RBS 6 Nations 2013: England vs Scotland prediction

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As Stuart Lancaster celebrates his one year anniversary in charge of the national team, Scotland roll into town to contest the oldest fixture in rugby. The Calcutta Cup is a game in which form and previous performances are left at the door. Such is the history and the passion surrounding the fixture, the game takes on another level. The past few years have yielded a series of nail-bitingly tight encounters, that could seem boring to the neutral but to those with an affiliation to either nation have been either extremely satisfying (if you’re English) or bitterly disappointing (if you’re Scottish). Scotland may not have won since 2008, but the past four fixtures have been decided by seven points or less. Expect more of the same this Saturday.

Reasons to back England

Confidence is a word oft overused in sport, but it is one that is vitally important to England right now. Their last game was possibly their most impressive win since 2003, not so much in the result but in the manner of the victory. There was an attacking verve to their play that hadn’t previously been seen, and the big test now will be to see if they can follow that up, or if they revert to type. I would hope for the former but suspect the latter.

The Twickenham factor will be vital. Anyone who was present for that astonishing win will tell you it was an atmosphere different to virtually anything else they have experienced. The players must have felt it, and if the fans get behind the team in the same way against Scotland, it will be a huge boost.

Corbisiero’s injury is a big one, but England still have an excellent tight five beginning to gel. Joe Marler is his replacement, and after having one bad game against Australia in the autumn people seem to have forgotten that he has proven himself to be able to mix it with the best, most notably on the South Africa tour last summer. In Parling and Launchbury they have a second row pairing who compliment each other perfectly, and at tight-head Dan Cole is as good as they come.

Reasons to back Scotland

There is next to no expectation on them – although this might be slightly unfair. Scotland play at a level that is consistently just below that of the top 8 or so nations. The autumn result against South Africa and the summer win over Australia proves they can remain competitive. Sadly, for one reason or another, they are rarely able to haul themselves over the line. When they do, they don’t back it up in the following fixtures. Still, they will be confident that the Tonga result was just a blip, and focus on the fact that over the past few years these games have been incredibly tight. If they can muster some sort of composure when they find themselves in England’s twenty-two, they will be confident that they can win.

The Calcutta Cup is a special game for the Scots. When it comes down to it, this is the one they want to win most (funny how England are the nation a lot of teams want to beat most, isn’t it?). It is another notch up in terms of intensity for Scotland, and if they can keep that passion and ferocity in check they know they can upset the odds. No-one in Scotland has ever had a problem with being an underdog; it has been that way now for quite some time, and they will relish everyone writing them off.

In terms of the team, Scott Johnson has picked a mammoth pack, with the likes of Richie Gray and Jim Hamilton sure to test England’s physicality. The back three of Visser, Hogg and Maitland has bags of pace and potential, so there will be an even greater onus than usual on the men inside them to get the ball out wide. Looking at England’s rather more conservative back three, they could cause havoc if given a chance. Interestingly, Dean Ryan’s knowledge of the English players from his work at Sky could work in Scotland’s favour too.

Prediction

As much as everyone likes to see the underdog bite, I just can’t see it happening. England expects after the autumn, and the players won’t want to let the fans down. The same level of intensity will see England through comfortably. Scotland, for their part, come into the match having dropped to 12th in the world rankings, with a coach who, despite talking a good game, is completely untested at this level. They’re not to be written off, but away at Twickenham, I can’t see them doing it. England by 7.

By Jamie Hosie (Follow Jamie on Twitter @jhosie43)

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32 comments on “RBS 6 Nations 2013: England vs Scotland prediction

  1. A good article and whilst my heart thinks we’ll win by 20 – a 7 point margin seems more logical.
    But then when has logic played a part in rugby..

  2. On paper it looks to be the ideal starting fixture for England but the reality of it is that should we lose it will be disastrous for our confidence!! I shall be there at twickers willing the boy’s on and praying for an open expansive game. We really need to avoid getting bogged down in a fwd’s battle.

  3. It should be the perfect fixture for England – it will bring them back down to earth – because it will probably be a frustrating stop start affair with zero flow won by a couple of penalties – and England (IF they win) will remember that the NZ match was a one off

  4. I must admit to a very slight feeling of apprehension as it is my birthday tomorrow and the last time the 6N opened on my birthday England lost at Twickenham for the first time in 30 years to a side that had just had an awful autumn and had just sacked their coach. I forget who that wretched team was but surely lightening cannot strike twice with Scotland tomorrow? As I said it is only a slight feeling of apprehension. I’m expecting England to win tomorrow, not out of any sense of arrogance you understand, I just think we have a better team, who are high on confidence and most importantly are still hungry for success. It’s funny, but for me the most pleasing aspect of our win over NZ was not the tries or the manner of the victory (both very much enjoyed mind you) but the mental strength of the team not to crumble early in the second half when we had blown a 15 point lead. In years gone by we would have lost that match, which I why I feel confident that even if Scotland play a blinder (which they often do against us), England will be able to absorb it and get the win.

  5. I would think England by 15 or 20 is quite possible. I just can’t see the Scots breaking through too much, even with a big pack. If the Scottish pack start getting frustrated and giving away penalties it could be more.
    If England get in Jacksons face, rush him and put him under serious pressure, that could also be telling.
    Then again I’ve just seen who the ref is for the game and the “Allain Roland factor” could come into play a lot. Now that I know that fact, I’m not predicting anything. Why do we have to get lumbered with him for the first game?

