Finn Russell of Scotland in action against Wales.
Finn Russell of Scotland in action against Wales. Stu Forster

Scots urged to break up England's rhythm

RUGBY UNION: Former Scotland playmaker Dan Parks says his old side will have to bring something new to the table if it is to topple defending Six Nations champion England at Twickenham tomorrow (2am AEST).

England can equal New Zealand's tier-one world record of 18 straight wins with victory against Scotland.

But shaky wins against France and Wales, and a slow start against Italy - where the Azzurri rattled England with a left-field defensive tactic - have shown that weaknesses exist in Eddie Jones' side.

Scotland, meanwhile, is the strongest it's been in more than a decade.

Hard-fought wins against Ireland and Wales have given the Scots hope of causing an almighty upset in London.

With a match against Italy to follow at Murrayfield, a win this weekend could pave the way for Scotland to secure its first Six Nations trophy since 1999.

Australian-born Parks, who played 67 Tests for Scotland, believes Vern Cotter's men must find a way of disrupting England's rhythm if they are to pull it off.

"It's been interesting, if you look at the tournament and what's happened so far with England, France in that first game just went at them at the breakdown, they really just tried to pile through them and put them under a lot of pressure," Parks said.

"England weren't able to free themselves and play a lot of the rugby they've been able to play and I think it was an element of a surprise that put them on the back foot.

"And if you look at England's last game against Italy - and it's been well documented - they caught them by surprise by not attacking the breakdown.

"So that's what Scotland have got to do this weekend.

"They've still got to be able to play their style of rugby - which has been very exciting and entertaining - but they've got to use their forwards to get momentum so to draw the other forwards in and then tighten up the backs, so to give the (Stuart) Hoggs and (Tommy) Seymours of the world space and time.

"They've got really good strike power on the edges, which will be the key out wide.

"But they're going to have to bring something out and surprise England, which other teams have done thus far."

Scotland will be without their captain and sharpshooter Greig Laidlaw, who suffered an ankle injury during the 22-16 loss to France in Paris last month.

Flyhalf Finn Russell will once again kick goals for Scotland after his impressive 19-point display against Wales.

Veteran back-rower John Barclay has been given the captaincy in Laidlaw's absence.

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