England head coach Eddie Jones is adamant that Scotland will start as favourites when the two old foes do battle at Murrayfield in the opening round of Six Nations fixtures on 6 February.
Scotland have lost their last seven Six Nations matches, while their only win in 12 clashes in the competition was a narrow 21-20 victory over perennial whipping boys Italy in Rome in February 2014.
But an impressive World Cup showing, which ended with a controversial 35-34 quarter-final defeat to Australia, together with Scotland’s ability to field a settled side has left Jones insisting that England are underdogs.
“We’ve only had six training sessions together so there is an enormous pressure on Scotland to perform and not so much on us,” said Jones, who was appointed as England’s first foreign coach in November.
“The bookies might have us as favourites but Scotland have to be.”
Scotland skipper Greig Laidlaw, meanwhile, has hinted that newly-appointed England captain Dylan Hartley’s infamous rap sheet is not something his side will actively look to exploit, but admitted it could return to haunt the controversial hooker.
“We can’t go looking for that,” said Gloucester scrum-half Laidlaw. “But time will tell. No one knows what will happen in the game.
“We’ve got to look after ourselves, concentrate on ourselves and not worry about anyone else ultimately. It’s as simple as that.”