• Eddie Joness side motivated by last years defeat by Scotland• Ben Youngs promises England will be ruthless
He is, of course, 100 years out, and he knows it too because he has been reminding his players of the history of Englands annual fixture against Scotland. Reminding them that it was first played in 1871 and no doubt that only 12 months ago England had their pants pulled down.
Injury-ravaged Scotland are big underdogs as a disappointing tournament limps to a close at a venue where they have not won since 1983 – a sorry run spanning 17 Tests – and it is that statistic that Jones seized upon to mock Gregor Townsends side.
Jones does not often look backwards but one gets the feeling he is trying to keep his players minds focused. For Twickenham is alive with possibility on Saturday. By kick-off England will know whether they could be 80 minutes from a third Six Nations title in four years or simply playing for the Calcutta Cup. It is the latter outcome that Jones is guarding against, no doubt aware that Twickenham will inevitably be subdued at 4.55pm if Wales have beaten Ireland to complete the grand slam.
Read more Jones has given his players the choice as to whether or not they watch proceedings unfold in Cardiff – Jamie George is among those to confirm he intends to – but what better way to avoid distraction then than remind his players that England have not lost to Scotland at Twickenham in their last 17 meetings? We try to put pressure on ourselves in terms of maintaining records like that, said George. We have been made aware of it. Eddie likes to look at the whole picture. Whether we use that as motivation, I guess thats individual.
The players will not admit it – mentioning the word revenge is a sure-fire way to illicit a stern shake of the head – but that Jones is obviously still sore over Englands defeat last year only helps in that regard. He has opted against keeping Ben Teo alongside Manu Tuilagi in Englands midfield but even with the more lightweight Henry Slade in his side, Englands head coach believes a Scotland team badly depleted by injury and as long as 10-1 with some bookmakers will struggle to contain their powerful runners.
Show Hide England v Scotland: teams England: Elliot Daly; Jack Nowell, Henry Slade, Manu Tuilagi; Jonny May; Owen Farrell (c), Ben Youngs; Ben Moon, Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler, Joe Launchbury, George Kruis, Mark Wilson, Tom Curry, Billy Vunipola.
Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Ellis Genge, Dan Cole, Brad Shields, Nathan Hughes, Ben Spencer, George Ford, Ben Teo.
Scotland: Sean Maitland; Darcy Graham, Nick Grigg, Sam Johnson,Byron McGuigan; Finn Russell, Ali Price; Allan Dell, Stuart McInally, WP Nel, Ben Toolis, Grant Gilchrist, Sam Skinner, Hamish Watson, Magnus Bradbury.Replacements: Fraser Brown, Gordon Reid, Simon Berghan, Jonny Gray, Josh Strauss, Greig Laidlaw, Adam Hastings, Chris Harris.
Thank you for your feedback. Jones has stopped short of instructing Will Carling, now part of his backroom staff, to conduct any rabble-rousing speeches about Englands 1990 defeat by Scotland after which the then England captain vowed I would never lose to your lot again and am very pleased to say I kept that promise, but Ben Youngs, who passes Danny Cares record to become Englands most capped scrum-half, is another taking motivation from what has gone before him.
There is a huge amount of history, the Leicester player said. There is no denying we want to be unbelievably physical and we want to be ruthless in how we go about the performance and that is what we are after. If guys want to draw [motivation from last years defeat], that is fine. It is whatever individually gets you right. We want the best performance of the tournament so far. How you get that individually it is up to you.
Read more Some players, then, will use other ways to motivate themselves and it was telling that Billy Vunipola admitted at the start of the week that Englands defeat by Wales – and therefore the fact their destiny is out of their hands – will be niggling away all week.
Indeed, if all goes to form against Scotland , England could well find themselves ruing their inability to stem the second-half tide in Cardiff.
You cant afford to perform like we did in that 20 minutes against Wales, said George. Wed be disappointed because we set out to win the tournament, as every other team did. But especially after the way we started.
That Jones has picked a team as close as possible to that which started against Ireland – Mako Vunipola and Maro Itoje miss out through injury but he has named 13 of his side from Dublin to face Scotland – is also telling. Any talk of the World Cup has been off limits in the England camp throughout the campaign but Joness side for Japan is increasingly taking shape and, regardless of whether they are crowned champions on Saturday, the improvements made since their fifth-place finish a year ago are marked.
I look at the experience, added Youngs. I look at how we are set up. I look at the coaching experience in the room. I feel like this time we are in a great spot.
England coach Eddie Jones has mocked Scotlands 36-year wait for a win at Twickenham in the build-up to their Six Nations match on Saturday.
“Since 1883? 1983, OK,” joked Jones, whose side can still win the title, when asked about the statistic.
“If we impose our game on Scotland itll be pretty tough for them. Were not playing Mars or Pluto, were playing Scotland,” he added.
England suffered a surprise 25-13 loss away to Scotland in last years Six Nations, but inflicted a 61-21 defeat at Twickenham in 2017, matching their record winning margin against their oldest rivals.
Scotland coach Gregor Townsend has backed his side to upset the odds again, but Jones has his sights set on delivering a statement performance, regardless of whether the title is still up for grabs come kick-off.
“We want to be the best team in the world and we know were not the best team in the world, but weve got an opportunity to show that were the best team in the Six Nations. And were not going to miss that opportunity,” he added.
“Were nowhere near our best, were just slowly getting there. Well be at our best for the Six Nations on Saturday. There will be a bit of an explosion.”
England will win the title for the third time in four years if Ireland beat Wales earlier in the day and they then overcome Scotland later in the day.
It would take an improbable winning scoreline for Ireland in Cardiff for points difference to become a factor in Englands chances.
Scotland are fourth in the standings but have suffered a raft of injuries during the campaign and will be without backs Stuart Hogg, Blair Kinghorn and Tommy Seymour for their final game of the championship.