England v Scotland: Visitors appeal with decent start

England v Scotland: Visitors appeal with decent start

Kick Off: 1600, 11/03/2017

Stadium: Twickenham

TV: ITV

Scotland have not beaten England in the Six Nations since 2008, but we reckon they will give the title holders a real test at Twickenham on Saturday.

In fact, Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean was number one in the UK singles chart when the Scots last prevailed at this venue in 1983, while Thriller was the number one album and petrol cost 36.7p per litre.

However, Scotland overcame a similarly poor head-to-head record when hammering Wales 29-13 in Edinburgh last time out and this current squad is clearly not affected by past failings.

Punters can bet on Scotland at Evens with 10 points start and their odds to win are 333/100.

Vern Cotter’s team have beaten both Ireland and Wales in the same year for the first time since their 1999 title win and also pushed France all the way in a high-tempo Paris clash, so the occasion shouldn’t faze this free-flowing outfit.

England, of course, are looking to equal New Zealand’s world-record 18-match winning streak, but Scotland centre Huw Jones insisted: “It’s not so much daunting, it’s quite exciting. It’s a massive opportunity. That’s one of the big incentives, to stop their run.

“We have had two good wins but we are looking to kick on now. There is a lot of enthusiasm and the hunger is still there. The camp is more positive.

“I think traditionally, not just England, maybe the other teams have even gone into the Six Nations thinking that Scotland might be an easy game. Over the last couple of years, and this season especially, I think we have managed to change that mindset. I don’t think they will be thinking it’s going to be an easy game.”

Scotland can take heart from having pushed England close in a 15-9 loss at Murrayfield 12 months ago and they definitely are playing with more confidence going forward this term, with Stuart Hogg in inspirational form at full-back and the whole team happy to try and attack whenever the opportunity arises.

Injuries to skipper Greig Laidlaw and back-rowers Josh Strauss and John Hardie are a concern, but it is the ethos of this side and their willingness to play running rugby that has impressed more than individual performers.

England will certainly find this a different test than when baffled by Italy’s controversial tactics before eventually prevailing 36-15, but they had previously laboured to a 21-16 triumph in Wales and a 19-16 defeat of France.

The weight of expectation could also affect Eddie Jones’ side on this potentially historic day and backing Scotland to at least keep it close looks the way to go.

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