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Marler and England fed up of Scotland celebrations in most ‘spiteful’ fixture

England players have had enough of having to watch Scotland celebrate their recent Calcutta Cup successes, with Joe Marler insisting his side are braced for what he believes is their most “spiteful” fixture of all.

Scotland have held the Calcutta Cup since 2021 having won the past three Six Nations fixtures between the two sides while England have prevailed only once in their last six meetings. Steve Borthwick believes Scotland are “clear favourites” for Saturday’s match, demonstrating just how much the tables have turned, bearing in mind England held the trophy from 2009 to 2018.

Scotland’s recent “continued dominance” – as Marler put it – has led to some memorable celebrations, with a video of Finn Russell and Greig Laidlaw looking worse for wear and singing Flower of Scotland in 2018 – something Eddie Jones, who was accosted by Scotland supporters the next day, had not forgotten a year later. “We know that’s their game of the year,” he said in 2019. “We saw how they carried on last year after they beat us. So, we might have short memories sometimes, but sometimes you have longer memories.”

Gregor Townsend’s side were in full voice in the Twickenham changing room in 2022, as showcased in the recently released Netflix documentary Six Nations: Full Contact while a photo of Russell making a pose also sticks in Marler’s mind. The prop pinpoints that 2018 defeat at Murrayfield – before the match a fracas broke out in the tunnel involving Ryan Wilson, George Ford and Owen Farrell – as the turning point and believes England head into this contest as underdogs. But he is determined to enjoy his own Calcutta Cup celebrations after England’s recent barren spell.

“More than any other nation there seems to be a little more spite even though, I am pretty sure … when was the last battle between England and Scotland?” said Marler. “I am sure it was ages ago. The Ryan Wilson tunnel bust-up sums it up nicely in terms of peak spikiness and that is just what you have come to expect in these fixtures. It would just be nice to be on the winning end of it for once because it has been so long since we have. Obviously we had 2020 but the continued dominance from Scotland over us … it has been a long time now.

“I remember growing up, watching the Five Nations, the back end, and the Six Nations and how it was celebrated winning that cup and how much that one game meant. People talk about how much that one game means to Scotland, but I watched that and you could see from the England teams who won, how much it meant to them to win that cup.

“Seeing some of the last few years without that cup, with Finn and Greig Laidlaw, that video of them with their shirts off and singing with the cup. Which is great, I love it but I wish I could be doing that rather than watching it. Or that famous Finn Russell photo where he’s got his Spider-Man hands up and he’s loving it. That stirs passion in me to go, ‘I want that cup’ and I know a number of the other boys in that team want that cup back as well.”

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The England captain, Jamie George, believes his side have been written off in Scotland and was asked about their opponents’ celebrations last year on Full Contact. “We’ve shown a little bit of that this week,” he said. “You don’t want to play the game too early, you don’t want to get revved up too early but this is a game more so than ever where our senior players step up and show what it needs to be about. I certainly will be looking to do that, a lot of the other senior players will be looking to do that and if we bring a lot of talented younger guys that we’ve got with us I think it’ll be a great performance.”

George, who is hoping to guide his side to three straight Six Nations victories for the first time since 2020, added: “We’ve spoken about records, at Twickenham, in the Calcutta Cup, [we] haven’t been good enough in the last couple of years.

“There’s been a lot of talk in the Scottish media about the fact we have no chance and we might as well not turn up. That’s absolutely fine in my eyes because we’ll go about our business quietly and we’ve been really happy with where we’ve been at over the last couple of weeks. We’ve made huge strides in the fallow week and we’ve built really nicely. Everyone can use different motivation – whether it’s what’s going on with me at home, people reading stuff in the media – this game is going to have an edge, this game is going to have a bite to it and we’re very prepared for that.”

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