RUGBY UNION: YON-FORM ENGLISH WILL BE A SMASH HIT SAYS BUDGE.
The Scotland vice-captain fired the opening shots in psychological war which is sure to intensify before the Calcutta Cup clash, by playing down our hopes of another shock win.
He said: "Looking at the form book they are obviously very much odds- on favourites to win the game and to actually smash us into the ground.
"I think they are still smarting a little bit from last year and playing better than last year from what I can see so certainly on the form book we don't stand a chance."
England's have racked up two crushing victories over Wales and Italy, while the Scots lost in Paris and drew 28- 28 with Wales.
But even though Scotland are in better shape than last term, when they had lost all of their preceding matches, Pountney reckons the gulf between the sides is still as great. He added: "We have a draw rather than the four losses when we played England and probably scored a few more points.
"But I think there is still a fair gap between us so even if we play at 100 per cent we won't get that close to them.
"We have really got to play at 120 per cent to even compete with them and even a little bit extra if we are going to win.
"I think they will be taking the game a whole lot more seriously than they perhaps did last year.
"It is a case of once bitten, twice shy. I don't think they will want to slip up again. We will just have to work a hell of a lot harder than in the previous two games."
The Scotland squad trained on the back pitches despite five inches of snow. Conditions prevented any kicking practice but it will be a major surprise if Duncan Hodge does not retain the role after taking over from the luckless Kenny Logan last time out - though team manager Dougie Morgan admitted that Logan and full-back Chris Paterson are also under consideration.
Morgan said: "I have spoken to Kenny and he was as disappointed as anyone. Jonny Wilkinson had an off day on Saturday so it can happen to the best of kickers."
Scott Murray (thigh) and John Leslie (toe) missed training yesterday but should be ready for Saturday, while England have a doubt over flanker Neil Back.
New Zealand referee Paddy O'Brien has withdrawn from the game because of injury and will be replaced by Roger Davies of Wales.
lKIRKCALDY prop Willie Anderson has been drafted into the Scotland A party to face England at Kingston Park on Friday.
Anderson, whose club play in the Premier Division of the Scottish league, has been called up because Bristol front-row Paul Johnstone, who played in the victory over Wales a fortnight ago, is unavailable for "personal reasons".
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|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Feb 27, 2001|
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