Scotland vs England Rugby Prediction: Will the Thistle Dominate the Red Rose?

Banner with the Scottish and English flags, for the Six Nations.
TournamentSix Nations
TimetableSaturday 5th of February at 16:15 GMT
PredictionEngland to Win
OddsEngland to Win @ 1.36
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The second match of the Six Nations Championship 2022, and the oldest international Rugby test in the world, will take place on the 5th of February at the BT Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh. Many pundits have already chalked this game up to an easy win for England, but is it rash to be so dismissive of a fervent Scottish XV? Read on for my full analysis.

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The Calcutta Cup

The Calcutta Cup is an ancient prize, which dates back to the late 19th century. When the Calcutta Rugby Club disbanded in 1878, the club decided to preserve their memory by melting down the silver rupees left in the club's accounts in order to forge the Calcutta Cup. The trophy itself is incredibly ornate compared to most other sports trophies, embellished with three handles, styled as cobras, with an elephant on top.

In 1879, a year after the cup was created, the RFU and the SRU decided that an England vs Scotland international test should be celebrated by winning the Calcutta Cup. The cup has been played for ever since. Today, the cup is kept in a museum due to its fragile state - somewhat due to an infamous incident involving Dean Richards (England) and John Jeffrey (Scotland) when they allegedly kicked the cup down Princess Street in Edinburgh. Both Scotland and England now have replicas.

The Calcutta Cup has been played for a total of 126 times, and Scotland are the current holders.

Background

Scotland have yet to win the Six Nations Championship, whilst England have won the Six Nations Championship seven times. The dreaded Wooden Spoon of the Six Nations has also been awarded to Scotland four times, with England yet to win the last-place award. Scotland have had a decent fairing in the Calcutta Cup, winning 41 times and drawing on 19 occasions; this compared to 71 wins for the men in white and red. Due to the 30-win difference between the two sides, a lot of pundits think this will be another walk-over for England, but I think they are quick to forget last year's results: Scotland managed to finish above their rivals with three wins and two losses, compared to two wins and three losses from England - including an 11-6 victory for the Scots. With this in mind, I think it's going to be a much closer contest than most think.

Recent Results

The Autumn Internationals proved a good litmus test for recent form, going into this year's Six Nations. Both teams had impressive outings, as can be seen in the tables below:

Scotland Results Autumn Internationals

DateTeamsLocationScoreWinner
20th November 2021Scotland vs JapanBT Murrayfield, Edinburgh29-20Scotland
13th November 2021Scotland vs South AfricaBT Murrayfield, Edinburgh15-30South Africa
7th November 2021Scotland vs AustraliaBT Murrayfield, Edinburgh15-13Scotland
30th October 2021Scotland vs TongaBT Murrayfield, Edinburgh60-14Scotland

England Results Autumn Internationals

DateTeamsLocationScoreWinner
20th November 2021England vs South AfricaTwickenham, London27-26England
13th November 2021England vs AustraliaTwickenham, London32-15England
6th November 2021England vs TongaTwickenham, London69-3England

Analysis of the Autumn Internationals Results

Side by side, both teams had fantastic campaigns: Scotland managed three wins out of four, with their best performance coming against the Aussies; England romped home with a clean sweep of three for three, besting current World Cup holders South Africa by a single point, coming from a penalty in the last 15 seconds of the match.

Given the latter's undefeated results from the Autumn Internationals, most pundits could make a stronger case for that walk-over I mentioned. I would argue that a win for England seems a little more likely on this basis, but I am not ruling out the Scots and a close affair at this stage.

Squad Lists

Before any major competition, the squads of all teams are heavily scrutinised, with many pundits praising or writing off Head Coaches even before the starting whistle. Picking the right squad is of vital importance. Do you aim for short-term victory now or look to develop for the future?

Looking at the squads can give crucial insight into the outcome of a game, ahead of time, so let's reveal whom will be donning the colours come kick-off.

Scotland Squad Six Nations 2022

Scotland are looking to field a squad with total caps of 804. Keens fans of the boys in navy blue will be happy to see famous faces such as Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell in the line-up as well as exciting emerging talents in the forms of Andy Christie and Rory Darge. Let's take a look at the full complement below:

Forwards

PlayerPositionClub TeamNumber of Caps
Jonny GraySecond RowExeter Chiefs64 caps
Grant GilchristSecond RowEdinburgh Rugby48 caps
Hamish WatsonFlankerEdinburgh Rugby45 caps
Stuart McInallyHooker/FlankerEdinburgh Rugby43 caps
Zander FagersonPropGlasgow Warriors42 caps
Jamie RitchieFlankerEdinburgh Rugby31 caps
WP NelPropEdinburgh Rugby43 caps
Jamie BhattiPropGlasgow Warriors22 caps
Scott CummingsSecond RowGlasgow Warriors21 caps
George TurnerHookerGlasgow Warriors20 caps
Matt FagersonFlanker/Number 8Glasgow Warriors17 caps
Rory SutherlandPropWorcester Warriors16 caps
Sam SkinnerSecond Row/Flanker/Number 8Exeter Chiefs15 caps
Magnus BradburyFlanker/Number 8Edinburgh Rugby14 caps
Nick HainingFlanker/Number 8Edinburgh Rugby10 caps
Pierre SchoemanPropEdinburgh Rugby4 caps
Jamie HodgsonSecond RowEdinburgh Rugby3 caps
Ewan AshmanHookerSale Sharks2 caps
Josh BaylissFlanker/Number 8Bath Rugby2 caps
Javan SebastianPropScarlets1 cap
Andy ChristieFlanker/Number 8SaracensUncapped
Rory DargeFlankerGlasgow WarriorsUncapped

