England team news: Ollie Lawrence and Danny Care to start against Scotland in Six Nations

Ollie Lawrence training with England
Ollie Lawrence will beef up England's midfield - Getty Images/David Rogers

Centre Ollie Lawrence is set to make an instant return from injury as Steve Borthwick, the England head coach, prepares to beef up his midfield for the Calcutta Cup clash against Scotland on Saturday.

Scrum-half Danny Care is also in line to start at Murrayfield as he replaces the injured Alex Mitchell in the England No 9 shirt, winning his 99th cap. Borthwick will announce his team to face Scotland on Thursday afternoon.

Lawrence has been in outstanding form for Bath this season and was firmly in the mix for selection coming into the campaign until he suffered a hip injury in the 31-19 Champions Cup defeat away to Toulouse just before England began their Six Nations training camp.

In his absence, the combination of Fraser Dingwall and Henry Slade have impressed in flashes but have lacked the power dynamic that Lawrence or Manu Tuilagi can provide. Tuilagi, the Sale Sharks centre, is also available for selection after a groin injury.

Manu Tuilagi training with England
Manu Tuilagi (left) is available after a groin injury - PA/Adam Davy

Barring a late change of heart, it is understood that Slade will be retained at outside centre with Lawrence shifting to inside centre as England look to build upon their narrow opening-round wins against Italy and Wales.

“Ollie and Manu both bring power,” Kevin Sinfield, the assistant coach, said on Tuesday. “What those two bring, they will kick the door down, and they certainly bring that. To have that power in Ollie and Manu available is important to us as we look to find the right balance this week.”

Loose forward George Martin is also expected to return to the matchday squad after recovering from a knee injury and has been backed by Sinfield to “leave a mark on somebody”, however Telegraph Sport understands the powerful Leicester Tiger is set to settle for a place on the bench.

England have lost their past three matches against Scotland and have won only one of their past six Calcutta Cup fixtures. Prior to that England had a nine-year ownership of the trophy until 2018 when they lost 25-13 at Murrayfield where Scotland flanker Ryan Wilson got into a pre-match scuffle with England fly-half Owen Farrell.

There have been further shenanigans on England’s previous trips to Murrayfield. Neil Craig, a coaching consultant, was hit by a beer bottle walking into the ground in 2020 when head coach Eddie Jones was subsequently heckled by supporters on a train journey to Manchester.

Yet back-rower Ben Earl says that England are fully prepared for any ‘niggle’ that comes their way on or off the pitch and says that the team will embrace the hostility of the Murrayfield crowd. “There’s a resilience there in us, for sure,” Earl said. “It’s quite a good group of experienced players in this team, in terms of Jamie George, George Ford, Joe Marler, Dan Cole, Ellis Genge. Those guys, they’re all different characters, but they’ve all seen all those curve balls.

“Then you’ve also got a group of lads who might not have played a load of Test rugby but have played a lot of club rugby, played in some great games, some great stadiums. We don’t get the opportunity to say much to the crowd, so the way we can speak to the crowd is through our performance. So, I’d say the group, in terms of expectation, is probably as prepared as any to deal with anything that’s thrown at us.

“I think you have to love it. These are the games that you remember if you come out on the right side of the result. If you don’t love it, then you’re probably playing the wrong sport at the wrong level. So, yes, I absolutely love it. I love going away to these amazing places and amazing cities, amazing grounds. So, I’m really looking forward to it.”