Scott Lawson Column: “All the pressure is on England”

Make no mistake about it, this is the game that every Scotland player wants to play in.

Some people will try and downplay it, but playing against England is different than every other Test match and is the pinnacle.

And although Scotland head into the match off the back of a loss in Dublin, I think they will have taken a lot from that improved showing.

Everyone will look at Stuart Hogg dropping the ball over the line, but that is probably an as uncharacteristic mistake as you will get and overall I thought he played outstandingly.

There were a few eyebrows raised when he was named captain - certainly not by me - and in Dublin you could see the way he led on the pitch and the way he communicated well with his team and the referee was great.

I thought he was brilliant. It was one of his best games for Scotland for a while apart from one blip and I think in general it was a day of missed opportunities for the team last Saturday.

If you look at the first half, there were a number of times when the team coughed up the ball one or two phases from the Ireland try line and that is the thing that will have frustrated Gregor, his coaching staff and the players because they had three or four really good chances to get points on the board.

It was just a quality Test match. These types of games are decided on moments of brilliance or a couple of errors here or there and I think the game had everything.

I think Ireland will have been pretty relieved to get out of it with a win because there was a lot riding on it for them as it was their first match under Andy Farrell and Scotland put them under quite a bit of pressure.

They were favourites for the game and although they did get the victory in the end, they will have breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Two years ago when Scotland beat England at BT Murayfield, I was an unused sub and it was to be my last involvement in an international matchday 23.

When I was called back up after three or so years away from the Scotland set-up at the start of that Six Nations campaign because of some hooker injuries and to help the young props, it was a great buzz to be in that environment again.

I came off the bench against Wales in the first game, was an unused sub against France and then the same against England and then Fraser Brown came back into the reckoning for the last two games.

Obviously, as a player, you always want to get out on the pitch and influence things, but Stuart McInally was in the form of his life at that time and just to be a part of the day when we beat England was a big thing for me.

I retired from the pro game three months later and to have that day as one of my final memories to look back on is amazing.

The guys played some great rugby and the crowd got right behind us and I am sure the atmosphere will again be brilliant this coming weekend.

The Shaun Edwards affect as France beat England last Sunday was massive. He is so relentless and intense and England got a bit of shock out there in Paris and didn’t know what to do.

I will be intrigued to see what happens on Saturday as the two old enemies battle it out for the Calcutta Cup, but I do feel that all the pressure is on England.

Scotland always play well at Murrayfield. If you look at the win in 2018 and the second half at Twickenham last year, then we know we can score tries against England and I think individually, a number of the Scots are getting back to the top of their game

For example, it was great to see Rory Sutherland come back into the fold after a couple of years out against Ireland and really scrummage well at loosehead - the tight five will again be key this coming weekend

It will be fiery, intense and enthralling and we would not want it any other way!

Scott was talking to TRU's Gary Heatly

Scott Lawson is now Director of Rugby at the University of St Andrews. Between 2005 and 2018 he earned 47 Scotland caps and played in the 2007 and 2011 World Cups.

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