Lawrence Dallaglio: Steve Borthwick right to rely on England experience in crucial Scotland clash

Saturday’s Six Nations game against Scotland is as important as a World Cup semi-final or final for England.

I lost to Scotland only once in my career and, being perfectly honest, that was once too often. England in my era blew three Grand Slam chances, but I would not swap our journey to the World Cup triumph for anything.

This England team are in a different space, it is the start of a new journey. And if they could win this game, it would represent a huge result.

Progressing with a new group is about small steps. They will have to increase markedly the level of accuracy and intensity from the first two games, but I think they are capable of it.

Steve Borthwick has rightly dipped back into the well of experience for his selection, with the likes of Ellis Genge and Dan Cole starting up front.

Even George Furbank at full-back, who is inexperienced in terms of Test caps, has a bucket load of games under his belt and has spearheaded Northampton’s rise to the top of the Premiership table this term.

England desperately needed some gainline power in the backline, so Ollie Lawrence returning in the centres is important, too. He is perhaps England’s form player in the Premiership, and just as important to Bath’s resurgence as Scotland’s excellent fly-half Finn Russell.

Steve Borthwick has opted for experience against Scotland, with Dan Cole starting (AFP via Getty Images)
Steve Borthwick has opted for experience against Scotland, with Dan Cole starting (AFP via Getty Images)

The extra midfield power will give George Ford some fascinating extra attacking options.

If England win, then they can look forward to the rest of the tournament with a degree of confidence and momentum. Lose, and the pressure will really start to build.

I have said for some time that success for England in this championship will be to win more games than they lose. That now means either beating Scotland or toppling one of the two best teams in the world in Ireland and France.

Meanwhile, my condolences go out to Jamie George and his family after the death of his mum, Jane.

George is a smart and open man: if he says he is ready to play, he will be 100 per cent.

This is a brave decision, and anyone would back him to produce a fine performance as a fitting tribute to his mum.