With the Six Nations set to kick off this weekend we thought we enlist the help of some passionate experts to indulge in some light-hearted banter leading in to the Northern Hemisphere’s most important Rugby tournament.
What do you think will be the deciding factor in this week’s game?
The weather. England will be hoping for a dry day. If the weather gods don’t shine on Twickenham we’ll be the ones that benefit – our boys grew up under a permanent blanket of grey cloud and love nothing better than a scrap in the mud!
The first 20 minutes. If England can carry their form from their clash against the All Blacks over the Scots could be in for a long afternoon. If the visitors are competitive early on I think we could see another typical England v Scotland dogfight.
What strengths do your side posses that will help them prevail?
Our back row is pretty formidable and compete with the best in the world, as long as we get the mix right. In Beattie, Fusaro, Strokosch, Kelly, Wilson and Harley we have six flankers who I believe are better than any three England can field.
England are a pretty solid unit at the moment, proving to be rugged, determined and hard to beat. Our biggest asset is our self-belief and the winning culture which Stuart Lancaster continues to develop
What weaknesses do the opposition hold that your side can exploit?
Complacency and arrogance – it’s astounding how one victory against against a group of tired players with norovirus seems to have papered over all the cracks in the England team. I read something saying their players keep watching the game against the All Blacks for inspiration and I hope they do because it was a fluke. Their captain is incapable of making decisions under pressure.they can’t close out games, and for all Stuart Lancaster’s efforts I still get the impression they’d all go out midget tossing at the drop of a hat if they thought they could get away with it.
Where do you start? Scotland’s perennial problem has been how to finish off the chances they create. Solid pack, competitive back row, half-decent halfbacks but no cutting edge. They have the players – and in Tim McVisser they have one of the best finishers around – but rarely threaten the opposition try line.
Who will be your side’s key player and why?
For me it’s a toss up between Ryan Grant at Loosehead and Johnnie Beattie at Number 8. Both are great ball carriers in the loose but I get the feeling the game’s going to be won in the scrum, especially if one side starts to rack up penalties. England’s Dan Cole has got a pretty poor disciplinary record so if Grant can needle him we could be playing against 14 men by the end of the first half.
Chris Robshaw. If he can dictate what happens at the breakdown against a combative Scottish back row then I’m confident England will win.
How will the game unfold?
I’ve got a nagging feeling that play’s going to get stuck between the 22’s for most of the 80 minutes, with both defenses holding up well. At least one England player will be cited for a spear tackle. Final score – 12-6 Scotland
I’d love to say that England will dominate from the off, but I think it’s more likely that it’ll turn into an arm-wrestle, dominated by the boot of Saracen’s playmaker Owen Farrell. Final score – England by 9