- Graham Rowntree chats exclusively to RFUtv about Scotland
- "We need to deal with the force of emotion they bring" says Forwards Coach
Graham Rowntree believes Scotland’s passion is the main obstacle Stuart Lancaster’s young side and they must suck the emotion out of the hosts if they are to win at Murrayfield in the RBS 6 Nations opener on Saturday.
England have not won – or scored a try – in Edinburgh since 2004 and Rowntree knows all about the hostile environment in the Scottish capital, having coached on the last two trips and appeared there twice as a player.
Speaking exclusively to RFUtv, the 54-time England prop said: "Scotland is a massively emotional country and after beating them in the closing moments of the world cup, it is a big challenge.
"We have to try and take the emotion out of it, get our game right and go out and play. We’ve been together a week now and I’ve been amazed by the amount of energy this group has brought to training and their willingness and eagerness to learn, as well as really come together.
"We need to deal with the force of emotion and energy they bring early on in the game and put that back down their throats, get our foot on the ball early and put our stamp on the game, because with this group of players we want to play quick.
"We need to get our foot in the game early doors with the referee as well, our discipline in the world wasn’t great so we’ve worked on that a lot in terms of offside etc."
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Although, as Rowntree says, Lancaster’s England intend to play a fast brand of rugby, the Forwards Coach believes it is essential the team have the basics of pack dominance in their armoury.
And this becomes more pertinent given the strength of Scotland’s pack: "These days you’ve got to be able to fall back on some components of forward dominance to win vital penalties and win vital possession from scrums, line outs and mauls.
"Scotland have always been quite a large pack and are quite dynamic, especially with Richie Gray in there. They’re the next big challenge for us, regardless of previous history, and they’re our next game so our focus is entirely on them."