Guinness Six Nations: Scotland v England

Venue: Murrayfield, Edinburgh Date: Saturday, 24 February Kick-off: 16:45 GMT

Coverage: Watch live on BBC One, iPlayer and online from 16:00 GMT, listen to live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Radio Scotland; live text and video clips on the BBC Sport website and app.

Scotland and England will compete in the 130th edition of the Calcutta Cup on Saturday and the rivalry is as competitive as ever.

Will Scotland make it four wins in a row over England? Or will Steve Borthwick’s side win to keep alive their Grand Slam challenge?

It’s a crucial match for both sides in this season’s Six Nations.

Where might the game be won or lost?

Scotland have found a way to win

Gregor Townsend’s side have held the Calcutta Cup since beating England at Twickenham in 2021. This upturn in fortunes came after England’s nine wins on the bounce from 2009-2017.

The new competitiveness has seen the fixture come down to one score in each of the past five meetings, with the 2019 match finishing in a compelling 38-38 draw.

Scotland won their last game at Murrayfield against England in 2022 by three points, and won by six points at Twickenham in 2023.

The winner on Saturday is likely to again come down to small margins.

“Scotland are able to produce those moments of individual brilliance on a more consistent basis and the rest of their game is more solid,” former Scotland captain John Barclay told BBC Radio 5 Live.

Described by Townsend as Scotland’s “most important game of the season,” home advantage also gives the hosts an extra edge on Saturday.

“It’s history. It’s emotion,” said Townsend. “We’ve seen the impact this game has on Scottish supporters when we do manage to get a victory. That’ll drive us on Saturday.”

But Ben Earl said England were ready to handle the Murrayfield atmosphere: “You have to love it. If you don’t love it, then you’re playing the wrong sport at the wrong level. I absolutely love it.”

Can England stop Van der Merwe?

In a tense fixture last year at Twickenham, Duhan van der Merwe stepped up as Scotland’s hero.

The powerful winger showed his pace and sharp footwork to score a sensational solo try before using his size and strength to bulldoze his way over for a vital second-half score.

South Africa’s World Cup-winning assistant coach Felix Jones has been brought in to improve England’s defence.

One part of the blitz system he has implemented involves the wingers rushing off their flanks to shut down attacks, which was evident in the closing stages in the victory over Wales.

But will that work against Scotland?

“Finn Russell has the full set of tricks to expose them,” Barclay added.

Being able to cover ground quickly is essential and the surprise selection of full-back George Furbank, who is more agile than Freddie Steward, could help shut off anything Russell conjures to try to beat the press.

System errors have also occurred in the opening two rounds and Van der Merwe will only need half a chance to add to his two tries so far this Six Nations.

Attacking or kicking rugby?

Since taking over as Scotland head coach in 2017, Townsend has turned his side into one of the most exciting nations for attacking rugby.

This style has not only entertained but also seen them get the better of England in recent years.

But Scotland failed to reach the knockout stages of the last two World Cups and they are yet to win a Six Nations title.

England head coach Steve Borthwick has opted for a pragmatic kicking game and stat-driven approach for his first year of Test rugby – the opposite philosophy to Townsend.

Evolution in England’s gameplan has been evident during their opening two matches, although they resorted to old ways to close out their win over Wales.

“If they perfect or get nearer where they want to be with this gameplan I think the potential of this England team is far greater,” former England wing Ugo Moyne told Rugby Union Daily.

Winning ugly does not win many popularity points. Eight wins from their last nine games, however, shows it is working for Borthwick.

But the “attack-minded selection” of playmaker Furbank, and the return of centre Ollie Lawrence to “knock down some doors”, could point to a new direction.

“I think Scotland kicked more than 1500 metres against France, which is one of the highest in Test rugby recorded,” Borthwick pointed out, showing how stats some times reveal surprises.

Russell v Ford

The maverick against the mastermind.

Fly-half Russell is the heartbeat of Scotland’s attack and they showcased exactly how unstoppable they can be in attack in their opening game against Wales, when they scored 27 points without reply in 43 minutes.

England’s George Ford also had a notable impact against Wales, with a well-measured 50-22 late in the game giving his side vital field position and enabling him to slot the match-winning penalty.

The 30-year-old brings less flair in attack than Russell, but can be equally effective through his intelligent kicking game.

“They are different players, but right at the sharp end of being elite international rugby players,” England assistant coach Richard Wigglesworth said.

Pundit predictions – Scotland favourites

Former Wales fly-half Jonathan Davies, speaking on Six Nations Rugby Special: “Scotland don’t need to worry about England. They have beaten them a few times now.”

Barclay, speaking on 5 Live: “Scotland by nine points.”

Former England captain Matt Dawson on BBC Scotland Rugby Podcast: “If you can create that aura around you, which I do believe Scotland are making massive strides towards, it’s very difficult to go into their backyard and win.”