Six Nations - Backy: England and Scotland, best of enemies

Eurosport - Fri, 12 Mar 09:24:00 2010

Apart from the dropped Lewis Moody, who I talked about in my blog earlier this week, Louis Deacon is the other player to come in for England against Scotland in the Six Nations on Saturday.

Doddie Weir, Scotland - 0

It's unfortunate that the man he is replacing Simon Shaw is ageing, but Shawsey is still an outstanding player. His weight and power are a big loss for England on Saturday, although Deacon will do a job with him injured.

Deacon is a good Premiership and international player, but I am surprised that Courtney Lawes was not given an opportunity to come in.

It will have to be a strong pack performance versus Scotland, as if there is not a platform for the backs to play from, England will struggle.

Scrum-half Ben Youngs is on the bench and could win his first cap for his country. His dad Nick is a former Leicester and England player so we had a lot of involvement with Ben from a young age in the academy at Welford Road.

We always knew he had the 'X' factor, and that saw him win a place on the bench in a European Cup final when he was just 17: there was never any worry about bringing him in, even in such a big game.

With Dan Parks orchestrating things, Scotland are playing well under Andy Robinson. The last two results have not gone their way, but they deserved more from them.

They looked very strong against Wales and would have won but for a couple of mindless moments in the final stages, leading to two players being sin-binned and prompting a Welsh comeback.

They had it won and are improving as a team: I was very surprised when they then went to Italy and lost. It was a massive disappointment after they had made a few changes.

They are a big, strong, powerful side and Parks is looking steady and ready to take on any opposition. Sometimes he sits flatter and sometimes deep, depending on the situation.

It will be a tough game for England and they will have to play at their best to win the match at Murrayfield. They have shown a slight improvement recently and will go in with more of a kicking game.

Every game evokes a lot of memories and no game has ever been easy in the Six Nations, even against Italy.

But when we played up there at Murrayfield we encountered hatred, in the right sense of the word: not taking it too far. You felt as though the fans wanted to spit on you, even though they never would - and that is how we wanted it.

I always enjoyed my time up there. I made my international debut against them in 1994, and we thrashed them 15-14!

In those days debutants would have their drinks bought for them by their opposite number, and I ended up sitting with Doddie Weir (pictured).

I was drinking Guinness and thinking 'I'm not doing too bad here'; but I didn't know Doddie was slipping shots of whisky into my pints when I wasn't looking! When I got up to be presented with my first cap, I was worse for wear - although I just about made it there in a straight line.

I then toured with Doddie in the Lions squad that went to South Africa in 1997 - he was a great character. That is what rugby was all about in the amateur era, playing hard and having a good time.

Neil Back / Eurosport

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