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    What should England do to beat Scotland? Here's who I'd start at Murrayfield

    Manu Tuilagi is in contention to start against Scotland. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

    The upcoming Calcutta Cup is a disproportionate test for Steve Borthwick's England. Despite finishing third at last year's World Cup, the jury is still out on how much, if any, real progress England have made under Borthwick.

    In the matches against Italy and Wales they showed elements of improvement and overcame self-control. caused adversity and achieved record victories. It will be a different story in Edinburgh on Saturday, although Scotland is one place below England in the world rankings.

    Had it not been for a, shall we say, dubious decision not to score a try against the French, Gregor Townsend's side might also have gone into the third round of the tournament unbeaten. Their first-half dominance over the Welsh showed what they are capable of if Finn Russell is allowed to play the ball consistently with his front foot, and they pose a greater challenge than anything England have faced in the World Cup and the first two rounds of this tournament.< /p>

    If you add the Murrayfield factor and the fact that England have won only one of their last six meetings in Kolkata, it becomes a big problem for England. Win and they will create the improbable, but not impossible, idea of ​​beating Ireland at Twickenham and becoming the only team capable of winning a Grand Slam. Lose in any way that is not marginal, and it is not illegal to question how much real progress the team has made under Borthwick.

    England should not fear this challenge, they should respect it and relish it if recent confident statements are to have any meaning.

    So what do England need to do to win this game?

    All but one of the last seven Calcutta Cup meetings have ended by seven points or less and one draw. I see no reason to believe that the upcoming game will not be just as tense, and this cannot but introduce an element of tactical nervousness. Scotland, as the home team, are likely to be favorites and until we see the weather for the day, it is impossible to confidently announce a game plan that can lead to success.

    Assuming that the conditions are at least reasonable, it is easier to start with a few things that England should not do. Any repeat of their defensive narrowness, which cost them two tries in Rome, will make it much more difficult for Scotland to fight back. Any repeat of their indiscipline, which sent two men to the dustbin at Twickenham, would almost certainly put the game out of their reach. Borthwick had to deal with these issues during the two-week break after the Wales game.

    Less easy to solve is the limited lifting capacity of the balls. England will have to ask more questions about their opponents' standard defence. The potential return of Manu Tuilagi would immediately create a power shift that Scotland could not ignore. Add to that the England back three who are most often offered as prospects or bait-and-switch players, and the whole proposition looks different for Steve Tandy, Scotland's defense coach. If Borthwick can be bold and start Chandler Cunningham-South, he could add another backcourt player to the lineup and take some pressure off Ben Earl as the primary yardage creator.

    This game, due to its importance to the tournament and England's recent record in the match, is more about psychology than tactics. Murrayfield is a small area. One side of the field is much further from the touchline than the other and can sometimes feel barren. When Scotland come out on top it will be the most transformative of stadiums and England should at least get off to a good start.

    For this reason, I would consider selecting England's strongest front row players in Joe Marler, Jamie George and Dan Cole. It's not that Will Stewart is bad at the game, but if England have any chance of coming out on top at this important standard, they had better do it early and, as they always say now, paint the right picture for Andrew Brace. referee.

    Joe Marler (right), Jamie George (centre) and Dan Cole will bring experience to England&#39 Frontline line. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

    To say that Scotland are a confident team is probably trite. Like most teams, they thrive on confidence, but unlike the world's elite, they do not go through periods of doubt or obvious vulnerability, and their recent history is full of promises, partial deliveries and maddening cuts.

    What is this? must be a Scotland supporter and with every good performance hope that previous weaknesses will be addressed. It's the hope that's killing you. What it means to be a Borthwick and England supporter will soon take either a big leap or a dismal decline.

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