According to Vern Cotter, Scotland’s head coach, the team’s focus has been squarely on this afternoon’s match with England. Talk of winning the Calcutta Cup, let alone the Triple Crown, has been kept to a minimum. “Nothing else is being applied or talked about,” he said.
That single-mindedness, we hope, will stand the Scots in good stead today. Already, it has been a Six Nations to remember. Scotland sit third in the table, with wins over Ireland and Wales, victories which softened the blow of losing narrowly in Paris. Come what may, the country can be satisfied with its performance. But satisfaction is never enough, especially when the chance to claim bragging rights over Eddie Jones’ side is in sight, and for all that Mr Cotter may protest otherwise, the weight of history will be keenly felt.
There is a gilded opportunity for this generation of Scotland players to rewrite the record books, and not before time. It is coming on for a decade since Scotland defeated their great rivals, and some 34 years have passed since the last triumph at Twickenham. Halting that ignominious sequence would also stop England short of claiming a record-equalling 18th consecutive victory.
It will, of course, not be easy. Even accounting for the injury concerns to Owen Farrell, the English are a formidable outfit, and their nervous performance against the Italians means they will have been well warned against complacency this time around.
Scotland, while not favourites, possess a superb back line, and if all the parts of the team work together, they could have their day in the sun. Come what may, they have given us reason to be proud.