World Rugby

Calcutta Cup Preview: Can England Turn The Tide In Edinburgh?

Calcutta Cup Preview: Can England Turn The Tide In Edinburgh?

Get ready for an epic clash! Here's a preview of the Scotland vs. England Calcutta Cup showdown in the 2024 Guinness Six Nations. Don't miss the action!

Feb 23, 2024
Calcutta Cup Preview: Can England Turn The Tide In Edinburgh?

The Calcutta Cup always is an important landmark event in the Six Nations, and the latest installment this Saturday is no different. 

The rivalry between Scotland and England is palpable, but it has gotten even more tense over the past couple of years with the rising prominence of Scotland. 

Whereas in years gone by, England viewed the fixture as an easy win, it now is a must-win match that is far from a guarantee. 

England last won in Murrayfield in 2020 and has endured a dire run of form, winning only one of its last six matches against Scotland. 

To buck that trend, England will need to devise an attacking strategy that maximizes the talent within the squad. 

With Finn Russell at the helm, Scotland possess a lot of attacking creativity. The question that remains is whether England does, too.

Of course, the Auld Enemy remains unbeaten this term, so they have the edge there, while Scotland fell in heartbreaking fashion to France in Round 2.

However, that loss will give Gregor Townsend’s men even more to fight for come Saturday, which makes them a very dangerous prospect to face. 

Team News 

The big news for Scotland is the return of Blair Kinghorn, who has come back from injury to take his place at fullback. 

Kyle Steyn also makes a shift back into the starting XV, which means Kyle Rowe and Harry Patterson both lose their spots on the squad. 

Rory Darge and Russell still are co-captaining the team, while the pack remains almost identical to the previous round, except for the return of former captain Jamie Ritchie, who replaces Matt Fagerson to line up on the flanks. 

Steve Borthwick has made the bigger changes of the two coaches, completely dropping Freddie Steward from the squad in a shock move, following the fullback’s exceptional performance in Round 2. 

In his place steps George Furbank, who has the chance to cement his spot in the England setup. 

Having started against Wales, Joe Marler and Will Stuart are moved to the bench to make way for Ellis Genge and Dan Cole in the front row. 

Meanwhile, Danny Care will make his 99th international appearance at scrum-half, stepping in for Alex Mitchell, who is set to miss the rest of the Six Nations through injury. 

Finally, Ollie Lawrence makes his long-awaited return from injury to start at inside center, setting up an exciting combination with Henry Slade. 

Key Head-To-Head Matchup

There are a lot of head-to-heads to look out for at Murrayfield, but the crucial matchup that will define the game is at fly-half, with two top-level No. 10s coming face to face. 

On the one side, you have Russell, the maverick with an attacking arsenal so deep there’s almost no defense that can keep him quiet. His ability to carry the ball to the gain line and unleash havoc with either a cross-field kick or a miss-pass is unrivalled. 

He’s already shown his abilities in the opening two rounds, making the joint-most carries and try assists of anyone in the competition.

He’s also scored 23 points, topping the charts alongside Ford. 

Kicking has been at the center of both sides’ performances, with Russell maintaining 100% accuracy off the tee. 

While Ford hasn’t been as prolific in front of the posts, his in-field kicking has been impeccable, particularly against Wales, when he pinned the opposing back three with deep bombs into the backfield, which Steward managed to retain. 

Given how impactful both these players are, the game will likely hinge upon who controls the kicking battle, which makes the fly-half face-off all the more important. 


Both teams need to win this game to keep their hopes of a Six Nations title alive. 

Scotland knows recent history works in its favor and will hope Duhan van der Merwe can score another wonder try to propel them to victory in front of a home crowd. 

There will be a lot of pressure on Furbank’s shoulders, and Russell’s boot likely will target him - how he copes with that early pressure could give England the edge.

However, with the reintroduction of Lawrence, England now has a genuine powerhouse in the midfield, which it has lacked so far in the competition. 

Having that hard-running option will free up Ford and give him license to orchestrate the game to his own will. 

It’s going to be tight, but in the end, England finally will find its groove in attack and reclaim the Calcutta Cup.

Join The Rugby Conversation On FloRugby Social