British & Irish Lions legend Jim Telfer calls for cool heads if Scotland are to pull off Six Nations win over England


SCOTLAND rugby legend Jim Telfer has called for cool heads in the red-hot atmosphere of the Calcutta Cup clash if the nation are to savour a famous victory over England.

Scotland have not beaten the Auld Enemy since 2008 and not scored a try on home soil against their bitter rivals in an incredible 14 years.

England, ranked second in the world behind only the All Blacks, are favourites for the Six Nations championship and a Grand Slam, and have lost just once in their last 26 Test matches.

Telfer admits it would be a massive scalp if Gregor Townsend’s side were to win – and the former Scotland and British and Irish Lions coach insists success will be dependent on not allowing the heart to rule the head in the heat of the battle.

(Pic: Duncan Collin)

Last year, hooker Fraser Brown was sin-binned after just two minutes and England romped to a crushing 61-21 triumph – their highest score in the fixture and their biggest winning margin against Scotland.

Telfer said: “You have to take the emotion out of the game and I would be concentrating on the players getting their individual skills right, getting their set-piece right and emphasising the importance of their individual jobs.

“Two or three minutes before going out, I would be wanting Greig Laidlaw to be talking, Finn Russell to be talking, John Barclay to be talking.

I did my fire and brimstone on the morning of a game. There’s enough players banging their heads off the walls to not have to do that sort of thing.

“Nowadays, the players have to concentrate on their own game and what they’re wanting to do, and if they get all befuddled by running about and knocking people about it’s not going to work.


“Last year at Twickenham we lost a player, Fraser Brown, in the first two or three minutes, which upset us. I’m not saying it was the reason Scotland were beaten but for half an hour Scotland were completely out of the game.

“So, you don’t want players to be going so berserk that they don’t know what’s going on.”

Although Scotland’s record against England is poor, they have only been beaten once – by the All Blacks – in their last nine home matches.

And Telfer wants to see a repeat of the running rugby that hammered Australia in the autumn and came so close to beating New Zealand.

He added on The Offload podcast: “We must be able to impose our game on England, and play the way we did against the All Blacks.

“They didn’t think about the reputation of the All Blacks, or the Aussies, they just went out and played their own game.

“They have to be inventive, they have to have a high-tempo right from the start, and Scotland have to get in amongst them and get on the front foot as much as possible.”