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Robshaw issues rallying call

Chris Robshaw challenged England to carve out another piece of Calcutta Cup history when they host Scotland in Saturday's RBS 6 Nations opener.

Robshaw lifted the 144-year-old trophy at Murrayfield last year as England's new brigade launched the Stuart Lancaster era with a battling 13-6 victory.

"It is always a massive occasion. We spoke in the week about the honour of playing in the oldest international rugby fixture in history," Robshaw said. "You don't get many opportunities to play special games like that."

He added: "Both sides will be fully aware of what the game means and the history and rivalry between the two countries. It is a completely new challenge to last year. We were a new coaching team, new players and no-one really knew what to expect from us.

"This is a new challenge. People expect different things from us and as players it is about rising to that challenge. I have a very talented and great group around me who enjoy going out there and playing rugby. I think that showed in the autumn.

"There were some tough times as well. Every time we go out there we are going out to work hard for the nation, for the fans who have come to watch us and hopefully perform well for them."

England are anticipating a dogfight at Twickenham on Saturday. Scotland have not won at the stadium in 30 years but England's last three wins have all been by a converted try or less.

In tight encounters such as that, Lancaster talks about players who offer a point of difference being critical. England have lost one in the injured Manu Tuilagi but hope to have found another in Billy Twelvetrees, who will make his debut at inside centre.

"I coached him with the Saxons in the Churchill Cup and I could see then he had lots of potential and physicality," Lancaster said. "I have always wanted ball-players in the backline, as well as people who can carry, have pace and physicality.

"Billy has an opportunity to demonstrate that he has it all. I have every confidence in him going into the game. Sometimes opportunities present themselves in different ways. We know Manu is going to be fit for next week and we hope Billy puts a marker down this week and gives us another headache."


From Belfast Telegraph