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Scotland glad they are playing England next after November effort

By PA
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend is already relishing the Six Nations opener away to England. The Scots rounded off their autumn series with an impressive eight-try victory over Argentina and are now able to turn their attention towards their Calcutta Cup showdown in a little over two months.

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Townsend’s team are unbeaten in their last two visits to Twickenham and the head coach believes a clash with the auld enemy is the perfect fixture to kick off 2023. “England are always going to be tough at Twickenham,” he said.

“Although we won there the last time (in 2021), we are aware there were no supporters there that day (due to the covid lockdown). It’s a really challenging place to play. We have gone there on the last two occasions and come away with a draw and a win so we will go there with confidence.

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“We will cross our fingers that we have everybody to select from but it’s a great game to start the Six Nations with, as we have done the last couple of years. It’s a good one for us to get our focus back on improving our performance.”

Townsend is pleased that Scotland have three home games – against Ireland, Wales and Italy – and just two away matches, against France and England, in the upcoming Six Nations. “It’s good for the country,” he said.

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“To play three home games is obviously better than playing three away games because you have got the supporters here and, from a coaching perspective, there is less travel so it’s an easier week to manage. That home support gives you more energy and it’s about harnessing that energy into scoring more points than the opposition.”

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Townsend believes it is hard to predict how the Six Nations may unfold because of the increasingly competitive nature of world rugby. “The Six Nations is its own standalone tournament so you have got the crowds, the form of teams comes up for those big games, and nothing is consistent,” said Townsend. “There will be teams that play really well one week and not as well the next week. World rugby is very competitive just now.

“Argentina have knocked off New Zealand and England and they didn’t win over the last two weekends, and there are other teams in similar situations. Italy have been very good. They finished the Six Nations beating Wales and since then they have gone up against Australia and looked really dangerous.”

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