Eddies Jones’ England will be crowned Six Nations champions on Saturday if they can overcome a strong Scotland side at Twickenham. After Wales overcame their Irish visitors on Friday night, the road is now clear for the Red Rose to lift their second successive title under Jones and match New Zealand’s record run of 18 unbeaten matches.
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England head into today’s match in touching distance of the 2017 Six Nations title after Wales landed a hammer blow to Ireland’s campaign hopes on Friday night, beating the visitors 22-9 at the Principality Stadium.
If Jones’ men can see off the Auld Enemy at Twickenham, England will be crowned champions for a second successive year and will extend their unbeaten run to 18 months.
But victory is far from guaranteed. While England are not quite firing on all cylinders following three underwhelming yet defiant performances, Scotland are a side on the up.
Wins over Wales and Ireland – in the same championship for the first time since their final victorious Five Nations campaign in 1999 – has jettisoned Vern Cotter’s side into title contention, and if they can end Jones’s unbeaten streak on Saturday, they will head into the final weekend with genuine hopes of claiming the spoils.
What time does it start?
The game gets under way at 4.00pm at Twickenham.
Where can I watch it?
The match will be shown live on ITV1. Coverage starts at 3.30pm. You can also follow the match with The Independent’s live blog here.
Danny Care, Ben Te’o and Jonny May make way for Ben Youngs (scrum-half), Jonathan Joseph (outside centre) and Jack Nowell (wing). The Vunipola brothers both make the bench.
England XV: M Brown (Harlequins); J Nowell (Exeter), J Joseph (Bath), O Farrell (Saracens), E Daly (Wasps); G Ford (Bath), B Youngs (Leicester); J Marler (Harlequins), D Hartley (Northampton, capt), D Cole (Leicester), J Launchbury (Wasps), C Lawes (Northampton), M Itoje (Saracens), J Haskell (Wasps), N Hughes (Wasps).
Replacements: J George (Saracens), M Vunipola (Saracens), K Sinckler (Harlequins), T Wood (Northampton), B Vunipola (Saracens), D Care (Harlequins), B Te’o (Worcester), A Watson (Bath).
Scotland have recalled flanker Hamish Watson after injury to his Edinburgh club-mate John Hardie. Otherwise, Vern Cotter picks the same team that started against Wales two weekends ago.
Scotland XV: Hogg (Glasgow); Seymour (Glasgow), Jones (Stormers), Dunbar (Glasgow), Visser (Harlequins), Russell (Glasgow), Price (Glasgow); Reid (Glasgow), Brown (Glasgow), Fagerson (Glasgow), R Gray (Toulouse), J Gray (Glasgow), Barclay (Scarlets, capt), Watson (Edinburgh), Wilson (Glasgow).
Replacements: Ford (Edinburgh), Dell (Edinburgh), Berghan (Edinburgh), Swinson (Glasgow), Du Preez (Edinburgh), Pyrgos (Glasgow), Weir (Edinburgh), Bennett (Glasgow).
It’s a big game for…
Owen Farrell. Should he feature, today’s game poses a big challenge for the young No 12. Farrell failed to take part in full training on Friday after being struck down with a leg injury that required medical treatment. Whether he starts for England or is thrown into the mix at some later point in the game, the 25-year-old can expect a bruising afternoon of rugby that will put his experience and resilience to the test.
Past three meetings…
Scotland 9 England 15, Six Nations, February 2016
England 23 Scotland 13, Six Nations, March 2015
Scotland 0 England 20, Six Nations, February 2014
England to win: 1/5
Scotland to win: 5/1