Finn Russell: Clash with England 'massive' but Six Nations points are priority

The Scotland number ten has reflected on the rivalry on the eve of the game.

Finn Russell: Clash with England ‘massive’ but Six Nations points are priority SNS Group

Scotland co-captain Finn Russell says their recent dominance over England will count for nothing when the sides meet in the Six Nations tomorrow.

The Calcutta Cup clash at Murrayfield on Saturday is the latest chapter in their rivalry and Scotland go into the game as holders, but the team is also looking to take a valuable Six Nations victory after the blow of their controversial loss to France last time out.

Russell has been at the heart of his nation’s run of just one defeat in the last seven meetings of rugby’s oldest rivals. While taking nothing away from the significance of the game historically, he feels that the changed nature of its value to Scotland right now shows how the team has progressed.

“I think it’s always going to be one of the biggest games but in the past we hadn’t really won many times against England and in the recent four, five, six years we have been more successful,” Russell said.

“I think going back to my first games for Scotland it was massive and one of the biggest games in the calendar.

“Now, we’ve got to a great position where they are all kind of similar. We’re not satisfied just beating one or two teams in this competition.

“It is still a massive game, with all the history behind it, but for us we’ve got to approach it as just another game and another chance to get a victory.

“So I think there is a lot behind it but we’ve spoken this week about singling this game out as we do the other ones and just preparing as best we can for the game in front of us.”

Asked to pinpoint a moment when that feeling changed for the national team, the co-captain didn’t recognise a particular game but felt that a gradual shift of balance had taken place over time.

“I think a lot has changed in sport and you see teams go through highs and go through lows,” he said. “I think with us and England we’ve been progressing and they’ve been great but in the past few years maybe not as good as they can be.

“I think the World Cup showed  how good they can be, getting to the semi-finals.

“Obviously they have won their first two games of this campaign so they are getting back to where they should be. They are one of the best teams in the world.

“Maybe we’ve had the rub of the green in the last few years but it can change so quickly in sport.

“We can’t look back at the last few games and think it has turned in our favour. Every time we play England, it is always a huge challenge and we have got to be at our best to have a chance to beat them.”

After the win in Cardiff and heart-breaking defeat to France, the match will be pivotal the Six Nations campaign and Russell says a positive outcome is essential to maintain progress.

“To get us back on track, a victory is the most important thing for us,” he said. “You never know what will happen with other results but I think last few years we’ve won three out of five games and we want to do more than that.

“That means winning the next three games, which is no easy feat, but that is our expectation and out goal as a team, to keep progressing year on year.

“After the disappointment against France, we need to do our best to beat England tomorrow and build on that in the last two games.

“In terms of the campaign, tomorrow is a massive game for us to take a step forward and build off a defeat.”

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