England v Scotland: Eddie Jones says weight of expectation may get ‘heavy’ for visitors

3 weeks ago
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George Ford scores a try
Venue: Twickenham Stadium Date: Saturday 6 February Kick-off: 16:45 GMT
Coverage: Listen to commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Radio Scotland; live text commentary and post-match video highlights on the BBC Sport website and app.

England head coach Eddie Jones says the weight of expectation may get “heavy” for Scotland in the latter stages of Saturday’s Calcutta Cup match.

The fixture marks the 150th anniversary of the sides’ first meeting, but Jones insists the Scots will not be the only team with national pride on the line.

England are the defending Six Nations champions, while Scotland have not won at Twickenham since 1983.

“For Scotland it is the most important game of the year,” Jones said.

“They talk about it all the time. But Scotland don’t have a monopoly on pride.

“Our players get an opportunity to play in this historic game and they are going to be ready for it.

“You listen to the Scottish and how much it means to them – it’s their biggest game of the year, their most important game, they are playing for trophies.

“That’s a huge expectation for them and maybe, with 15 minutes to go in the game, the expectation is going to get pretty heavy for them.”

England’s 21-year-old centre Ollie Lawrence will start opposite Scotland debutant Cameron Redpath, who had previously been called into Jones’ set-up but never earned a cap.

Five of Jones’ starting XV belong to Championship side Saracens and only one, number eight Billy Vunipola, has played a match since England’s Autumn Nations Cup win against France in early December.

It means captain Owen Farrell, full-back Elliot Daly, hooker Jamie George and lock Maro Itoje are short on game-time as they prepare for the return of the Six Nations.

“We had a good hit-out and the data from training yesterday was impressive,” Jones told BBC Sport.

“We might be a bit short but it is what it is.”

An Autumn Nations Cup gameplan which was short on offloads and heavy on kicks led to some complaints over England’s style of play last year.

But Henry Slade – starting at outside centre on Saturday – offered fans hope of more exciting games to come, telling BBC Sport: “We’ve been trying to move on our attack for a while.

“There were a few games in the autumn with terrible weather and it wasn’t conducive to playing running rugby.

“I think we’ve got some good changes of plans and ideas now with attack.”

Line-ups

England: Daly; Watson, Slade, Lawrence, May; Farrell (capt), Youngs; Genge, George, Stuart, Itoje, Hill, Wilson, Curry, B Vunipola.

Replacements: Cowan-Dickie, Obano, Williams, Lawes, Earl, Robson, Ford, Malins.

Scotland: Hogg (capt); Maitland, Harris, Redpath, Van der Merwe; Russell, Price; Sutherland, Turner, Z Fagerson, Cummings, J Gray, Ritchie, Watson, M Fagerson.

Replacements: Cherry, Kebble, WP Nel, R Gray, Graham, Steele, Van der Walt, Jones

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BBC Sport – Rugby Union

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