‘No-one likes England but we respect them’ says Scotland’s Sam Johnson ahead of Calcutta Cup

The Auld Enemies have exchanged barbs ahead of Saturday’s Calcutta Cup clash, with Scotland centre Sam Johnson claiming “no-one likes England”.

Scotland's Sam Johnson during a training session at the Oriam. Picture: Ross Parker / SNS
Scotland's Sam Johnson during a training session at the Oriam. Picture: Ross Parker / SNS

On the same day Eddie Jones described the Scots as “niggly” the England coach was provided with an example as the Glasgow Warriors midfielder looked ahead to the match at BT Murrayfield.

The 26-year-old Johnson, who like Jones hails from Australia and qualified for Scotland on residency a year and a half ago, said he had no concept of the ancient rivalry between the countries while growing up just outside Brisbane but added: “I wasn’t aware of the scale of this game when I was growing up to be honest.

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“What I will say is that no-one likes England, it was the same growing up in Australia. Whether it’s cricket, rugby or any sport, you want to win.

“You fully respect England because of how good they are, but I don’t think anyone likes them when you’re growing up.

“We have the greatest respect for England because they are so good, you almost hate them for it.”

Johnson has enjoyed a stellar start to his Scotland career, winning ten caps since making his debut at home to Italy at the start of last year’s Six Nations.

His most memorable moment came at Twickenham last year when his sensational try looked like it might seal not only one of the most famous wins for Scotland, who haven’t tasted victory in London since 1983, but also the greatest comeback triumph in the history of Test rugby.

He powered over to put the Scots, who at one point trailed 31-0 in the first half, 38-31 up in the 77th minute.

An 83rd-minute try by George Ford, converted by Owen Farrell, salvaged a draw for England but the Calcutta Cup remained in Scots hands as they were the holders following the 25-13 win at BT Murrayfield the previous year.

Saturday will be a match between two sides smarting from opening weekend defeats – the Scots lost 19-12 away to Ireland and England went down 24-17 to France in Paris – and Johnson insists precious championship points are the prize the squad are mainly focused on.

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“It [retaining the Calcutta Cup three years on the trot for the first time since 1972] hasn’t been talked about. It’s more just the magnitude of the game itself.

“Subconsciously, we know it’s about playing for the Calcutta Cup. But there haven’t been any talks in the huddles about winning it. We just know we need to beat England – the cup comes with it.”