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England have to ‘right some wrongs’ in Scotland



England have to “right some wrongs” when they face Scotland at Murrayfield in their next Six Nations match, says number eight Ben Earl.

England have not beaten Scotland since 2020, losing the past three meetings with their oldest rivals.

Scotland will feel aggrieved after an inconclusive late try review denied them victory over France.

“We’ve got to look forward to going there,” added Earl before the Calcutta Cup match on Saturday, 24 February.

“Scotland are a proud rugby nation, they’ve got some great players, some great individuals.

“We’ve never had an easy game against them and last time we played them at Twickenham, the first game of last year, we lost.”

Unbeaten England have struggled for attacking impetus but have shown plenty of resilience to come from behind and claim opening victories over Italy and Wales

Scotland, who have also beaten Wales, saw their chances of winning a Grand Slam ended in controversial circumstances by France at Murrayfield.

Earl was not involved when England surrendered a 31-point lead to draw with Scotland under then-head coach Eddie Jones in 2019, but he suggests Steve Borthwick’s current side are more “collected and aligned”.

“We feel we’ve got a good game to fall back on when things are tight. We can squeeze games out and find a way to win. We know we can win from almost any position,” Earl said.

“When our backs were against the wall against Wales, we got together and said ‘look, it feels like we’re not getting the rub of the green here from the ref and/or the context of the game, so we need to almost bunker down or come out swinging in a way’.

“Other England teams in previous regimes, we might have gone into our shells and reverted to an individual focus, but we were collected and aligned in our messaging and in our next actions, so we were really pleased.

“The Italy game was a step in the right direction and Wales was another step in the right direction, so who knows where we can take it.”

‘I would tinker with the team’

Earl was one England’s standout performers in their run to the World Cup semi-finals and has continued to excel in the Six Nations with his powerful running and committed defence.

He was named man of the match after scoring England’s first try with a powerful surge from the base of the scrum in their 16-14 comeback win over Wales at Twickenham last Saturday.

The Saracens forward is likely to retain his spot at number eight for the trip to Edinburgh, but former England wing Ugo Monye says Borthwick may make changes elsewhere to provide more heavyweight “punch” to the stuttering attack.

“England’s intention is to play with the ball more,” Monye told BBC Rugby Union Daily.

“George Martin [lock], Ollie Lawrence and Manu Tuilagi [both centres] will be fit to face Scotland.

“While it’s a team that has won two from two for the first time in five years in the Six Nations, I would be tinkering with this team at this point.

“What you get from Martin, Lawrence and Manu is punch and that really matters.”

Monye’s suggestion of more power to help break the gainline before freeing their wide runners was echoed by former England wing Chris Ashton.

“I don’t quite think England are where they want to be at the moment,” Ashton told BBC Rugby Union Daily.

“With the quality and the experience we had, we should’ve been 15 points better than Wales.

“We had three ball carriers on from the bench in Chandler Cunningham-South, Ellis Genge and Theo Dan, which is why we did better in the last 20 minutes.

“You can’t get the ball wide unless you have the punch in the middle.”

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