Scotland v England – Six Nations 24/02/2018

England have proven why they’re tournament favourites thus far, cruising past Italy and grinding a result out in their last clash with Wales in typical fashion. The only changes for their trip north of the boarder will be at no.8 with powerhouse Nathan Hughes coming in for the injured Sam Simmonds and Joe Marler replacing Alec Hepburn on the bench having served his suspension.

Scotland fought back well from a six-point deficit at half-time as Greg Laidlaw’s boot led them to a 32-26 victory over France. This is a much tougher assignment though and it’s been a decade since the Scots last won the Calcutta Cup (the oldest competition in rugby), which includes four consecutive defeats at Murrayfield. Although this record doesn’t flatter the hosts, on home soil they’ve managed to win nine of their last 11 games, including five on the bounce in the Six Nations, and they’ll certainly not roll over easily, naming the same starting XV following their success in round two.

The Red Rose are pursuing their 26th win in their last 27 Tests and aiming to repeat their first ever victory under Eddie Jones over Scotland back in 2016. On that day, the hosts failed to get over the whitewash and you have to go all the way back to 2004 to the last time Scotland scored at try at Murrayfield against the old enemy. Although the English are strong odds-on favourites we still think there’s some value betting on them, as Gregor Townsend’s side missed a below-par 21% of their tackles against France and only Italy have conceded more points so far in the competition. On top of that, England’s pivotal man Owen Farrell lines-up after an injury scare and the centre has scored 64 points in his last five games against the Scots dating back to 2012 (he was injured in 2015) where Scotland only managed just 67 points in total themselves during this period.

Jonathan Joseph gets the nod ahead of Ben T’eo at 13 and Scotland have struggled to cope with his pace and guile in recent times, scoring four tries in his last three games against them and 10 in his last 16 Six Nations matches overall. England are averaging four tries a game under their current management, so we fancy JJ to touchdown again in this one.

Recommendations:

5pt – England Win at 1.4, Betfair

Anytime Try Scorer Jonathan Joseph at 3.5, Various

News Reporter

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