Murrayfield roar can inspire Scotland to Calcutta Cup glory

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Scotland will draw on the re-invigorated Murrayfield roar as they plot a first win over auld enemy England in a decade this Saturday.

A Six Nations campaign which looked to have been badly derailed on the opening weekend in Cardiff was put firmly back on track by last Sunday’s uplifting 32-26 
victory over France – a fifth successive home win in the championship.

Scotland hooker Scott Lawson practises his lineout throws during a training session at Oriam. Picture: Neil Hanna

Scotland hooker Scott Lawson practises his lineout throws during a training session at Oriam. Picture: Neil Hanna

Scotland haven’t lost a Six Nations match on their own turf now since the Calcutta Cup encounter of two years ago and, from then on, only Australia and world champions New Zealand have emerged victorious at BT Murrayfield.

A longstanding problem of failing to win on the road continues but it will be home comforts again this weekend as Gregor Townsend’s men look to become only the second team in 25 games to get the better of Eddie Jones’s impressive English side.

Assistant coach Matt Taylor is already relishing what he expects to be one of the biggest occasions at the home of Scottish rugby in years as the home side lock horns with the world’s second-ranked team.

“In my time with Scotland this has been the time most people have been ringing me up for tickets,” said the defence specialist.

Scotland assistant coach Matt Taylor. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS/SRU

Scotland assistant coach Matt Taylor. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS/SRU

“I think the crowd will be excellent, they’ll be right behind us. Murrayfield has been a special place to play for the players and everyone involved in recent years. I’m certainly looking forward to the crowd getting behind us.”

Taylor warned that Scotland will have to be much better than they were against France, to whom they conceded a couple of sloppy early tries, if they are to achieve the victory which could provide a launchpad to compete for the title.

“They’ve got a very good bench,” Taylor said of England, who are gunning for their third successive championship. “It’s going to be an 80-minute game. I wouldn’t expect them to tire like the French did. I think just the nature of the Top 14 [French league] is a different way of playing.

“It’s not as fast as many of the other leagues so I’d imagine this will be a close tussle right to the end.”

Scotland haven’t beaten England since a 15-9 triumph in 2008, only their third since the epochal Grand Slam game of 1990, and will be up against a team who dished out a painful 61-21 thrashing to them at Twickenham last year.

Vern Cotter’s Triple Crown-chasers leaked seven tries on another dark day at English rugby HQ, where no win has been registered since 1983, and it was especially painful for defence coach Taylor.

“It certainly wasn’t my highest point. It wasn’t great was it?” said Taylor. “When it is your profession and your full-time job and you concede so many points it is not a great feeling.

“We have all been in situation in jobs when you have a bad day. That was certainly one of those.

“I think that day they were really good and we weren’t so good. A couple bounces of the ball early on, a yellow card [for hooker Fraser Brown], things like that affected us a little bit. But, a year on, hopefully we can manage to put in a good performance this weekend.

“We haven’t beaten them for a while so it’s going to be a challenge isn’t it? They’re on a pretty good run but we’ve prepared well.

“We all know that statistically teams do better at home, they’ve got the comfort of what you’re used to. You’ve got the crowd behind you, which helps with momentum and the emotion of the occasion. Statistics in all sports would show you do well at home, generally.”