All the teams news, battle areas and TV details you need for the Calcutta Cup clash at Murrayfield
Six Nations Scotland v England Preview
Forget the phony war. This is the oldest rugby fixture in the world and it doesn’t need any selling.
Sure there’s the Twitter storms and the literal storm on the way; hot air on social media and actual bluster from Storm Ciara. Scotland have had the Calcutta Cup since 2018, they’ve had a high-profile fall-out with star fly-half Finn Russell, they’ve taken positives from a close loss to Ireland and they’ve been accused of gamesmanship in previous years. England lost to France but are again – for the second week in a row – promising a fierce display.
But it’s all added layers for a rivalry that, to be honest, doesn’t need any more drama.
Related: Tales of the Calcutta Cup
England have rung the changes since their defeat in Paris while Scotland are almost unchanged. Scotland want stability in these turbulent times while England want – no, need – to be disruptors, to wrest back the Calcutta from their familiar foes, to restore their tag as Six Nations favourites and to finally begin their odyssey to being “the greatest rugby team the world has ever seen,” as Eddie Jones puts it.
It’s probably time to see these teams running around, eh?
What’s the big team news?
On the bench, Simon Berghan comes in. He dropped out on the morning of the Ireland game, but is back, so no WP Nel.
Meanwhile, Jones has made five switches. Ben Youngs has been dropped. Willi Heinz comes in for the Leicester nine, with Youngs on the bench. Joe Marler is rotated out, with Mako Vunipola starting and Ellis Genge as a substitute.
George Kruis now partners Maro Itoje at lock, with Lewis Ludlum replacing Courtney Lawes at flanker. Jonathan Joseph comes in at 13.
Uncapped pair Tom Dunn and Ben Earl are two ofe of six forwards on the bench, while Ollie Thorley – like Marler – is gone completely.
What have the coaches said?
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend said: “We were disappointed not to beat Ireland but the opportunity to face England, against whom we are bidding to retain the Calcutta Cup, is one that excites players, coaches and supporters alike.
“England are an excellent team whose run to the Rugby World Cup final was no fluke. They will be smarting from their opener in Paris and Eddie (Jones) will have them primed to come to Edinburgh and put in an improved performance.
“This famous fixture is one that stands out given the history surrounding it and we will have to be at our very best to stand a chance of winning against our oldest rivals.”
England head coach Eddie Jones said: “Preparation this week has been great. We have sought to address the issues from the France game and have had a really good and sharp preparation for Scotland.
“Scotland are a dangerous side. They like to play with a lot of width and with a lot of flow and tempo in their game. We want to make sure we dominate the gain line. Their win record against England at Murrayfield is substantially higher than their overall record against us, so we have to recognise they are a dangerous beast and we have to be at our best to beat them.”
Any interesting statistics?
- These two have met 137 times since 1871. England have won 75, Scotland have won 43 and they have drawn 19 times.
- England were turned over 18 times in last year’s 38-38 draw. Scotland were turned over 11 times.
- The bookies have priced another draw at 29/1
- England last won this fixture on 11 March 2017 – the score was 61-21.
- Of the 17 occassions England have started with Ford–Farrell –Joseph in midfield, they have won 15
- Last week’s tryless showing for Scotland was the first time in 19 games they had failed to dot down.
- Scotland skipper Stuart Hogg has beaten over 100 defenders in the Six Nations, according to Opta.
What time does it kick off and is it on TV?
England v Scotland, Saturday 8 February, Twickenham
This Test kicks off at 4.45pm on Saturday afternoon. It is live on BBC in the UK and Virgin Media One in Ireland. Commentary will also be live on BBC Radio 5 live and RTE.
French referee Pascal Gauzere will oversee the Calcutta Cup clash. He will be assisted by Mathieu Raynal (France) and Federico Anselmi (Argentina), with James Leckie (Australia) as TMO.
What are the line-ups?
Scotland: Stuart Hogg (captain); Sean Maitland, Huw Jones, Sam Johnson, Blair Kinghorn; Adam Hastings, Ali Price; Rory Sutherland, Fraser Brown, Zander Fagerson, Scott Cummings, Jonny Gray, Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson, Magnus Bradbury.
Replacements: Stuart McInally, Allan Dell, Simon Berghan, Ben Toolis, Nick Haining, George Horne, Rory Hutchinson, Chris Harris.
England: George Furbank; Jonny May, Jonathan Joseph, Owen Farrell (captain), Elliot Daly; George Ford, Willi Heinz; Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler, Maro Itoje, George Kruis; Lewis Ludlam, Sam Underhill, Tom Curry.
Replacements: Tom Dunn, Ellis Genge, Will Stuart, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Ben Earl, Ben Youngs, Ollie Devoto.
The latest issue of Rugby World magazine – a Six Nations special – is in shops now.