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Sam Hidalgo-Clyne admits Scotland are playing a guessing game over England

Published 29/01/2016

Sam Hidalgo-Clyne says Scotland can learn a thing or two about how England will play under Eddie Jones by watching his old Japan re-runs
Sam Hidalgo-Clyne says Scotland can learn a thing or two about how England will play under Eddie Jones by watching his old Japan re-runs

Scotland hope to second guess Eddie Jones' new-look England line-up after studying re-runs of his old Japan side, according to scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne.

The former Brave Blossoms coach will give the rugby public their first glimpse of his Red Rose makeover when the Auld Enemy run out at Murrayfield on February 6.

But that has left Vern Cotter and his Dark Blues squad in the difficult position of having no prior footage to study ahead of this year's RBS 6 Nations opener.

In the absence of up-to-date video, Edinburgh back Hidalgo-Clyne has confessed the Scots have been forced to dig out the old tapes of Japan under Jones in the hope it will offer up some clues on how the Australian plans to approach next week's clash.

He said: "We don't know a huge amount about England and what we can expect from them as a side since Eddie has taken over.

"But there is still a lot of the same players in the squad and we know what they can do as individuals.

"We know enough about them to know they are dangerous.

"Eddie was a brilliant coach with Japan and we have been looking at some of their games as well as some tapes of England's recent games and we will combine the two and come up with a plan to deal with them.

"It's about looking back and seeing some of the styles of play he has adopted with Japan. He likes set-piece dominance and return play.

"Now he is with England, he will obviously look at the players he has, the abilities they've got and work around that."

The Scots also hope to squeeze every last drop of knowledge out of Saracens centre Duncan Taylor ahead of their Edinburgh battle.

Taylor knows all about the methods of new England defence coach Paul Gustard from working with him at the Aviva Premiership champions. Jones made the 39-year-old's appointment one of his first key priorities after taking over the Twickenham hot seat and plans to copy the system which made Sarries the meanest rear-guard in Europe.

"I think having Duncan here helps a lot," said Hidalgo-Clyne. "He's been asked a few questions from the coaches about what he thinks will happen with England's defensive side.

"He's definitely helped us out with the analysis side and to work out a solution."

Scotland suffered a humiliating whitewash in last year's Championships but those painful memories have been cast aside following the promising World Cup display.

Hidalgo-Clyne knows, however, that the progress made at England 2015 could be washed away if Cotter's team get this year's Six Nations off to another disappointing start.

But he also reckons the class of 2016 are made of sterner stuff.

"Getting to the quarter-final of the World Cup against Australia and taking it to the wire was a big confidence booster," said the 22-year-old.

"We did a lot of good things in that game that maybe we haven't done before. Now we've worked and developed on that and become better as a squad.

"If we can get a good start and beat England at home, that would be another boost to our self-belief and put us right in the mix.

"If we were to lose, it would be a bit of a step back, so that's not really an option for us at the moment.

"We've definitely developed as a squad and our mindset has to change with it. We need to start this tournament on a high and with full confidence.

"We have a brilliant squad and England are anything but settled. We're at home so there's no reason why we can't win."

The Gunners half-back was named the Guinness Pro12's Young Player of the Year last season but that has brought its own pressures.

"You get targeted more after winning an award like that," admitted Hidalgo-Clyne. "You get recognised more by others teams when they are doing their analysis. They pick up on your traits and work out how to stop them.

"But I see it in a positive way because it is like a puzzle, you have to find a new way to beat them.

"I was struggling to do that at first but now I'm back on track."

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