wales in the last round, commanding the air under high balls. However, he has been completely dropped out of the matchday 23 for the Calcutta Cup clash and it is reminiscent of a Rugby World Cup call made by Borthwick.

In the 2023 RWC, Steward was dropped for England’s quarter-final against Fiji. Marcus Smith was chosen at 15 in a move which did pay off, at least in terms of the result. The decision reinforced that the former Leicester head coach is not afraid of making bold calls.

Steward not being involved against Scotland is a huge decision, especially considering it is England’s toughest game so far and the fact that it is only the second time in his 33-match international career that he has been overlooked for a competitive game.

In the 2024 Six Nations, England have defeated 11th-ranked Italy and eighth-ranked Wales.  Scotland, a team that have beaten them in their last three previous meetings, are ranked one place below them in sixth.

England team news v Scotland: What has Borthwick said?

Read more: England Six Nations squad

However, Furbank has impressed for his club this season. He has captained the club multiple times and helped his team to the top of the table in the Premiership.

Borthwick remained tight-lipped about the call in the team’s press release.

“We’re pleased with the start we’ve made to our Guinness Six Nations campaign but know that a difficult test awaits us in Edinburgh against an in-form Scotland team,” said Borthwick.

“The atmosphere is always special for any Calcutta Cup match and I’m sure this weekend’s game at Murrayfield will be no different. This group of players are looking forward to the challenge on Saturday and to creating some very special memories.”

Scotland v England will kick-off at 4.45pm GMT on Saturday, 25 February.

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