Greig Laidlaw and Dylan Hartley
Laidlaw and Hartley do battle for the Calcutta Cup as the curtain raises on the Six Nations Getty Images

Scotland and England give the Six Nations lift off on the opening weekend of the championship at Murrayfield.

Where to watch

Scotland vs England kicks off at 4:50pm GMT on Saturday 6 February. Live coverage is available on BBC One HD and BBC Radio 5 Live.


Eddie Jones begins his tenure as England coach with a Calcutta Cup meeting with Scotland on the opening weekend of the Six Nations at Murrayfield. The Australian coach has only been in official charge of the team for just over two months since succeeding Stuart Lancaster, but there is no honeymoon period for the 56-year old.

The new regime has a brand new captain in the form of Dylan Hartley, replacing Chris Robshaw after England's disastrous pool-stage exit at the World Cup in 2015. The controversial New Zealand-born hooker has served six separate bans for on-field indiscretions and it is yet to be seen whether he can deal with his new pressure-filled role.

Despite selecting seven uncapped players in his initial Six Nations squad, Jones has refrained from blooding any of the inexperienced charges from the start in Edinburgh. Maro Itoje and Elliot Daly are the notable omissions from the matchday 23, though the pair have travelled north of the border as reserves and to drink in an international test match weekend.

Greig Laidlaw
Laidlaw will lead Scotland's attempts to recover from their World Cup heartache Getty Images

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of Jones's first team selection comes in the form of Robshaw, who moves across to the blindside of the back row. The Harlequins skipper was much criticised by Jones during the World Cup but is key to turning the team into masters of the breakdown.

Opponents Scotland arrive in the Six Nations with optimism and expectations at an all-time high. Performances at the World Cup, including the heartbreaking defeat to eventual runners-up Australia in the quarter-final, were a far cry from the monotonous showings that ended with the wooden spoon in last year's tournament.

In the pressure-cooker environment of a World Cup, Scotland finally gave their backline a lease of life and should they replicate that spirit of adventure over the next two months, they are on course to produce their best showing since finishing third in 2006. The team still have a promising backline in the form of Greig Laidlaw - who still bares the mental scares from the scandal against the Wallabies - centres Matt Scott and Mark Bennett and full-back Stuart Hogg capable of running through any team in 2016.

The key to a successful campaign for Scotland lies in how they start tournament. Just once in the six-nations format has their competition started with a victory, but an expectant Murrayfield represents their best chance to improve on that dismal record. Previously, Scotland teams have looked beaten before they have barely got going against England, with a grim playing surface, a game lacking invention and a morgue-like atmosphere usually leading to another limp defeat.

Eddie Jones
Jones wants a return to England's power game. Getty Images

But against an England team who, despite the familiar faces, will be very much uncertain in their own skin after just a handful of sessions with Jones, the hosts have the chance to make a fast start. Don't write-off them calling on the spirit of their last title success in 1999.


Scotland: 15. Stuart Hogg, 14. Sean Maitland, 13. Mark Bennett, 12. Matt Scott, 11. Tommy Seymour, 10. Finn Russell, 9. Greig Laidlaw, 1. Al Dickinson, 2. Ross Ford, 3. WP Nel, 4. Richie Gray, 5. Jonny Gray, 6. John Barclay, 7. John Hardie, 8. David Denton.

Replacements: 16. Stuart McInally, 17. Gordon Reid, 18. Zander Fagerson, 19. Tim Swinson, 20. Blair Cowan, 21. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22. Duncan Weir, 23. Duncan Taylor.

England: 15. Mike Brown, 14. Anthony Watson, 13. Jonathan Joseph, 12. Owen Farrell, 11. Jack Nowell, 10. George Ford, 9. Danny Care, 1. Joe Marler, 2. Dylan Hartley, 3. Dan Cole, 4. Joe Launchbury, 5. George Kruis, 6. Chris Robshaw, 7. James Haskell, 8. Billy Vunipola.

Replacements: 16. Jamie George, 17. Mako Vunipola, 18. Paul Hill, 19. Courtney Lawes, 20. Jack Clifford, 21. Ben Youngs, 22. Alex Goode, 23. Ollie Devoto.

What the coaches say

Vern Cotter
Cotter is under pressure to inspire another string of impressive Scotland performances Getty Images

Vern Cotter: "It will surprise him. Definitely from my perspective, it was an eye-opener. It's a very tough, passionate competition – and experience does help. It does.

"We won't know until Saturday after the game, but it won't be something he's experienced before – and we certainly want to make Murrayfield something he hasn't experienced. The intensity of it was above anything I had experienced.

"The Six Nations, if I'm comparing the two, is even harder than the World Cup because you get such limited time in preparing the team. Certainly when you are involved, it's a powerful event."

Eddie Jones: "I've selected a team to play a certain way against Scotland. We know that Murrayfield will be a tough old affair – it always is. The forecast is for rain and strong winds. Ball movement will be difficult, so we've picked what we see as the right 23.

"We are part of the Empire, mate. Australia is part of England. You know how it started? We are the convict side of the nice England gentlemen. When you look at us you're looking at the bad side of you guys.

"When I spoke to the players for the first time I said to them: 'I'm not English, but I can guarantee over the next four years I'm fully committed to making you the best player you can be and the team the best it can be. I'm 100% committed to making this team strong'."