In Review

Six Nations: England tell Scotland ‘we hate you too’

Verbal sparring continues ahead of the Calcutta Cup clash at Murrayfield

Scotland vs. England 
  • What: Six Nations round two
  • When: Saturday 8 February 
  • Where: BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh 
  • Start time: 4.45pm GMT 
  • TV coverage: live on BBC 

England travel to Edinburgh on Saturday knowing that the whole of Scotland hates them - and the feeling is mutual.

Just 24 hours after Scotland centre Sam Johnson went public on his feelings for the “Auld Enemy”, England’s Lewis Ludlum assured the men north of the border that they’re not really his cup of tea. 

“They hate us and we hate them, there is no difference,” said the Northampton Saints flanker ahead of the Six Nations clash.

In an age when everyone is terrified of giving offence by saying the wrong thing, it’s rather refreshing to hear two antagonists firing verbal broadsides at will, and the war of words is sure to intensify between now and Saturday afternoon when the two sides run out at Murrayfield.

Tunnel tussle

Two years ago in this fixture, emotions became so fraught that the sides squared up in the tunnel before kick-off.

It wouldn’t be much of a surprise if there was a similar incident on Saturday, especially as both England and Scotland have something to prove to their supporters after dismal defeats in last weekend’s opening round of the competition.

Six Nations 2020: round two teams, fixtures and TV schedule

‘We expect war’

Asked if he was fearful of the reception England will receive from the raucous Murrayfield crowd, Ludlum replied: “It’s just another place to go. It’s going to be a war and it’s something we’re excited for. 

“Personally I love that. I love being the team that everyone is rooting against. That definitely helps me to get revved up for a game. People being against you has got a way of really revving you up.”

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Passion play

Ludlum, who has been known to shed the odd tear during the national anthem, also dismissed the idea that England can’t compete with Scotland and the other Celtic nations when it comes to playing with passion. 

He added: “We are going out on the weekend to get stuck into them and they are going to do the same to us. I don’t think there is any difference in the passion between the two sides.

“Whenever you pull on the shirt, it is a proud moment, it is a passionate experience. I don’t think they will be any more revved up than we will be.”

Hogg ready to move on 

After the 19-12 loss to Ireland in round one Scotland will be looking to bounce back this weekend. 

Captain Stuart Hogg made a costly mistake in Dublin and the full-back is ready to move on. He said: “It was a tough weekend but I’m very grateful for the support from everyone involved in the group. Can’t wait to get back out there this weekend with the boys and put things right.”

Scots set for ‘biggest game’

Lock Scott Cummings says Saturday’s clash is now a must-win following the defeat in Ireland. 

“For us, it’s about winning at all costs,” he said. “I think we’ve showed we’ve got the ability to score tries and stop teams so we’re excited for it. But winning at all costs is important. 

“I’m sure England will be pumped to come up and try and beat us. It’s a big game for them as well so I’m sure they’ll be just as pumped up as we are. 

“England at home is the biggest game of the season, any season, and we’ll be ready for it.”

Jones rings the changes

After last week’s disappointing result in Paris England head coach Eddie Jones has made five changes to his starting XV to face Scotland. 

Willi Heinz is selected at scrum-half in place of Ben Youngs while Mako Vunipola, George Kruis, Lewis Ludlam and Jonathan Joseph also come into the team. 

Ludlam replaces Courtney Lawes at flanker and Joseph comes in for injured centre Manu Tuilagi. 

Uncapped duo - Saracens back row Ben Earl and Bath hooker Tom Dunn - are named as replacements. Lawes and Joe Launchbury are also on the bench.

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. 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.”

Bradbury in at No.8

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has made one change to the team that lost in Ireland. Magnus Bradbury comes in at No.8 in place of Nick Haining, who drops to the bench. 

“We were proud of parts of our performance in Dublin at a very difficult venue,” said Townsend. “The challenge for the squad is to replicate that level and take our chances when they come, in order to win tight games. 

“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.”

Matchday squads

Scotland team
  • Starting XV: 15. Stuart Hogg (captain), 14. Sean Maitland, 13. Huw Jones, 12. Sam Johnson, 11. Blair Kinghorn, 10. Adam Hastings, 9. Ali Price; 1. Rory Sutherland, 2. Fraser Brown, 3. Zander Fagerson, 4. Scott Cummings, 5. Jonny Gray, 6. Jamie Ritchie, 7. Hamish Watson, 8. Magnus Bradbury 
  • Replacements: 16. Stuart McInally, 17. Allan Dell, 18. Simon Berghan, 19. Ben Toolis, 20. Nick Haining, 21. George Horne, 22. Rory Hutchinson, 23. Chris Harris
England team
  • Starting XV: 15 George Furbank, 14 Jonny May, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Owen Farrell (captain), 11 Elliot Daly, 10 George Ford, 9 Willi Heinz; 1 Mako Vunipola, 2 Jamie George, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 4 Maro Itoje, 5 George Kruis, 6 Lewis Ludlam, 7 Sam Underhill, 8 Tom Curry
  • Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Joe Launchbury, 20 Courtney Lawes, 21 Ben Earl, 22 Ben Youngs, 23 Ollie Devoto

Six Nations round two fixtures

Saturday 8 February
  • Ireland vs. Wales (2.15pm GMT; live on ITV and S4C) 
  • Scotland vs. England (4.45pm GMT; live on BBC)
Sunday 9 February
  • France vs. Italy (3pm GMT; live on BBC)

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