Thursday, March 11, 2010

Six Nations Rugby 2010 : Scotland V England Hospitality

Scotland will target this game as their “championship” having not won a single match in 2010.  While their final game against Ireland will be intense, to beat their oldest enemy would put them in the winner’s circle, but more importantly, will scuttle any hopes England have of winning the Six Nations rugby 2010.

Andy Robinson and his side will want to again take steps forward.  They were on the right path, being competitive against France and dominating Wales for most of the game.  But the loss to Italy in Rome was damaging coming into this game for two key reasons.

Again the spectre of being unable to score tries reared its head, with the Italians keeping their try line intact.  But worse still is that England will in all their glorified pragmatism know that they need not do anything particular intricate to beat a Scottish side that is slowly growing, but still seemingly missing the necessary munitions needed to win them a test match.

Still, while England march up North with a stronger record in this tournament, and with a stronger looking match day squad, this is far from a guarantee of any success.  Far more impressive English sides than Martin Johnson’s current hybrid have come to Murrayfield and lost.  

Much of Scotland’s ability to succeed in what is only their second and final home game in 2010 will come down to belief.  Any confidence they had carefully built up since Robinson came on board would have evaporated with their loss to the Azzurri.

But they can compete, and will need to heed their coach’s call to be ruthless against England.  Scotland’s two domestic sides, both who are in the top four of the Magners League, showed that Scottish rugby is stronger than their mediocre recent international record suggests.  

Captain Chris Cusiter himself said that the creating and hard work is being done by the team, it is just a case of being more clinical to finish moves - and by association matches - off.

Crucial to their hopes will be their Glasgow spine, with their entire back row and numbers 9, 10, 11 and 12 in the backline all being Warriors.  These combinations should ensure a little more cohesiveness on the field, and that could be the difference between the two sides.

Certainly the Scottish pack is strong enough to resist anything the English throw at them.

For England, they have made only two changes, bringing in Wasps flanker Joe Worsley and Tigers second rower Louis Deacon.  

With their backline retained from their loss against Ireland, it is now or never for what is England’s front line three quarter division.  A loss here, coupled with another directionless display from their on-field tacticians, should increase the cadence – and rightly so – for Johnson to look elsewhere for men to wear the red rose.

England does have the superior record overall against the teams, including winning nine of the last 12.  But since 2006 the ledger stands at 2 wins apiece.  

Scotland V England Hospitality

Six Nations Hospitality

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