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George Ford cautions England about the potential challenges posed by Scotland as the teams prepare for the Calcutta Cup match.
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George Ford cautions England about the potential challenges posed by Scotland as the teams prepare for the Calcutta Cup match.

George Ford has cautioned his fellow players on the England team to prepare for a challenging match against Scotland, as they plan to bolster their squad with additional players under the guidance of Steve Borthwick in their quest to break their losing streak in the Calcutta Cup next week.

England have emerged victorious over Scotland in only one of their last six encounters. However, this week, Manu Tuilagi, Ollie Lawrence, Luke Cowan-Dickie, and George Martin are expected to join the squad as they gear up for their upcoming match at Murrayfield on Wednesday.

Ford and co came unstuck at ­Murrayfield two years ago after Cowan-Dickie’s second-half yellow card while in 2018 he was targeted by Ryan Wilson as both teams headed down the tunnel before the match, sparking a melee as Owen Farrell confronted the Scotland back-row.

In 2020, Eddie Jones was extremely angry when a member of his team, Neil Craig, was hit on the head by a beer bottle while England was entering the stadium. However, later footage revealed that the bottle had blown in the direction of England rather than being thrown. The Scottish Rugby Union quickly apologized and implemented better safety measures for their visit in 2022.

Ford stated that the opposing team has been consistently successful against them in recent years, citing multiple factors. He also mentioned that they are a formidable team, and the atmosphere can be tense, especially when playing at Murrayfield as an Englishman. He recalled a particular incident from a few years back when they entered the tunnel.

“Putting humor aside, it’s crucial that we prepare ourselves for those situations. It’s part of the excitement of competing in Scotland and aiming for victory. These factors are important and we will ensure that we are fully prepared.”

Ben White scores a try for Scotland in the 20-17 win against England at Murrayfield in 2022

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We aim to follow our strategy and not give the opposing team what they desire. They are clearly attempting to impose their desires on you as well. It ultimately boils down to a competition of physicality, determination, and mindset to determine the winner.

“It is necessary to perform well after that, of course. The England-Scotland games are notoriously tense and highly competitive.”

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Tuilagi and Lawrence’s return would provide a much-needed boost to the backline’s strength. Martin, who shone in England’s recent World Cup semi-final loss, and Cowan-Dickie, who brings valuable experience to the front row, would also be valuable additions. Tuilagi has been sidelined since Christmas due to a groin injury, while Lawrence has been dealing with a hip issue. Following their win against Wales last Saturday, Borthwick expressed hope that both players would be able to join training this week.

England have not won three Six Nations matches in a row since 2020 – the last time they beat Scotland – but Ford said: “We know the challenge of what Murrayfield holds, the way Scotland are playing at the minute and the challenges of a Test match.

“As a team, our goal is to constantly improve and achieve victory. The upcoming matches against Scotland, Ireland, and France will be a great opportunity to gauge our progress and success. Beating these teams would indicate that we are on the right track.”

Source: theguardian.com