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Eddie Jones has pop at Scotland, questioning whether Hogg and co can handle Calcutta Cup pressure

By Liam Heagney

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England boss Eddie Jones has ignited the build-up to Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations opener at Twickenham, questioning whether Scotland can handle the pressure involved in trying to secure their first win at the venue since 1983. 

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The expectations are for a close encounter in London but Jones, who recently saw his team win the 2020 Six Nations and Autumn Nations Cup titles, believes the weight of expectation could prove too hot for Scotland to handle coming down the finishing stretch of the eagerly awaited round one encounter.  

“You listen to the Scottish, how much it means to them (playing England),” said Jones. “It’s their biggest game of the year, it’s their most important game of the year, they are playing for trophies and that is a huge expectation for them and maybe with 15 minutes to go in the game the expectation is going to get pretty heavy for them.

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“We know for Scotland this is their most important game of the year. They talk about it all the time, but Scotland don’t have a mortgage on pride. Our players get an opportunity to play in this historic game, the 150th time the Calcutta Cup is being played for, and they are going to be ready for it. We know Scotland is going to be up for it but so will we, so it should be a great occasion.”

Jones has made four changes to the England XV from their last outing, the Autumn Nations Cup final win over France in December. Ollie Lawrence come in for George Ford in a 10/12 rejig, Will Stuart replaces the suspended Kyle Sinckler, Jonny Hill for the injured Joe Launchbury and Mark Wilson for the unavailable Sam Underhill.

While Scotland have not won at Twickenham for 38 years, they did manage an incredible draw two years ago when they fought back from a 0-31 deficit to go 38-31 ahead before England pulled level with a late converted try from George Ford. It’s a lesson Jones believes that England have learned hugely from having since gone on to reach the World Cup final and lift two trophies last year.

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“We as a team from that particular game learnt that we allowed ourselves to be seduced by the scoreboard. It seduced us into playing in a way that suited Scotland. It invited them back into the game and since then we have been working very hard to make sure we play each minute of the game.”

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Eddie Jones has pop at Scotland, questioning whether Hogg and co can handle Calcutta Cup pressure

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