April 21, 2024

Ben Earl: England is equipped to deal with 'anything thrown at us'

The two rivals face off in the third round of the Guinness Six Nations, with hosts Gregor Townsend aiming to continue their recent dominance in a match that has seen three successive wins.

Adding to the challenge of facing one of the most talented teams in Scottish history is the hostile atmosphere that awaits England at Murrayfield.

Murrayfield is one of the most hostile stadiums for England to play in (Steve Welsh/PA)

England fly-half George Ford was targeted in the tunnel by Ryan Wilson in 2018, sparking a ruckus when Owen Farrell intervened, and the team bus is usually stopped by bagpipes.

Other methods used in the past to unsettle the “old enemy” include turning off the hot water in the dressing room and disrupting warm-ups by performers.

England are on alert for any inconvenience in the build-up to the match and on the pitch itself, but number eight Ben Earl is backing his side to take any Scottish machinations into their stride.

“There's definitely resilience in us,” said Earle, who is set to continue in the back row when Steve Borthwick names his team on Thursday afternoon.

“There's a good group of experienced players on this team now – Jimmy (George), George Ford, Joe Marler, Dan Cole, Ellis Genge. These guys are all different personalities, but they've all seen curveballs in the past.

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“Then you also have a group of players who may not have played a huge amount of Test rugby but have played a lot of club rugby in some great games and at some great grounds.

“So, I would say that the group, in terms of expectations, is probably as prepared as anyone to deal with whatever is thrown at us.

“You have to love it. If you don't love it, you're playing the wrong sport at the wrong level. I absolutely love it.”

“We definitely talked about the quality of Scotland, what a good team they have, how good they are at home.

“It's a tough place to play and we've certainly touched on the trend of results over the last three or four years.

“But in terms of motivating factors, that's one of the many factors we have. We know the journey we're on as a team, in terms of what we're trying to grow and develop into. That's as motivating as playing with these guys.”