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Lawes believes England have target on their backs ahead of Scotland showdown

Courtney Lawes insists England's RBS 6 Nations rivals are raising their games against the champions in search of the competition's prized scalp.

The Grand Slam defence resumes against Scotland at Twickenham on Saturday when a record-equalling 18th successive Test victory will be at stake, with the trip to Dublin on March 18 shaping up to be a title decider.

Late fightbacks were needed to dispatch France and Wales, while the victory over Italy was the worst performance of Eddie Jones' reign, but Lawes believes criticism of England's performances are misjudged.

"We've got a massive target on our backs and teams are stepping up because they really want to beat us. We prepare for that and have got to deal with it," the Northampton second row said.

"France came hard and we had to rally, Wales too, and Italy came with their strategy.

"Everyone is saying we have not played well and this and that, but people are upping their games against us, really turning up.

"That gives us massive confidence. Scotland are a massive test and we have to focus on rising to that.

"Scotland are very confident. They beat Wales and lost to France before that, but they still feel they're on a roll.

"They're coming to Twickenham full of confidence. They have a big, physical pack and they've got a good, pretty clinical backline.

"We know what we're up against and we're going to train how's best for us to beat that."


From Belfast Telegraph