Scotland have plenty to lose in the Six Nations, says Alasdair Strokosch

Scotland start against England

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The Independent Online

So now Alasdair Strokosch can concentrate on that other pregnant pause. Having rushed back to Perpignan late last week in time to see his wife give birth, the blind-side flanker can give his full attention to Scotland's attempt to win at Twickenham for the first time since 1983.

"I couldn't leave my wife in a country where she doesn't speak the language and with the daughter we already have," Strokosch said, as the Scotland party headed south for Saturday's Six Nations encounter. Speaking about his decision to take leave from the pre-tournament training camp in Glasgow, he added: "It wasn't a difficult decision for me to make, although in terms of selection I knew it might have consequences.

"My wife had a little boy, Aaron. It puts a lot of things into perspective because clearly there is more to life than rugby. Having said that, I suppose for 80 minutes on Saturday it will be all I am focused on. That's the way rugby goes."

The way the game goes, the received wisdom is that Scotland, having suffered an autumn whitewash that cost Andy Robinson his job as head coach, have nothing to lose against an England team who beat the All Blacks last time out. Strokosch, however, countered: "We are fed up hearing people say that. Of course there is something to lose: the game for a start. We have got to put in a performance against England and take things from there."

The Scots, of course, have a temporary coaching team guiding them into the championship, with the interim head coach, Scott Johnson, assisted by one-time England No 8 Dean Ryan, the coach who signed Strokosch for Gloucester.

"I worked with Dean for two years at Gloucester and it's great to link up with him again, even if it's only for a short while," said the former karate international, now a Perpignan player. "He's absolutely brilliant. "