Warren Gatland Sends Huge Message To Players Ahead Of England & Scotland Clash
England and Scotland have a lot riding this weekend.
The Calcutta Cup is up for grabs, as is the Triple Crown for Scotland. England will be looking to tie the All Blacks unbeaten Test record, while Scotland know a win means they’re right up there in contention for the Six Nations title on the final day.
Warren Gatland has now also sent an important message to the players ahead of the crucial clash- you’re also playing for a potential spot on the plane to New Zealand with the British & Irish Lions.
“For a lot of players this weekend is really important and the match-ups at Twickenham are reasonably significant,” he said.
“I’m interested in how the two 10s [Finn Russell and George Ford] match up against each other. Same with the wingers – I thought Tim Visser played well against Wales and Tommy Seymour has been impressive, while Sean Maitland has been playing well for Saracens. Stuart Hogg has done all right, so there’s a little bit of depth in Scotland’s back three.
“In midfield, they’ve got someone like Matt Scott who hasn’t even been involved, as well as Alex Dunbar and Huw Jones. So I think there are some nice match-ups between England and Scotland in the backs. Up front, Scotland have a genuine openside in Hamish Watson, and they’ve got strength in the back row – they will fancy themselves against England because I’m still not convinced that Itoje is a six and Vunipola has not played a lot of rugby. The two Gray boys have also gone well, so there are some really good match-ups in the Calcutta Cup.”
The Lions boss also admitted that should Scotland manage to win at Twickenham for the first time since 1983 “it would create a few headaches.”
“You’ve got to think about the Lions being away from home, against one of the best teams in the world,” he said. “So I’m looking at it from a Scottish point of view and seeing that they’ve got two wins at home. So there are a few challenges for Scotland this weekend, although Wales probably need a result more than Scotland do.
“I’m a great believer in the idea that we should want Scotland doing well, because we should want them to be represented in the Lions. I’m pleased that there is an opportunity for more Scottish players to put their hands up – this is a big weekend for them. They need to get that monkey off their backs by winning at Twickenham.”