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Nic Ladds 12th Mar 2010 - 19:46

England to once again meet their maker at Murrayfield

Scotland coach Andy Robinson will be relishing the visit of his former side England to Murrayfield as his team aim to gain their first win of this Six Nations campaign and record their third straight win against the English at Murrayfield.

Martin Johnson will be feeling the pressure now after a defeat to Ireland and a woeful performance against Italy, he would love nothing more than for England to justify their 8/15 price tag and destroy the Scots in the manner of odds on favourites.

He may have to keep dreaming though as while 11/8 Scotland haven't won yet, they should have beaten Wales but for bizarre circumstances and came inches from scoring twice in Rome and they threatened just as much as England did against the Azzuri.

Now back on home turf at the fortress that is Murrayfield, Robinson will have his players fired up for this game, in particular England will need to be on their guard to cope with the much heralded Scottish back row of John Barclay, Johnnie Beattie and Kelly Brown.

Johnson meanwhile continues to feed the critics by recalling old hand Joe Worsley and retaining Delon Armitage at full back and Ugo Monye on the wing when the likes of Ben Foden and Chris Ashton are begging to be given their chance and he will be hoping England can grind out a victory in their usual, frustrating manner.

Some punters may look at the handicap line and see England giving up only four points at 10/11 and think Christmas has come early due to the current runs of the two sides, regardless of how they are perceived to be playing, but at a venue where they so often come a cropper, this handicap looks about right.

So, where will the tries come from? England haven't scored at Murrayfield since 2004 and the home side are hardly points machines at the best of times so wouldn't put anyone off no scorers at 16/1.

For the more optimistic, Sean Lamont and Max Evans are on the wings and are both 14/1 to cross the line first, while Simon Danielli has often looked threatening and is also 14/1 and you can have one of the back row boys, Beattie, Barclay or Brown at 22/1, 25/1 and 28/1 respectively.

England should carry the bigger threat but have often struggled to break teams down, especially away from home and Australia will testify just how tough it can be to get past Scotland, but Mark Cueto and Ugo Monye lead the betting at 10/1 and 11/1 respectively, while Matthew Tait who has looked bright is 14/1 and at a bigger price, James Haskell is 22/1 to open the scoring and add to his two tries in the opening game.

A trend identified before the tournament is how England often start brightly only to fade and struggle later on, so getting on the first half being the highest scoring at even money looks a fair bet, as does England -2 on the first half handicap at 10/11.

Man for man, England should have the beating of Scotland for sure but the way they have been playing, at the prices the home side look the better back at 11/8 as it would take a brave man to have odds on about this England team playing away from HQ.

If Johnson can get a win and unbelievably have his side still in with a shot at the title then he will feel vindicated in his team selection and it may give Johnny Wilkinson an extra year or so to play on and slow up England's back line and a Scottish win could actually be the best thing that has happened to English rugby for some time.

Scotland - 11/8
No try scorer -16/1



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