Scotland coach Vern Cotter is hoping the Murrayfield crowd will create as hostile an atmosphere as possible when England journey north for their opening match of the Six Nations.
England’s new coach Eddie Jones says Scotland are the form team in Europe at the moment and are favourites for their Calcutta Cup clash but Cotter has labelled England “the preferred team”.
As Scotland bid to win their first Calcutta Cup clash since 2008, Cotter hopes home advantage will pay dividends when the two nations meet on Feb. 6.
“We know that England will be going back to basics, which is a big, hard aggressive forward pack and a dominating set piece,” Cotter said. “A lot of energy’s coming from the players in the Champions Cup, and they’ll be channelling all of that desire to do well and perform better than they did in the World Cup.
“As much as they clearly go into this fixture as the preferred team we just want to make Murrayfield not a particularly nice place for them. We’re doing our damn best to make sure he has no comfortable day, we’ll be rolling our sleeves up and giving it our best shot.”
Cotter has rated centre Mark Bennett’s chances of playing against England as 50/50 as he returns from a shoulder injury but the Scotland coach hopes this will be a championship where the group grows as a collective unit as they look to push on from their impressive showing in the World Cup.
“It’s the collective effort that we like to see, that selflessness that exists within this group and the trust between players,” Cotter said. “I hope a whole lot of players step up and get noticed in this competition, not just two or three.
“The last Six Nations was very frustrating for us, and we used that frustration to propel us into the World Cup. The next challenge is the Six Nations, and I think the team, though we understand as we are ranked the fifth team, it’s going to be tough.
“But we enjoy improving, working together, and there’s belief and trust to try to win every one of these games we’re playing. But we know how difficult that will be.”
ESPN.com – RUGBY