'Scotland's game has definitely evolved': Ben Youngs identifies key men in Scotland's transformation
England head to Edinburgh on Saturday in possession of a poor record from the last four Calcutta Cup clashes having lost twice and drawn once – a remarkable 38-38 stalemate at Twickenham in 2019.
Youngs was present for three of those afternoons and made his debut at Murrayfield a decade ago with his 11 Tests against England’s oldest rivals the highest number played by anyone in Eddie Jones’ squad.
He has seen first hand Scotland’s transformation into a more dangerous side orchestrated by fly-half Russell and full-back Hogg, while also noting the influence of Hamish Watson in the back row.
“Scotland’s game has definitely evolved, without doubt. Finn has had a big say in that with the way he approaches the game,” Youngs said.
“I’d say he’s a very similar style to (England fly-half) Marcus Smith in terms of that ability to make big plays, to roll the dice and have the tools in the armoury to actually pull them off.
“It’s fascinating really and he’s had an instrumental role. And of course Stuart Hogg, who has had a great career and will continue to have a great career. Him at full-back is a constant threat.
“With that they’ve got a pack that will give them plenty of ball. Hamish Watson, what he does around the breakdown and all that.
“They play a fast game, move the ball a lot more. They have game-breakers and potentially those guys have had a huge say in where they are now.”
Youngs is in the rare position of having never lost at Murrayfield but there were some close shaves along the way, according to the Leicester scrum-half who is set to become England’s most capped player during this Six Nations.
“Every game I’ve ever played up there there’s never been too much between the teams,” he said.
“We had an incident, I can’t remember what year it was now, it feels like forever ago, but someone’s hand went underneath my tummy and I grounded the ball right at the end of the game. We escaped that day!
“There was Storm Ciara in 2020. The one on the wing was where I made my debut in 2010. It was a 15-15 draw. A Calcutta Cup classic that one!
“When you go to Murrayfield it adds to the challenge but it’s the challenge that you want. We’re certainly excited by it.”
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