Owen Farrell injury clouds England's plan for Six Nations showdown with Scotland

Francis Osborne
March 10, 2017

Farrell is expected to be fine but, either way, England are now in slightly edgy mode.

"I've coached a lot of good players and he is certainly one of the best".

As ever, Cotter feels this is a game between two well-matched sides in which execution will be everything. Greg Laidlaw and his merry men have already seen off Ireland and Wales convincingly in this year's tournament and will be in no mood to be charitable when they travel south to Twickenham - the scene of one of the countries biggest heartbreaks after an agonising last-minute defeat to Australia in the 2015 World Cup.

England have won their last 17 games and victory against Scotland would see Eddie Jones' side equal the All Blacks' record for most consecutive Test victories. "It's about fundamentals. We haven't got any tricks we're dragging out of the box, we're just trying to find points of access against a team who are strong all over".

Vunipola had been pencilled in for a start but the evidence of two days of training persuaded Jones that he will be better deployed as a replacement after only making his comeback from a three-month lay-off on Sunday.

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But they must start the match well.

Scrum-half Ben Youngs, centre Jonathan Joseph and wing Jack Nowell have been recalled to England's XV in place of Danny Care, Ben Te'o and Jonny May respectively. Dan Cole 4. Joe Launchbury 5. "Ben Te'o can play No12, he's an exceptional player, so there's no risk for us".

Into the England reserves for the first time this year come No. 8 Billy Vunipola and winger Anthony Watson. "Whatever they serve up we'll deal with", he said. Then what happens? You lose, you get a kick up the arse, you go away and think: 'We've got to work harder.' We asked the boys to make a choice.

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

This week there has also been renewed debate about the historical context of Swing Low, the negro spiritual adopted as an unofficial Twickenham anthem by England fans in the 1980s, but Hartley and his players will not care what the crowd sing as long as they maintain their long unbeaten record.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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