Scotland v England preview

Andy Farrell admits England will step into the unknown when they face Scotland on a parasite-infested Murrayfield pitch on Saturday.

The poor state of the playing surface has been strongly condemned and with rain forecast to start three hours before the RBS 6 Nations clash kicks off, it is sure to deteriorate further.

England visited Murrayfield on Friday afternoon for the traditional eve-of-match captain's run and Farrell later expressed his misgivings over the pitch.

"We knew it wouldn't be the best. It was a cutting up a little bit while we were training," the backs coach said.

"Who knows what will happen? It could teem it down and the pitch would be very bad anyway. It's the same for both sides.

"It really doesn't bother us. We're ready for any type of game."

Victory is essential if England are to retain any hope of rescuing their title bid following last weekend's agonising 26-24 defeat by France.

Comfort has been taken from a performance worthy of victory in Paris and while England's hopes of developing their attacking game are likely to be foiled by the weather, Farrell insists his players are eager to lock horns with the Scots.

"We want to build on what we started against France. The boys are pretty excited about this one," he said.

"We played at a hectic pace in Paris. We were the aggressors of that and the ones pushing the pace. It was the most hectic game of the opening round.

"The players are excited about that and that's the standard we want to repeat.

"Now we need to tidy up a few bits of detail where we can get better and put that into consideration."


Scotland: S Hogg (Glasgow); T Seymour (Glasgow), A Dunbar (Glasgow), M Scott (Edinburgh), S Lamont (Glasgow), D Weir (Glasgow), G Laidlaw (Edinburgh, capt); R Grant (Glasgow), R Ford (Edinburgh), M Low (Glasgow), T Swinson (Glasgow), J Hamilton (Montpellier), R Wilson (Glasgow), C Fusaro (Glasgow), D Denton (Edinburgh).

Replacements: S Lawson (Newcastle Falcons), A Dickinson (Edinburgh), G Cross (Edinburgh), J Gray (Glasgow), J Beattie (Montpellier), C Cusiter (Glasgow), D Taylor (Saracens), M Evans (Castres).

England: M Brown (Harlequins); J Nowell (Exeter), L Burrell (Northampton), B Twelvetrees (Gloucester), J May (Gloucester); O Farrell (Saracens), D Care (Harlequins); J Marler (Harlequins), D Hartley (Northampton), D Cole (Leicester), J Launchbury (Wasps), C Lawes (Northampton), T Wood (Northampton), C Robshaw (Harlequins), B Vunipola (Saracens).

Replacements: T Youngs (Leicester), M Vunipola (Saracens), H Thomas (Sale), D Attwood (Bath), B Morgan (Gloucester), L Dickson (Northampton), B Barritt (Saracens), A Goode (Saracens).