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England fly half George Ford has warned of the threat posed by Scotland talisman Finn Russell ahead of Saturday’s Calcutta Cup match at Twickenham in the final round of the Guinness Six Nations.
Russell was integral for Scotland in their win in Edinburgh last year and later went on to score 21 points for the Barbarians’ win over Eddie Jones’ men last summer, so Ford knows the importance of nullifying his sway on the game this weekend.
“I think he is a very dangerous player given time and space, his skill set is very good - he can run, pass and kick. If you are a fly half that gets good time and space, it makes it a lot easier,” said the Leicester Tiger.
“One of our ways in defence will be to stop Scotland on the gain line, so that maybe he doesn’t have such an armchair ride.”
In order for England to win the championship, they must beat Scotland, and hope Ireland upset Wales in Cardiff. But permutations are not something Ford is focusing on, instead it is just the next challenge at hand.
“We cannot assume anything; the main focus for us, regardless of others results, is to up our performance from the last four games we have played in,” he added. “Our focus this week is on ourselves and getting another result at Twickenham.”
The last time the sides met at the Home of England Rugby, England ran out comfortable 61-21 winners, in a game Ford cites as a great example of executing first-phase play. But the 25-year-old expects Saturday’s Calcutta Cup clash to be different.
“We realise this week that most of the ball we are going to get will be unstructured, from kicks, so we have to work on that part of the game and fire some shots from kick return.
“It’ll be a balance of getting structured and unstructured play right.”