  6. Alain Rolland? You are f*&%?@^g kidding me.

    I hope the 80,000 people going to Twickenham have spent their £75 to watch him because he will sure as hell think you have and will act accordingly.

    • The only plus point is at least it isn’t England Vs France, so we only have to listen to him getting it wrong in 1 language.

        • Unfortunately nobody has told him that the purpose of the refs mic is help the audience have a better understanding of the game, it is not a stage for refs to perform on. The tickets do not say “Alan Rolland Live! Featuring England Vs Scotland”.

      • allain rolland is terribel ref, england v france last year at the six nations he was completely biased to france and almost lost england the game unfairly, despite england being the better team and scoring three tries.

  7. Jamie, I can’t agree that England have a conservative back three. Granted that Goode is not the quickest sprinter for a 15, but he is very creative with ball in hand. Brown still seems to leave the impression that he is just a “One hundred percenter”, but I believe he has developed a lot more to his game, than his obvious enthusiasm and commitment. I read somewhere that he is considered the quickest player at Quins now, since his work with Margot Wells, and certainly his work in tight spaces against New Zealand suggests that his speed off the mark, and elusiveness can make an impact.

    • Rolland? I have been harbouring quiet concern about this match,believing quite rightly,that the Scots can pull this off.For a while now I think they have been threatening to prove they can ‘step it up consistently’.Now I read Rolland and I am running about like a wet hen.

  8. I am worried about the Scottish pack, our tight 5 is more athletic and mobile but I think they are better equipped for a slugfest. Also with no Tuilagi I don’t think they will see much to fear on the team sheet, they will expect a limited game plan from England and have the belief they can come out on top in a dog fight.

    I hope we play with confidence (like favourites should) get quick phase ball, offloads, support runners, etc and stretch the defence early. With Wood & Robshaw and no Rennie for the Scots I think we can do the better job at the breakdown and will get good quality ball.

    I think we’ll win by about 5.

  9. Personaly…I believe England did not face the full force of the All Blacks, hence the win! The reason for this is that the All Blacks have had a winning streak which have gone on for too long….and having that number of wins in a row would in any circumstance affect the intensity in which they would address a game, and since it was their last game of the season and because they’ve already proved all they needed and England in desperation for a win against a southern hemispher team….the result was more or less to be expected well before the game was played!

    Now for that reason I won’t bet my money that England can be assured to walk away with the game….and I do think that tomorrow’s game may just bring a shocker…the reason for this….over confident England! a typicall scenario which faced the all blacks before they were to play England in which everyone thought would be a sure win! for that reason I believe the Scotts may just find them in a ideal situation to beat England tomorrow!

    I believe Scotland are going to cause a massive shocker tomorrow and will beat England and the decider will most definately be as a result of a last minute penalty conversion by Scotland!

    • I agree with a great deal of what you say but I think England will win – not because I expect a great performance from England but because I think Scotland will be worse.
      I hope I am wrong – but last year’s match was awful!

    • You basically listed the reasons why NZ SHOULD have won:the last game of their season, the history books beckoning, the All Blacks should have been more up for that game than any other. Suggesting that they’d already proved all they needed to is insulting to both sides.

      So the result was ”more or less expected” was it? Not by anyone I know. It’s interesting that the players themselves weren’t making these excuses after the game.

  10. Rolland? I have been harbouring quiet concern about this match,believing quite rightly,that the Scots can pull this off.For a while now I think they have been threatening to prove they can ‘step it up consistently’.Now I read Rolland and I am running about like a wet hen.

  11. As always worried that Scotland will catch England cold and put them under pressure as only the Scots can. Will be close but think that if England can keep the control they showed against the ABs then they should have enough for the win. Manu is a big loss though.. I find Adrian’s logic a little hard to follow. So the World champions were playing so well that it was obvious that England would beat them having narrowly lost to Aus and SA. I do not think any England fan expected that win. But it was a top class performance against the world best team. They did not sneak a victory they controlled the game completely I can not remember the ABs facing that scenario for a while. It is still a one off unless they cement that form with a win tomorrow and the next 4 games after that..optimistic but realistic for tomorrow..

  12. @ Adriaan – why is it that if England win a big game and we say we think we are in a better place because of it, this is seen as ‘over confident’? Anyone else can just be more confident because they just won a big game. Similarly, Ashton has a try celebration and its arrogant, anyone else – Shane Williams for example, is seen as fun (and rightly so)? Is it tall poppy syndrome, it it envy, is it some historical ‘big brother’ complex?? This is 2013, shouldn’t other nations find a more positive thing to motivate them than some boring, out dated, lazy stereotype of English arrogance or “over confidence”. This is pro rugby now – grow up.If Scotland win tomorrow it will just be they were the better team on the day.

  13. i believe that England are clear favourites to win, but these predictions as been thrown out the window many times (the underdogs can strike) and everyone knows it. England however are at there best in twickenham
    but will the NZ game get a bit to much
    they think they are going to win however it may get to much and slip away! (welsh supporter view)

  14. ( my own quote) when winning is in sight and you know the game is done, the odds are against you.
    (its all about your state of mind, think your going to win and your determination to keep playing fails on you, then the opponents find weaknesses and the tables turn.

  15. Poor show from the Saxons, out strength in depth should be way better than the Scots there’s no excuse for losing. I’m really pleased Lancaster has got this new role that encompasses elite player development, hope to see a structure and investment of really good quality coaches to work across all the age group sides + Saxons.

    As last night and the Scots win against the Wallabies win shows, they can dog it out and win on desire. Even more anxious today than I was yesterday.