Monday 18 December 2017

Scots can put Lancaster's cubs to sword

EDINBURGH'S Lee Jones made his club debut in September of 2010 and has made the rapid progress to win his first cap.

What an occasion it will be for all of Scotland as Andy Robinson plots a quick and decisive setback to England coach Stuart Lancaster's ambition to secure a long-term contract.

The Scottish scrum is a hardened, heavy unit with all the mobility in the world from lock Richie Gray and out-and-out openside Ross Rennie.

It is clear Robinson wants to run a monster England pack right off their feet and all the way out the Murrayfield gates.

The selection of the wily Dan Parks indicates a game-plan designed around their forward solidity, a quick-rucking back row and the sniping intelligence of Chris Cusiter at scrum-half.

Lancaster makes Harlequins' Chris Robshaw (pictured) his first captain in what is a reward for attitude rather than breathtaking talent. It sets the standard. You don't do the work. You won't get picked.

He has given international debuts to centres Owen Farrell and Brad Barritt and number eight Phil Dowson in what is an underwhelming English side.

The flaky Charlie Hodgson has been restored to fly-half outside the inconsistent Ben Youngs. There are five uncapped players on the bench.

Scotland v England, Murrayfield, tomorrow 5.0

Verdict: Scotland

Scotland: R Lamont; L Jones, N de Luca, S Lamont, M Evans; D Parks, C Cusiter; A Jacobson, R Ford (capt), E Murray, R Gray, J Hamilton, A Strokosch, R Rennie, D Denton.

England: B Foden; C Ashton, B Barritt, O Farrell, D Strettle; C Hodgson, B Youngs; A Corbisiero, D Hartley, D Cole, M Botha, T Palmer, T Croft, C Robshaw (capt), P Dowson.

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