For any England Rugby super fan the chance to spend some time with the team…Read more
Scotland v England key battles
The oldest rivalry in rugby reconvenes on Saturday at Murrayfield as Scotland host England in the RBS 6 Nations Championship.
It is the 132nd meeting between the Auld Enemy and the hosts will be looking to get their hands on the Calcutta Cup for the first time since 2008.
Each side will be smarting following opening weekend defeats and victory is vital for their Championship hopes in what could prove tricky conditions with overhead rain and underfoot mud because of a parasite in the Edinburgh pitch.
Here, we highlight three potentially mouth-watering battles between blue and white that could decide the outcome.
DAVE DENTON v BILLY VUNIPOLA
Happy Birthday David. We hope you have recovered from blowing out those 24 candles on Wednesday because come Saturday you will need your puff for what promises to be an explosive encounter.
The Zimbabwe-born Denton was continually looking to power off the back of the scrum against Ireland in Dublin and came closest to a try for Scotland only to be double-teamed into touch.
While Denton is the taller of the two, human-wrecking ball Vunipola tips the scales and is not one for taking a backwards step, as he showed in putting Louis Picamoles in his place in Paris.
Here are some Denton v Vunipola stats to mull over from last weekend. Carries: 13-17. Metres made: 31-68. Tackles: 9-9. Tackle success: 100%-82%. Vunipola played 15 minutes fewer and also beat two defenders and assisted in each England try. Bring it on.
GREIG LAIDLAW v DANNY CARE
The last four meetings between these sides in the Scottish capital have been tight affairs, and while Laidlawʼs service was criticised as he battled against the green tide, he will keep the number nine shirt because of his kicking out of hand and off the tee, and it could prove crucial for any Scottish hopes.
As will his defensive abilities around the fringes if he is to curtail Careʼs darting jack-in-the-box instincts.
The England man was heralded as the orchestrator of last weekʼs valiant comeback in Paris and the performance was deemed to be his best in the white shirt.
Now the tricky bit; backing it up with another performance of tempo and brio, keeping untidy errors to a minimum in what are expected to wild conditions and keeping those around him on the front foot on a bog of a pitch.
STUART HOGG v MIKE BROWN
Debate is not exactly raging yet, but there are murmurs about where to play Hogg in order to maximise what Scotlandʼs most effervescent and exciting back can bring to the team.
Despite defeat last week, he looked pretty handy at full-back and is likely to stick there. He was the top offloader, equal top in clean breaks and he beat six defenders on his way to making 75 metres. Top again with that stat.
Positionally, Brown has gone the other way. Having spent last seasonʼs Championship shunted out to the wing he relished being back in his more accustomed position in the autumn, winning rave reviews.
So stepping in for injured winger Jonny May after just eight minutes against France was not part of the plan and he will be keen to assert his authority from the back again, claiming those high bombs in blowy conditions, breaking the first tackle and making metres into opposition territory.