Rugby | Jones makes light of Scotland's troubles at Twickenham

Twickenham – England coach Eddie Jones was in a jovial mood as he considered Scotland’s woeful record at Twickenham ahead of Saturday’s Six Nations finale.

Scotland hold the Calcutta Cup after a 25-13 win over England at Murrayfield last season.

But Scotland have not won at Twickenham since 1983 and a continuation of that streak this weekend could see England take the Six Nations if Wales fail to complete a Grand Slam against Ireland in Cardiff earlier on Saturday.

Jones, asked why he thought Scotland had endured such a long run without a win in London, jokingly replied “1883?” even though Twickenham has ‘only’ been staging rugby matches since 1909.

But, on a more serious note, Jones said large home crowds – a capacity attendance of over 82 000 is expected on Saturday – had the ability to sway match officials.

“It’s because the referee gets influenced,” Jones said ahead of a match that will be controlled by New Zealand’s Paul Williams. “There’s no doubt about it.”

“The referee’s such a crucial component of the game of rugby,” the Australian added.

“We’ve got a great game based on contest and whenever you’ve got contest you’ve got the referee involved. They’re human beings and they get influenced by the environment. That’s certainly a factor.”

“The support of your fans is also definitely a massive factor,” insisted former Australia and Japan coach Jones, who saw England’s bid for a Grand Slam this season end with a 21-13 loss away to Wales.

“That’s one thing the Welsh have got in their favour, haven’t they? They’ve got a great Cardiff crowd and we’ve got a great Twickenham crowd. That’s going to help us on Saturday in those tough moments. The players might not hear it but they feel that positivity.”

It has often been suggested that rugby union’s oldest international fixture, first played in 1871, means more to Scotland than England but Jones was adamant there would be plenty of emotion fuelling his players on Saturday.

“We’re not playing Mars or Pluto, we’re playing Scotland. They’ve got passion and play the game a certain way.

“We’ve got passion about playing for England. It’ll be about which side comes out with most intensity and desire and that’ll be us.”

Scotland’s away-day problems extend far beyond Twickenham, where they suffered a 61-21 thrashing on their last visit two years ago.

Since the Championship became the Six Nations in 2000, and excluding matches against perennial strugglers Italy, the Scots have won just two away games – against Wales in 2002 and Ireland in 2010.

“We don’t really look into the history of stuff,” said Scotland captain Stuart McInally, whose side lost 18-11 to Warren Gatland’s side at Murrayfield last Saturday.

“We’re aware of it. But I don’t think it will have a bearing on tomorrow.”

The 28-year-old Edinburgh hooker added: “The players, we try to approach the games exactly the same way, home or away.

“You try to isolate everything to a patch of grass, the same sized pitch roughly, two teams playing rugby.”

Kick-off is at 19:00 (SA time) on Saturday.



Elliot Daly, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 Jonny
May, 10 Owen Farrell (captain), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Tom
Curry, 6 Mark Wilson;, 5George Kruis, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Kyle Sinckler,
2 Jamie George, 1 Ellis Genge

16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Brad Shields, 20
Nathan Hughes, 21 Ben Spencer, 21 George Ford, 23 Ben Te’o


Sean Maitland; 14 Darcy Graham, 13 Nick Grigg, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Byron
McGuigan; 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price; 8 Magnus Bradbury, 7 Hamish
Watson, 6 Sam Skinner; 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Ben Toolis; 3 Willem Nel, 2
Stuart McInally (capt), 1 Allan Dell

Substitutes: 16 Fraser Brown,
17 Gordon Reid, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Jonny Gray, 20 Josh Strauss, 21
Greig Laidlaw, 22 Adam Hastings, 23 Chris Harris

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