England braced for hostile reception against ‘Auld Enemy’ at Murrayfield

David Skippers
Ben Earl England training SN 2024 - Alamy.jpg

England number eight Ben Earl at training.

England will be ready for anything Scotland throw at them when they go head-to-head in their highly anticipated Calcutta Cup clash at Murrayfield on Saturday.

That is the word from the Red Rose’s star number eight Ben Earl, who revealed that they are on high alert for any mind games from their opponents, who will be determined to continue their recent dominance of the fixture after being victorious in the three previous matches between these teams.

What makes this weekend’s challenge against Gregor Townsend‘s troops more daunting for England is that they can expect a hostile atmosphere at Murrayfield.

Scots set to use unsettling tactics

Scotland are renowned for trying to unsettle the ‘Auld Enemy’ when they face them on home turf.

In 2018, England fly-half George Ford received special attention from Scotland back-row Ryan Wilson, which led to a a brawl when Owen Farrell intervened, and the Red Rose team bus is usually held up by bagpipers.

In the past, the hot water has also been turned off in England’s changing room while their warm-up routine has also been disrupted by entertainers.

However, England are ready for any niggling tactics coming their way in the build-up and Earl is confident they can cope with the mind games from their hosts.

“There’s a resilience in us, for sure,” said Earl.

“There is a good group of experienced players in this team now – Jamie (George), George Ford, Joe Marler, Dan Cole, Ellis Genge. Those guys are all different characters, but they’ve seen all the curve balls in the past.

“And then you’ve also got a group of lads who might not have played a load of Test rugby but who have played a lot of club rugby in some great games and in some great stadiums.

“So I’d say the group, in terms of expectation, is probably as prepared as any to deal with anything that’s thrown at us.

“You have to love it. If you don’t love it, then you’re playing the wrong sport at the wrong level. I absolutely love it.

Expecting a tough challenge

“We’ve certainly spoken about the kind of side Scotland are, what a good team they are, how good they are at home.

“It’s a tough place to play and we’ve definitely touched upon the trend of results over the last three or four years.

“But in terms of motivating factors, that’s one of many that we’ve got. We know the journey that we’re on as a team, in terms of what we’re trying to grow and evolve into. And that’s as much of a motivating factor as playing those guys.”

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