x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

A century of hurt for Scottish rugby at England's Twickenham home

England¿s Six Nations clash with Scotland at Twickenham on Sunday marks the centenary of the first meeting between the two sides in West London.

Ugo Monye, centre, celebrates his opening try in England’s 26-12 win at home to Scotland in 2009.
Ugo Monye, centre, celebrates his opening try in England’s 26-12 win at home to Scotland in 2009.

England's Six Nations clash with Scotland at Twickenham on Sunday marks the centenary of the first meeting between the two sides in West London.

Such is the paucity of success for the Scots in this fixture that an entire generation of Scottish rugby fans have grown up knowing nothing other than defeat.

The last time Scotland beat England at the home of English rugby was in 1983 and that was only the fourth time in 100 years.

It is a bitter pill to swallow for the Scots, as they trail England only 40 wins to 64 since the two started playing rugby against each other for the Calcutta Cup in 1879.

Before the Six Nations began, Scotland were being talked up as dark horses after victories against South Africa and Argentina.

Andy Robinson, the Scotland coach, was filmed in a seething rage during the opening fixtures against France, Wales and Ireland, which all ended in defeat.

In contrast, Martin Johnson, the England head coach, has assembled a fighting force which believe they can now make a meaningful assault on the Rugby World Cup.

When asked on Wednesday whether England could replicate their success at the 2003 World Cup Ben Youngs was bullish. "Definitely," the scrum-half said. "We have moved forward so much since last year. Come World Cup time we will definitely be in the best place to put ourselves in with a chance of winning it."

Johnson has guided his side to six victories in their last eight encounters and has used just 24 players in the three wins over Wales, Italy and France.

Johnson has had to manage his squad as injuries to Lewis Moody, Tom Croft, Courtney Lawes, Riki Flutey, Andrew Sheridan and Simon Shaw, have deprived him of key personnel. With those six players available, Johnson has at his disposal 30 players who could feasibly make up his squad for the World Cup in New Zealand.

This will be the first time that Robinson has returned to Twickenham since being sacked as the England coach in 2006. It is all there on Sunday; the history, the enmity, the bitterness and the requirement to lay down a marker ahead of the World Cup.