Magnus Bradbury has backed Scotland sidekick Hamish Watson to provide the spark that could ignite a famous win over England.
Edinburgh flanker Watson has been badly missed by Gregor Townsend’s team after a broken hand forced him to sit out the Scots first three Guinness Six Nations showdowns.
However, he immediately lifted the team with a series of pinball carries as he made his return to action off the bench against Wales on Saturday.
Watson was only on the pitch for 22 minutes but carried for 35 metres and beat 10 defenders.
That contribution was not enough to seal a remarkable second-half comeback as Scotland went down 18-11 but his back-row partner for club and country Bradbury believes Watson could be the man to unlock Eddie Jones’ men if he can prove his fitness in time for Saturday’s Twickenham clash.
“You all saw how well he did at the weekend, it was incredible,” said flanker Bradbury. “It’s good to have Hamish back. He’s a big part of the team, a powerful ball-carrier and great in defence too.
“We’ll see how he goes this week and hopefully he’s able to start the game but it’s certainly good to have him back fit.
“The ability to take the game to England will be important so he might have a big role to play.
“At this level, you can’t afford to sit back and wait for them to bring the game to you. We have to go out and fire those first shots and then go from there.”
The Scots have not won at the home of English rugby since 1983 and there’s not a single member of Townsend’s playing squad who were born to see it.
A nightmare casualty list makes it highly unlikely that wait will be ended this year.
Scotland have gone from being one of the most world’s most exciting Test sides, capable of pushing the best sides in the world, to a team struggling with the basics amid a crisis of confidence.
But Bradbury insists his team will head south determined to retain the Calcutta Cup they won amid jubilant scenes last year.
He said: “We’ve got a lot of injuries right now but we’re preparing each week to beat these teams. We’re going down there with the idea that we’ll beat England, like we would with any other team.
The standings since the very start of the #GuinnessSixNations back in 2000!March 13, 2019
“It’s a difficult place to go but we’re going there to win.
“We’ve had a lot of injuries and we can’t fault the effort the boys have been putting in. We’re trying our hardest each week and just doing what we can.
“I don’t think we’re going backwards at all. We’re just taking each game as they come.
Watch Scotland v Wales in Round 4 of the Guinness Six Nations 👇 pic.twitter.com/N2YNPI1RzY— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) March 9, 2019
“Those records aren’t in our minds at all. It’s another game. We’re defending the Calcutta Cup, which is massive for us.
“It would mean a lot if we could get a win down there and so we’ll just aim to go down there and play as well as we can.”
Saturday’s match is the final competitive international clash before Townsend’s sits down to draw up his initial World Cup squad.
And Bradbury believes a positive display in the capital could book his seat on the plane for Japan 2019.
“We’ve got all these injuries and so many of our main guys are out, especially in the back row,” he said, referencing the likes of John Barclay and Ryan Wilson who both sit out this weekend’s match.
“But that’s given people like myself and the younger guys in the team a chance. It’s a World Cup year and we have to play as well as we can to take that opportunity to fill those spots.”
- Press Association