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Six Nations champions, Autumn Nations Cup honours, and being Rugby World Cup finalists, England have had a solid last 15 months.
That is the sort of form Eddie Jones has come to demand from his charges, though he’ll still be bitterly disappointed about not lifting the William Webb Ellis trophy in Japan, but nonetheless, they’ll continue to build towards 2023 in France.
Scotland haven’t quite had that sort of success, with a fourth place at Six Nations and Autumn Nations Cup last year, while the 2019 World Cup saw them exit at the group stages.
Although that isn’t the best form, they have come on leaps and bounds in more recent times. They’ve won six of their 10 matches since the start of last year, with six of those victories coming from their most recent eight and considering they beat both France and Wales over that period, we doubt they’ll be a pushover.
Finn Russell Back For The Scots
Their only two Six Nations defeats in the tournament last year came by seven-point margins to Ireland and England, while their clash against France in the more recent Nations Cup competition came by that same margin.
Duncan Weir played at fly-half for the latter after injuries to both Finn Russell and Adam Hastings forced Gregor Townsend’s hand, and it’s safe to say the Scots will be extremely happy to see Russell back in the camp.
He brings ‘the X Factor’ to this side, which will be needed to take on the number two outfit in world rugby.
The Red Roses have an exceptional record at Twickenham since Jones took the management role back in November 2015, winning 29 of their 32 matches here when including extra-time. Only three teams have managed to halt them in keeping an 100%-win record here over that time.
New Zealand and Ireland beat them in 2018, while this Scottish outfit under Gregor Townsend in March 2019 held them to a draw, having led by seven points going into overtime.
Scotland +15 Points Handicap
That is a mightily impressive home record, but with the English crowds not flocking to the ‘home of rugby’ in their thousands, this could be a lot closer than most might expect. In fact, England haven’t won by more than 12 points in any of their seven matches against tier one nations (excluding Italy) since the start of last year, including their last meeting with Scotland.
The head-to-heads between these two sides is an even W1-D1-L1 split since 2018, with the Scots holding a slight points advantage over them in that time (69-64).
Of course, two of those came at Murrayfield where they are much more prolific, but with no crowds, we’re all behind the visitors making a close game of this.