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Twelvetrees calls for improvement

Billy Twelvetrees has demanded England re-establish their RBS 6 Nations title credentials when they face Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Stuart Lancaster's team have dropped to third favourites to win the 2014 Championship after slipping to an agonising opening-day defeat to France in Paris.

The Calcutta Cup must be retained if England are to have any chance of remaining relevant in the hunt to relieve Wales of their crown and Twelvetrees insists the outcome will be decided by brains as much as brawn.

"We still have massive belief we can win the title," the Gloucester centre said.

"We're bitterly disappointed to lose our first game, but we've got four games in front of us that we want to win.

"It starts this weekend against Scotland, who will be hugely frustrated by their loss in Ireland on Sunday.

"They will be hugely motivated by a Calcutta Cup game against England at Murrayfield.

"It's a mouth-watering clash and we're hugely looking forward to it.

"It's going to be hugely physical and the team that is smarter will win.

"We are fully aware of what they are going to bring to the game.

"We've looked at how we can nullify that and assert ourselves in the as well."

Twelvetrees won the first of his nine caps in last season's 38-18 defeat of Scotland at Twickenham, but the 25-year-old expects a different encounter to unfold at Murrayfield.

"I've got fond memories of last year against Scotland when I made my Test debut," he said.

"I will try to think of those memories because it was an enjoyable day for me.

"But they're a different team than they were last year and it will be a different encounter away from home.

"They'll be hugely physical at the breakdown, trying to slow down our ball and make it a physical game."

Scotland were flattened 28-6 by Ireland in Dublin as they launched their Six Nations with a blunt attacking performance.

Stung by that result and with rain forecast all day for Edinburgh on Saturday, they will be hoping to ambush England in a fixture that fires Scottish passion like no other.

Forwards coach Graham Rowntree has outlined what England can expect against spirited, if limited, opposition.

"There's always a special reception waiting for us at Murrayfield and they will be fed up themselves after losing to Ireland," Rowntree said.

"We've had a good look at that game and they'll fancy their chances against us.

"We lost to France but played exceptionally well. We are hurting from the loss but there is enough on that game for us to hang on to and build on."

Rowntree confirmed that England have recruited their former hooker Lee Mears on a consultancy basis to assist in coaching the forwards.


From Belfast Telegraph