Entertainment, Sports

Gregor Townsend paying no heed to English mind games ahead of Six Nations opener

GREGOR TOWNSEND says he has no interest in indulging Eddie Jones and his mind-games after the England head coach labelled Scotland as “red-hot favourites” to win tomorrow afternoon’s Calcutta Cup clash at Murrayfield. 

“Every coach does this little song and dance going into a game trying to convince the media they’re underdogs and saying to players ‘our backs are against the wall, we’re going to this hostile place and we’re underdogs’,” said Townsend. “I don’t know who picks the favourites – the bookies obviously do, and I know we’re not favourites with the bookies. It’s not really something we talk or worry about. 

“The last few games [between Scotland and England] have been competitive, and it is hard to pick the form of any team in the opening weekend,” he added. 

“You can go back to November and say this team or that team are better placed because of what they did in November, but really it is about who hits the ground running after a week and a half training – how we rebuild those connections, that cohesion on the field, how we react to what the opposition is doing on the field, and how you react in pressure moments to find a way to win.  

“So, coaches will try to tell you they are not favourites going into a game, but all we are focused on is how our team trained today, how we can be better tomorrow, and how we deliver our best performance on Saturday.” 

Both Townsend and Jones named their sides for the match yesterday with no major shocks in either selection. One advantage for Scotland is that they have no leading players currently out injured, while England are without captain Owen Farrell [ankle] and back-up captain Courtney Lawes [concussion], Jonny Hill [foot], Manu Tuilagi [hamstring], Jonny May [knee] and Sam Underhill [concussion]. 

“We have our own expectations and that is delivering performances we are capable of,” concluded Townsend. “We’ve not done it in every game we’ve played, but in last year’s Six Nations three games stood out as us at our best – England, Italy and France. The aim for us now is to do the same in five games.” 

Previous ArticleNext Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *