England coach Eddie Jones vows ‘to go after’ Scotland and expects ‘hostile’ Calcutta Cup atmosphere

Eddie Jones has promised “to go after” Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday but that doesn’t mean taking on Gregor Townsend’s side at their own game.

The England coach likes to play up to the role of pantomime villain when he crosses the border and he expects the atmosphere to be “hostile” in Edinburgh and the weather “miserable”.

Jones says he’s happy to take any flak that’s flying from supporters but expects his team to make amends for last year’s loss at Twickenham, their first at home in the Calcutta Cup for 38 years.

“Everyone knows the history between the two countries, the Calcutta Cup is the oldest rugby trophy, and we know that every time Scotland play against England it is their biggest game of the tournament,” said Jones, and not for the first time.

Eddie Jones says he expects a hostile atmosphere at Murrayfield. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

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“But the big difference this year is that we’re going up there to get them. We’re going after them. So, they are going to have to be pretty good. And they are good, we know they are a good team, a bulk of their players played for the Lions that was picked by Gregor – and they reflected the standard of their play in the autumn.

“So, it’s a sizable challenge, and you put on that the extraordinary weather conditions you can have up there – it can be wet and cold and miserable – and the field can be slippery and slidey – and we played that game in like hurricane type conditions [in 2020] and we had to battle hard coming off a poor first game which meant we had a bit of pressure on us, and we responded nicely with a good win so we know what it takes.”

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Jones, speaking at the Guinness Six Nations launch, batted away suggestions that England would play fast and loose against a Scotland side which likes to move the ball quickly. The emphasis, he said, would be on aggression.

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Eddie Jones says England will take an aggressive approach in their Six Nations opener against Scotland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

“We know the first 20 minutes, particularly, is going to be fast, because Scotland like to play fast, they like quick lineouts, they like to do throws over the back, they like to do non-jumping lineouts, so the pace of the game is going to be quick,” said Jones.

“And sometimes they like to do that pace in the first 20 to throw you off rhythm.

“We’ve got a set mindset of how we want to play, we want to be aggressive when we’ve got the ball and we want to be aggressive when we haven’t got the ball, and we want to take the rhythm and tempo out of their game, and put rhythm and tempo into our game. So, we’re looking forward to preparing for that this week.”

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Asked about the atmosphere he was expecting at Murrayfield, Jones grinned. “It is going to be hostile, mate. But the good thing is that they’ve got me there, and I’m not very popular, so I’m sure I’m going to get plenty of the abuse and I’m happy to take that.”

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