Tomorrow sees the latest instalment of one of history’s most enduring rivalries when Scotland and England take to the field at Murrayfield to contest the 2010 Calcutta cup.
It’s been 20 years since the two sides collided in the famous 1990 Grand Slam decider, won by the Scots after their inspiring ‘walk to victory’ from the tunnel. Sadly the only trophy now remaining to Scotland in this competition is the Calcutta cup; three defeats at the hands of France, Wales and Italy have seen to that.
England have more to play for, with a theoretical championship still possible. However stuttering wins against Wales and Italy were followed by a loss at the hands of Ireland at Twickenham and they have the look of a side searching for inspiration.
So, tomorrows contest may lack the high stakes of the past but it still has much to offer with the added spice in the shape of Englishman Andy Robinson. The former England coach is now coach of Scotland and it is the view of many that Robinson was harshly treated by the English RFU.
Robinson has had an erratic start to his Scotland campaign with a historic win over Australia in the autumn internationals being followed by defeat at the hands of Argentina. His six nations games thus far have seen Scotland show marked progress in terms of their rugby play but with nothing to show for it having lost all three games – the Welsh result was particularly hard to take. A win tomorrow would at least give Robinson the comfort of having points on the board and would set the team up for their encounter with Ireland as they seek to avoid the wooden spoon.
England’s talisman Jonny Wilkinson has appeared out of sorts, missing kicks that previously he would have slotted over without a thought. Martin Johnston’s team, like Scotland, are looking to build for the forthcoming world cup. The Calcutta cup clash will provide an opportunity to perform in a high octane arena surrounded by passionate fans bellowing at the top of their voice.
So, the scene is set for another classic encounter; Scotland versus England (just saying it makes the hairs stand up!!). Will Robinson the ‘Redcoat’ turned ‘Turncoat’ send them homeward tae think again or will Martin Johnston’s sweet chariot charge around the Murrayfield Coliseum to victory?
Who knows; one thing’s for sure though – it promises to be a fantastic day of excitement and passion with the odd, as the late Bill MacLaren would say, “difference of opinion” and occasional “healthy exchange of views” thrown in for good measure.