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England’s clash with Scotland promises to be fiery despite no crowd in attendance

England go into their 2021 Six Nations curtain-raiser as defending champions and Autumn Nations Cup winners. 

However, they face a Scotland side which showed significant spirit and skill to hold their hosts to a 38-38 draw in the last meeting between these nations at Twickenham 2019. 

That performance was inspired in no small part by Finn Russell, whose return after a falling-out last year with head coach Gregor Townsend could be the shot in the arm that the team are looking for. 

England 

ELLIOT DALY

Elliot Daly’s lack of game time will be severely tested by Scotland creator-in-chief Finn Russell

Age: 28. Caps: 47.

After two months without a game, needs to be on red alert to deal with Finn Russell’s cheeky chips. 

ANTHONY WATSON

Age: 26. Caps: 46. 

Hopefully given more opportunities to show his speed if England limit their kicking game.

HENRY SLADE

Age: 27. Caps: 34. Could spook Russell or intercept his floating passes by getting into his eyeline in defence.

OLLIE LAWRENCE

Age: 21. Caps: 3. Another opportunity to inject a powerful edge in the absence of Manu Tuilagi.

JONNY MAY

Age: 30. Caps: 61. Has been working with new coach Ed Robinson on his world-class kick-chase skills.

OWEN FARRELL

Age: 29. Caps: 88. Will look to physically dominate his opposite man in battle of the No 10s.

BEN YOUNGS

Ben Youngs' form and leadership has been one of the hallmarks of England under Eddie Jones

Ben Youngs’ form and leadership has been one of the hallmarks of England under Eddie Jones

Age: 31. Caps: 104. Could overtake Jason Leonard as England’s most-capped male player in 2021. 

ELLIS GENGE

Age: 25. Caps: 23. One of the senior figures in the pack in the absence of Joe Marler and Mako Vunipola.

JAMIE GEORGE

Age: 30. Caps: 54. The newlywed is hoping for more chances to carry the ball than in the autumn Tests.

WILL STUART

Age: 24. Caps: 8. The 127kg prop fine-tuned his scrummaging under Dai Young at Wasps and steps in for Kyle Sinckler.

MARO ITOJE

Maro Itoje will be looking to enhance his Lions captaincy prospects in front of Warren Gatland

Maro Itoje will be looking to enhance his Lions captaincy prospects in front of Warren Gatland

Age: 26. Caps: 43. Can enhance his chances of Lions captaincy in front of Warren Gatland at Twickenham.

JONNY HILL

Age: 26. Caps: 4. Exeter lock given the nod ahead of Courtney Lawes after his whirlwind 2020 trophy haul.

MARK WILSON

Age: 31. Caps: 19. The fighter in the back-row can pressurise Russell to make him drop beyond the gain line.

BILLY VUNIPOLA

Age: 28. Caps: 56. Could be undercooked after scheduled warm-up match for Saracens was cancelled.

TOM CURRY

Age: 22. Caps: 28. All-action flanker should combine with Mark Wilson to nullify the poaching threats.

Scotland

STUART HOGG

Age: 28. Caps: 80. Twinkle-toes should have greater insight of England following move to Premiership champions Exeter.

SEAN MAITLAND

Age: 32. Caps: 50. Adds defensive nous to the back three if England launch an aerial onslaught of kicks.

CHRIS HARRIS

Age: 30. Caps: 23. Short of wins at Gloucester but adds power to Gregor Townsend’s 21st different centre pairing. 

CAMERON REDPATH

Cameron Redpath will make his Scotland bow against the country where he honed his craft

Cameron Redpath will make his Scotland bow against the country where he honed his craft

Age: 21. Caps: 0. 

Head-to-head with former England Under 20 team-mate Ollie Lawrence on debut. 

DUHAN VAN DER MERWE

Age: 25. Caps: 5. South African tackle-breaker has earned a big-money contract at Worcester.  

FINN RUSSELL

Age: 28. Caps: 51. The world’s box-office No 10 will keep England guessing with his range of skills.

ALI PRICE

Age: 27. Caps: 37. Reunited with old house-mate Russell to form a speedy half-back combination. 

RORY SUTHERLAND

Rory Sutherland is another player who will be looking to make a good impression on Gatland

Rory Sutherland is another player who will be looking to make a good impression on Gatland

Age: 28. Caps: 11. Tipped as an outsider for Lions selection after impressing as a scrummager in 2020.

GEORGE TURNER

Age: 28. Caps: 12. Third-choice hooker covering for Stuart McInally and Fraser Brown could be weak link. 

ZANDER FAGERSON

Age: 25. Caps: 34. Schoolboy mountain-bike champion keeps notes on opponents in his ‘scrum book’.

SCOTT CUMMINGS

Age: 24. Caps: 17. Selected ahead of Lions lock Richie Gray to maintain consistency with the hooker shortage.

JONNY GRAY

Jonny Gray comes up against Exeter team-mate Jonny Hill and has good knowledge of England

Jonny Gray comes up against Exeter team-mate Jonny Hill and has good knowledge of England

Age: 26. Caps: 61. Often leads Scotland’s work-rate statistics and will relish battle with Exeter team-mate Hill.

JAMIE RITCHIE

Age: 24. Caps: 23. A former judo champion who brings edge, energy and an athletic option at the lineout.

MATT FAGERSON

Age: 22. Caps: 9. Surprise selection ahead of Gary Graham and must provide clean scrum ball for backs.

HAMISH WATSON

Age: 29. Caps: 36. Released by Leicester as a teenager but now one of Europe’s most disruptive back-row operators.           

Substitutes

England: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Beno Obano, Harry Williams, Courtney Lawes, Ben Earl, Dan Robson, George Ford, Max Malins.

Scotland:  David Cherry, Oli Kebble, WP Nel, Richie Gray, Gary Graham, Scott Steele, Jaco Van der Walt, Huw Jones.

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