Cotter warns Jones to expect Murrayfield cauldron


Vern Cotter has warned Eddie Jones to expect a baptism of fire when he takes charge of England for the first time against Scotland in the Six Nations on Saturday.

Jones became England's first coach from overseas when he was named as Stuart Lancaster's successor last November.

The straight-talking Australian has vast experience at international level, having spent time in charge of Australia and Japan as well as working in the South Africa coaching set-up.

Jones was charged with the task of proving England are still a force despite their dismal showing at the Rugby World Cup on home soil last year.

The 56-year-old starts his reign with a mouth-watering Calcutta Cup clash at Murrayfield on the opening weekend of the Six Nations and Scotland coach Cotter said he should be braced to step into a cauldron.

"I think it will surprise him," said the New Zealander, who came agonisingly close to leading Scotland to the World Cup semi-finals.

"Definitely from my perspective, it was an eye opener. It's a very tough, passionate competition - and experience does help.

"The intensity of it was above anything I had experienced. I think the Six Nations, if I'm comparing the two, is even harder than the World Cup - because you get such limited time in preparing the team.

"I did go to Six Nations games when I was a club coach in France, yeah. I had players playing in the games and I watched them closely as a coach.

"But certainly, when you are involved, it's a powerful event. We won't know until Saturday after the game. But it won't be something he has experienced before. We certainly want to make Murrayfield something he hasn't experienced."

Jones - who said Cotter's men are favourites to win on home soil - went with an experienced side to take on Scotland, with Joe Marler and Danny Care getting the nod and former captain Chris Robshaw starting at blindside flanker.

He came in for criticism for what was deemed to be a cautious first team selection, but is confident he got it right.

"We know that Murrayfield will be a tough old affair - it always is," said Jones. "The forecast is for rain and strong winds. Ball movement will be difficult, so we've picked what we see as the right 23.

"The stats show you need around 560 caps to be Six Nations champions. We've got 512. Experience is always going to be important."

Back row John Barclay was recalled to the Scotland side and centre Mark Bennett also starts after recovering from a shoulder injury as Scotland eye their first win over England since 2008.


Key Opta stats:

- Scotland have failed to score a try in their last five home games against England in the Six Nations.
- Scotland have only won one of their previous 16 opening games in a Six Nations tournament (beating France in 2006), the worst record of any side. England have the joint best record with Ireland (13 wins).
- England have won exactly 100 away games in their Five/Six Nations history, the most by any side, their 44 per cent win rate on the road is also the best of anyone.
- Scotland were the only side to beat Eddie Jones' Japan side at the 2015 RWC and the Brave Blossoms also lost their only other game against Scotland under Jones' tenure (2013). Jones did steer Australia to five wins from five matches against the Scots when he was in charge of the Wallabies.
- Stuart Hogg made the most metres (442) and beat the most defenders (20) in the 2015 edition of the Six Nations. Mike Brown led the way in the 2014 tournament with 543 metres and 25 defenders beaten.