Six Nations 2016: Jason White a benchmark for Scottish success
Last updated on .From the section Scottish Rugby
|Six Nations: Scotland v England|
|Date: Saturday, February 6 Venue: Murrayfield Stadium Kick-off: 16:50 GMT|
|Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Radio Five Live, BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Sport website|
Not many Scots in rugby union's professional era are serial winners when it comes to beating England.
Such has been the red rose dominance of the Calcutta Cup, even legends such as Andy Irvine, Gavin Hastings and David Sole only have two victories on their CVs.
Others, such as the great half-backs John Rutherford and Roy Laidlaw from the mid-1980s vintage, did manage three from their nine matches against England.
But in the Six Nations, it is a rare beast indeed who has savoured the particular sensation of victory over the Auld Enemy on more than one occasion.
Scotland hooker Ross Ford, 31, is the only member of the current squad who can make that claim - a replacement in 2006 before starting their last win in 2008 at Murrayfield.
But two players are on their own in being a part of not only those two triumphs, but Scotland's only other Six Nations win over England in 2000 - the first year of the tournament in its current format.
Record cap holder Chris Paterson is one; Jason White - debutant in 2000, captain and man-of-the-match in 2006, replacement in 2008 - is the other.
"And I beat England in the Under-19s," exclaims the now 37-year-old as he recalls his own proud history in "the biggest game of the season" and contemplates what Saturday's latest edition may bring.
"You feed off what the public perceive is the animosity and huge rivalry, and you let that add to your performance during the game," he told BBC Scotland.
"At Murrayfield the crowd will be a bit more into it, so when there is a great break from Stuart Hogg or Mark Bennett does something fantastic, the crowd get involved and that lifts the players.
"It is always a fine line. Are they able to handle the occasion and produce their biggest performances at the hardest moments when they need to? That is the key ingredient of the best teams on the world stage.
"But Scotland will look to build on what they did [in the narrow quarter-final defeat] against Australia in the World Cup, which was the best performance we have seen since Vern Cotter came in. We need to replicate that level of performance."
'Cotter a good fit for the Scottish psyche'
White, who won 77 caps as a bone-crunching blind-side flanker or lock, has observed with keen interest head coach Cotter's impact on the current Scotland side since his arrival in the summer of 2014.
Having spent the last three years of his own career working under the New Zealander at French club Clermont Ferrard between 2009 and 2012, he believes Cotter is an ideal fit for the national team.
"He is very quiet, definitely more of an introvert than an extrovert," White notes. "He is happy in his own company. He is a relatively simple man.
"If you work hard for him, you are honest and give your all for the jersey, he is a great guy to work for. On the flip side, if you muck around and don't do your job, then he lets you know.
"To me, he is a good fit for the Scottish players and the Scottish psyche. It is black and white: 'You do this, and we will be successful and give ourselves the best chance of making line breaks and scoring tries'.
"If you know that, there are no hidden mind games or ulterior motives, which from my experience coming through, doesn't fit with the Scottish player."
Three of Scotland's brightest young sparks - fly-half Finn Russell, centre Bennett and lock Jonny Gray - have yet to taste victory in a Six Nations match, let alone beat England. Three other key recruits from the southern hemisphere - flanker John Hardie, prop WP Nel and back-rower Josh Strauss - will be getting their first taste of the tournament.
Three victories = fantastic year
Having come through some "wobbly points" at the tail-end of last year's Six Nations whitewash - "the manner of the home defeat against Ireland probably shook them up a bit" - and during the World Cup - "the Samoa game was pretty shaky at times" - White believes this year will see Cotter add his stamp further.
"We will see the hallmark of his style of play, reminiscent of how Clermont played during his long spell there," he explained.
"They will be programmed as to what they do in the first two phases off set-piece, but after that, it is attack, play rugby, be adventurous. But you must be very clinical and ruthless in what you do. That is the hallmark of Vern Cotter's rugby for me."
And if Scotland are clinical and ruthless, what could be reasonably expected from this emerging crop over the coming weeks, months and years?
"On the back of Glasgow producing a championship-winning side in the Pro12, the ingredients are there," White acknowledged.
"What they are saying about the team maturing and guys coming through at the right pace, it looks like the next two or three years should see this Scotland team performing.
"What the players have taken from that Australia game we will see in this championship. The big thing is creating momentum in such a short tournament. We have to get a victory out of those first two games (home to England, away to Wales, neither of whom Scotland have beaten in their last eight meetings).
"For me we need to win our two home games against England and France, and then see what we can nick away from home. You would hope to be really competitive in Italy and suddenly if you pick up three victories, that is a fantastic year."