I have heard from some of the lads in the England camp this week and, to a man, they say there is a good environment and culture being built.
Training has been going well, there is a fresh approach to what is being done and there is a good deal of trust among staff and players already.
New head coach Stuart Lancaster has picked a team on form and there will be a lot of boys in that side who have something to prove when they run out against Scotland at Murrayfield.
It’s a real cliché but if you start the Six Nations well, you are in with a shout at winning it.
If England can win in Edinburgh, you would back them to beat Italy the following weekend.
It’s one hell of a task to win at Murrayfield.
And the build up to the game has been made even tastier by Scotland coach Andy Robinson calling England “arrogant”.
I don’t know why he felt it necessary to say that but the England boys will keep their counsel and do their talking on the pitch.
From what I hear, England want to play a fast and free-flowing game at high tempo and , if the weather is ok, they have one of the best back threes in world rugby in Chris Ashton, Ben Foden and David Strettle.
If it rains or snows, Charlie Hodgson is one of the most tactically astute fly-halves in the world. He knows exactly what to do and when to do it.
And with two fellow Sarries on his outside in Owen Farrell and Brad Barritt, he will know how to use his weapons.
Not many people know too much about Barritt but he is held in very high regard in Durban, where he hails from. When I had a six-month stint at the Sharks in the Super 15s, guys who knew him like John Smit and Ryan Kankowski had loads of good things to say about him – and they know their rugby.
If England can deal with the hostility towards them, they should be fine.
I sat on the bench for England up there a few years ago and the locals had abused us all week. They like to bring out all that ‘Braveheart’ stuff don’t they?
I don’t know many English people who dislike the Scots – but I am not sure the feeling is mutual the other way around.
Oh well. There is only one way to quiet them down.
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