Six Nations: England's 'underdogs' ready for Scotland, says Rowntree

RBS Six Nations: Scotland v England

Venue:
Murrayfield
Date:
4 February
Kick-off:
1700 GMT
Coverage:
Live on BBC TV, HD, Red Button, BBC Radio 5 live and online

England's new-look side can restore the team's reputation after last year's World Cup failure, assistant coach Graham Rowntree has said.

And Rowntree says Scotland should not underestimate England in Saturday's Six Nations opener at Murrayfield.

"We have not got as much experience as previous teams but these guys are good enough," said Rowntree.

"We're underdogs in experience. No-one expects us to do well. We will have something to say about that."

England are expected to field three new caps and name two other players who have only one cap apiece, including new captain Chris Robshaw.

But Rowntree - the only member of the coaching set-up that lost to France at the quarter-final stage in New Zealand to be retained by England's interim coach Stuart Lancaster. - says he has been impressed by the spirit in the camp.

"We reached a bit of a low as a national team but we dropped that within two days of being together," said Rowntree. "If you look in our dressing room, there is plenty of passion and Englishness.

"What has impressed me has been the energy and eagerness to get us up and running again.

"Scotland always save a passion up for us," he said. "Going up there, given where we have been, the unspeakable past, they will be licking their lips. We will be expecting that."

Hooker Dylan Hartley believes the fact England are making a fresh start with a new-look team will help them in the Six Nations.

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Robshaw 'excited' by England captaincy

"It's a new challenge," he said. "No-one in here can say they have won the World Cup - no-one in here can say they have won a Grand Slam. Only a few have won the Six Nations."

But he accepts that a win at Murrayfield, with Scotland also seeking revenge for their last-gasp defeat to England in the World Cup, is a tough proposition.

"We haven't won there in eight years - you can get into an arm wrestle with the Scots," he said. The atmosphere is always good - the bagpipes, smoke, all the singing.

"Those are the things you enjoy as a player. I am excited for it. I don't get intimidated - I enjoy it."

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