How will England fare against Scotland? We consult the Eddie Jones smile-o-meter

How will England fare against Scotland? We consult the Eddie Jones smile-o-meter

England will face Scotland for their next Six Nations clash, battling it out for the Calcutta Cup.

After Wales’ 22-9 win over Ireland on Friday, victory in this game will clinch the second Six Nations title on the trot for England, with a game in hand.

However, the Scots will be doing everything in their power to halt England’s march on victory.

Let’s delve into the detail and find out England’s chances with the trusted Eddie Jones smile-o-meter.

On a roll

(John Walton/PA)
( John Walton/PA)

Beating Scotland will see England equal the All Blacks’ 17-game unbeaten record and take the Six Nations title.

Whether that pressure will prove too much is the question, especially after a lacklustre performance against Italy in their last game, an opponent they should have comfortably beaten.

Scotland haven’t been doing so badly themselves this competition, gaining two scalps from Ireland and Wales. They’ll be hoping to seal the Triple Crown by taking England down on Saturday, sealing their dramatic turn-around from a whitewash at the competition two years ago.

Eddie is giving this one a seven.

(Adam Davy/PA)
(Adam Davy/PA)

Fortress Twickenham

Running out onto the turf at the hallowed ground of Twickenham may well give England the edge. The Dark Blues haven’t beaten England at the stadium since 1983.

England have also held the Calcutta cup since 2009, which should buoy their confidence.

We reckon Eddie would give this one a nine.

(Andrew Matthews/PA)
(Andrew Matthews/PA)

Strength and depth in the forwards

(Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport)
(Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport)

Scotland’s scrum has given them trouble throughout the competition and England will be taking advantage of that with the return of Billy Vunipola and James Haskell back up to full strength. Joe Marler will also be looking to make his presence felt as he nets his 50th cap for England.

Vern Cotter will make only one change to the team that triumphed over Wales with flanker Hamish Watson replacing an injured John Hardie. This continuity should help steady the pack as they face the crowds at the home of rugby.

It’s an eight from Eddie.

(Andrew Matthews/PA)
(Andrew Matthews/PA)

Backs go to battle

( Andrew Milligan/PA)
(Andrew Milligan/PA)

Vern Cotter has risen Scotland’s back line from the dead, injecting pace and power. This has brought seven tries in their last three games.

They’ve got it all, electric pace in Tim Visser and Tommy Seymour, strength in the centres and playmakers Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg to oversee it all.

The only chink in their armoured back line is the absence of captain Greig Laidlaw at scrum half, who was injured against France and ruled out of the rest of the competition. His leadership will be sorely missed.

(Andrew Matthews/PA)
(Andrew Matthews/PA)

In contrast, Jones’ back line has been looking cautious of late. In addition, Owen Farrell’s position is in doubt after suffering an unspecified leg injury during training.

His prolific boot will be tough to do without, even if he was off his usual stellar game against Italy. However, his likely replacement Ben Te’o brings brute strength and a different style, which Scotland may not have planned for.

There are some concerns here. It’s a six.

(Paul Harding/PA)
(Paul Harding/PA)

Team line-ups

England: Brown; Nowell, Joseph, Farrell, Daly; Ford, Youngs; Hughes, Haskell, Itoje, Lawes, Launchbury, Cole, Hartley (capt), Marler.

Replacements: George, M Vunipola, Sinckler, Wood, B Vunipola, Care, Te’o, Anthony Watson.

Scotland: Hogg; Seymour, Jones, Dunbar, Visser; Russell, Price; Wilson, Watson, Barclay (capt), J Gray, R Gray, Fagerson, Brown, Reid. Replacements: Ford, Dell, Berghan, Swinson, Du Preez, Pyrgos, Weir, Bennett.

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