Playing out the historic 150th anniversary Calcutta Cup clash between Scotland and England in front of no fans will be “gutting”, Hamish Watson has admitted.
The 2021 Six Nations kicks off on Saturday in the midst of Covid-19 lockdowns across the competing countries, meaning spectators cannot attend games.
Scotland open the championship at Twickenham in a match marking one and a half centuries since the first ever rugby international was held in Edinburgh.
Flanker Hamish Watson, a veteran of Calcutta Cup clashes, said it will take some shine off the occasion.
The Edinburgh forward said: “It is a bit gutting but it is completely out of our control.
“I imagine a lot of fans would have loved to have been there but they will all be watching from home.
“We have to go down there for this huge game – the 150th anniversary – and the extra hype that comes with that.
“We know what a tough year it has been for our fans and I suppose every game is a chance for us to lift the nation.
“But definitely this game more than most has something special about it.
“We know if we can get a result at the weekend that would be a boost to all the fans.”
Watson played in the previous two visits to face England in London – both memorable for contrasting reasons.
Scotland overturned a 31 point deficit in to draw 38-38 in 2019, while two years previous England routed the visitors 61-21.
Watson, who is expected to win his 37th cap on Saturday, said the team must keep both performances in mind when preparing for what awaits this weekend.
The 29-year-old said: “It is good knowing how well we played in that second half [in 2019] and knowing that we can do that against a team like England away from home.
“Then again I was involved in the 2017 game so we know that you have to be ‘on it’.
“When you look at both those games it shows that you have to start well – that’s the key.
“Away from home you have to start well to give yourself the best chance of winning.”