England head coach Eddie Jones is never shy of aiming a dig at the opposition and he was at it again yesterday, mocking Scotland’s dismal record at Twickenham.
On the eve of this year’s Calcutta Cup clash at Twickenham, the fact that Scotland haven’t won at the home of Englsh rugby since 1983 was mentioned and the mouthy Australian just couldn’t help himself.
“1883… ?” he replied sarcastically, before adding: “Oh, 1983, okay.”
If that was meant to be bait of some sort, it was a fishing expedition which Scotland captain Stuart McInally chose to ignore.
When Jones’ quip was put to the hooker, he played a very straight bat.
“I wouldn’t really react to that at all,” deadpanned McInally.
“We don’t really look into the history of stuff. We’re aware of it. But I don’t think it will have a bearing on tomorrow. So I don’t really want to comment on that.”
What McInally was happy to talk about was the fact that Scotland had not done themselves justice to date in this year’s Six Nations and today’s game is their last chance to put that right.
He was unable to give a reason why Scotland’s record away from home is so bad, especially at Twickenham but McInally did offer a solution – of sorts.
“We are aware of our away record and it’s something that we need to improve,” he said. “We approach every game the same and we can try to start better.
“We didn’t start well, particularly against France and I think that had an effect on the rest of the game.
“I think we can improve the way we start games away from home. Teams generally play better at home and it’s something we need to work hard on with the world cup coming up and we are desperate to go there and do well.”
It seems a long shot but McInally was reminded that the last time these two teams met it was the blue-clad players who celebrated a famous win at Murrayfield. And, having sweated blood to win the Calcutta Cup, the Scotland skipper is keen to keep his hands on the silverware. He insisted: “The feeling in the camp is really good.
“We’re desperate to put in a strong performance for the people of Scotland and also for ourselves.
“We have underperformed in areas in this tournament and we are disappointed with that.
“But there’s no lack of belief in the players that we are coming here to do everything we can to win,” McInally added. “We are aware of the challenge. We respect how well England have played in the tournament so far and we know it will be a challenge, but the belief among the players is that we are down here to try to win.”