Backs

PlayerPositionClub TeamNumber of Caps
Stuart Hogg (C)Full-backExeter Chiefs88 caps
Finn RussellFly-halfRacing 9258 caps
Ali PriceScrum-halfGlasgow Warriors46 caps
Chris HarrisCentreGloucester Rugby31 caps
Blair KinghornFull-back/Wing/Fly-halfEdinburgh Rugby28 caps
Darcy GrahamWing/Full-backEdinburgh Rugby22 caps
Mark BennettCentreEdinburgh Rugby22 caps
Sam JohnsonCentreGlasgow Warriors21 caps
Duhan van der MerweWingWorcester Warriors13 caps
Rory HutchinsonCentre/Full-backNorthampton Saints5 caps
Kyle SteynCentre/WingGlasgow Warriors3 caps
Rufus McLeanWing/Full-backGlasgow Warriors2 caps
Cameron RedpathCentreBath Rugby1 cap
Sione TuipulotuCentre/WingGlasgow Warriors1 cap
Ben VellacottScrum-halfEdinburgh RugbyUncapped
Ben WhiteScrum-halfLondon IrishUncapped
Kyle RoweWingLondon IrishUncapped

England Squad Six Nations 2022

With a combined total of 895 caps - 91 more than the Scottish team - England are looking to make up for their humiliating display in the 2021 Six Nations. England also have quite a mix of experienced players and youngsters in the likes of Joe Marler, Owen Farrell, Alfie Barbeary, and Ollie Chessum. Given Eddie Jones's proclivity for unconventional player selection, England fans will surely have something intriguing to look out for. The full squad is as follows:

Forwards

PlayerPositionClub TeamNumber of Caps
Courtney LawesSecond Row/Flanker/Number 8Northampton Saints90 caps
Joe MarlerPropHarlequins74 caps
Jamie GeorgeHookerSaracens61 caps
Maro ItojeSecond RowSaracens51 caps
Kyle SincklerPropBristol Bears47 caps
Tom CurryFlanker/Number 8Sale Sharks36 caps
Ellis GengePropLeicester Tigers31 caps
Luke Cowan-DickieProp/HookerExeter Chiefs31 caps
Charlie EwelsSecond RowBath Rugby26 caps
Will StuartPropBath Rugby15 caps
Jonny HillSecond RowExeter Chiefs12 caps
Lewis LudlamFlankerNorthampton Saints10 caps
Sam SimmondsFlanker/Number 8Exeter Chiefs9 caps
Jamie BlamireHookerNewcastle Falcons5 caps
Alex DombrandtNumber 8Harlequins4 caps
Bevan RoddPropSale Sharks2 caps
Joe HeyesPropLeicester Tigers2 caps
Alfie BarbearyFlanker/Number 8WaspsUncapped
Ollie ChessumSecond Row/Flanker/Number 8Leicester TigersUncapped

Backs

PlayerPositionClub TeamNumber of Caps
Ben YoungsScrum-halfLeicester Tigers112 caps
Owen FarrellFly-halfSaracens94 caps
Jonny MayWingGloucester Rugby69 caps
Henry SladeCentre/Fly-half/Full-backExeter Chiefs43 caps
Jack NowellWing/Full-back/CentreExeter Chiefs34 caps
Max MalinsFly-half/Full-backSaracens10 caps
Joe Marchant CentreHarlequins7 caps
Freddie StewardFull-backLeicester Tigers5 caps
George FurbankFull-backNorthampton Saints5 caps
Marcus SmithFly-halfHarlequins5 caps
Harry RandallScrum-halfBristol Bears2 caps
Raffi QuirkeScrum-halfSale Sharks2 caps
Mark AtkinsonCentreGloucester Rugby1 cap
Luke NorthmoreCentreHarlequinsUncapped
Ollie Hassell-CollinsWingLondon IrishUncapped
Orlando BaileyFly-half/Full-backBath RugbyUncapped
Tommy FreemanFull-backNorth SaintsUncapped

Analysis

England appear to have the edge in experience, with 895 total caps to 804, but both teams are fielding new, uncapped players as they look to develop for the Rugby World Cup 2023. Ultimately, I think it will come down to the selection of key positions and players - especially with the debate for England on whether fresh-faced Marcus Smith should start ahead of veteran fly-half Owen Farrell, who is recently back from injury.

How do I think this affect the overall result, though? Read on to find out who I'm picking as my winner.

Scotland vs England Winner: Who Will Raise the Calcutta Cup?

After a fantastic run in the Autumn Internationals, even sticking the knife into South Africa as revenge for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, I've got to give it to England. This won't be the walk-over that fans are expecting, however. The game is going to be hard fought and gritty. Key changes after the half will be necessary to ensure a Scottish team prepared to scrap for every inch of grass doesn't lead to a fatigued XV giving away silly penalties. Nevertheless, Eddie Jones has all of the tools he needs to get the job done, so it is his game to lose.

Overall, I may be predicting a disappointing result for the home fans, but it's still going to be a cracking day of rugby at Murrayfield!

England to Win