Scotland vs Ireland

The Calcutta Cup rivalry always seems like a much tighter affair when it’s England that are visiting Scotland, but it’s been quite a while since this has been anything but a fair and even rivalry.

England don’t always do that well when visiting their Northern neighbors, but it’s been six years since Scotland last beat England and overall have lost to them on their last four clashes, including 38-18 last season at Twickenham.

England are still pondering how they lost to France last week in Paris, holding a 24-19 lead before allowing that late try by Gael Fickou that gave France the dramatic win. Many will look to their botched lineup when they were leading 21-16 as the cause for this loss, but their problem with the Scrum in which the French won almost every time is something to look out for. Billy Vunipola, who will start again (no changes for the English side) was the best player in the back of the scrum, but needs more players to rise to his level.

There wasn’t much to take for Scotland from their 22 point loss at Irleand. For them as well, lineouts were an issue in the opening week loss, but in general, unless Duncan Weir and Greig Laidlaw begin to speed things up, we will once again see a very uninspired performance from the Scottish side.

Scotland, as expected, are making quite a few changes. The biggest of them is Kelly Brown being dropped while Chris Fusaro starts for him at Flanker. Tommy Seymour will play on the wing instead of Sean Maitland while Matt Scott will get the Inside Centre slot.

Prediction – The awful conditions at Murrayfield should help Scotland even out things a little bit in what is usually a very closely contested match when it’s on Scottish ground. However, it’s hard to look past the talent disparity and that England played very well in France and were slightly unlucky not to come away with the win, which they will in this one.

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