Farrell a doubt for Scotland

Posted March 10, 2017

"They have a bench that is coming on and finishing games off in the last 10 minutes".

It was widely expected that Vunipola would be drafted straight back into the starting line-up but will have to settle for a place on the bench for now, with Nathan Hughes regaining his spot in the back row.

I think their first-half showing against the Azzurri and their failure to react to Italy's tactics proved the flawless wake-up call for the men in white.

Jones, who has also brought back scrum-half Ben Youngs and wing Jack Nowell, eventually decided caution was the wiser play with Billy Vunipola and named him on a super-powered bench along with Anthony Watson who will make his first England appearance of the season. Even the attractive spring weather in Bagshot could not distract from the untimely training ground knock suffered by Owen Farrell, nor a unusual, prickly press conference grudgingly given by Eddie Jones.

It will be interesting to see which two of the four possible wings Jones uses to start, as Elliot Daly has been a revelation at left wing and is arguably one of the tournament's best finishers to date.

England certainly look worth taking on after some less than convincing displays and best price 9/2 (Betfair) for a Scotland victory can't be sniffed at.

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But they must start the match well. The unspoken message this week, accordingly, is that England can not bank on retaining their title unless they harden up mentally, crank up the intensity and bristle a little more.

Scotland captain John Barclay on taking on England who are bidding to match New Zealand's record of 18 consecutive Test wins: "We kind of feel like the expectations are more on England". I think he'll be alright.

"I'm not going to tell you that [the specifics of the injury]".

Scotland have not beaten England in their past eight attempts.

England was the only remaining unbeaten team in the Six Nations but has won ugly against France, Wales, and Italy.

Scotland have had precious little to treasure from the fixture in the recent past, failing to win at Twickenham for 34 years. Jonny's brother Richie has made more tackles (41) than anyone else without missing one so far.