Scotland plan to seize on England complacency

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Defence coach Graham Steadman hopes Scotland can keep Chris Ashton quiet and can seize on any complacency within the England camp in Sunday's Calcutta Cup clash at Twickenham.

Grand Slam-chasing England face a Scotland side searching for their first win of the 2011 RBS 6 Nations and without a victory in west London since 1983.

Northampton wing Ashton has scored six tries in the championship to date, but Steadman hopes Scotland's previously porous defence can tighten up and spring a surprise at Twickenham.

He told Press Association Sport: "Will they treat us with the respect we deserve? I'd have to question that.

"I'm sure they will have one eye on the Grand Slam and the bigger picture for them, I dare say, will be the fixture against Ireland over in Dublin.

"They will see that as a bigger challenge than the challenge they're going to be facing this weekend.

"I know what these players are capable of here. We've seen glimpses in the last three internationals that we are capable of doing it.

"What we've got to do now is put a sustained performance in where we're going to apply a lot of pressure on the opposition and if we can do that we could turn this form book upside down.

"It's now time to deliver. We can do all the talking but it's all about the actions now and we've got to get out there and do it."

For Scotland to triumph, they will have to keep a free-flowing England side quiet.

England's back three of Ashton, Ben Foden and Mark Cueto are just a few of the players Steadman earmarked as capable of punishing Scotland.

And Steadman hopes not to see the former Wigan rugby league ace's swallow dive celebration on Sunday.

The Scotland defence coach said: "They're playing with a lot of confidence. They've got strike players right across the park.

"Any broken field situation if we're not well organised they will cause us problems.

"Ashton's on six (tries) at present - I'd like to think it will stay at that.

"He can do what he wants against Ireland but I'd like to think it won't happen against Scotland."

Scotland conceded tries in the opening 10 minutes of losses to France, Wales and Ireland.

Steadman attributed the poor defensive displays in the tournament thus far to a failure to respond quickly to losses of possession and believes a tighter game plan might benefit the side this weekend.

Steadman added: "Our transition from attack to defence has not been quite at the level we would expect and we've been punished severely by three quality teams.

"At times we may have been a little naive and over-played in certain areas of the field and it's put us under a lot of pressure.

"It's something we've certainly got to learn from."

Steadman says Ireland's Ronan O'Gara, man of the match in the 21-18 win at Murrayfield, gave Scotland a lesson in game management.

He added: "He gave a master class in terms of looking for field position off the back of his kicking game and then putting pressure on the set-piece.

"They gained possession, they gained territory and they had the quality within their ranks to punish us and put points on the scoreboard.

"That is it. The game is very simple, it's not complicated, but at the moment our transition has been costing us."

Scotland made seven changes following the loss to Wales for the clash with Ireland and put on an improved display.

But head coach Andy Robinson, Steadman and attack coach Gregor Townsend will likely make further changes for Sunday's game.

The team announced tomorrow could see the more experienced Dan Parks recalled at fly-half in place of Ruaridh Jackson, while centre Joe Ansbro and full-back Hugo Southwell are fit again after missing the Ireland match.

Winning possession has been problematic for Scotland, so changes can be expected in the forwards too.

Steadman hinted at a less expansive game plan.

He added: "We've got to show a lot more patience in possession and apply a lot more pressure on the opposition.

"We've maybe been guilty of over-playing in that middle third.

"At times we're a little bit guilty of throwing the 50-50 ball and the opposition pick up the ball and off the back of that they either kick in behind us and apply pressure in field position or they'll play with ball in hand as the French did and punish us.

"We've got to be a bit smarter with the ball in hand."