Flanker Tom Curry insists he and his England teammates know they will need to be at their best to get their Guinness Six Nations defence off to a winning start at home to Scotland.
The Red Rose get their 2021 Championship campaign underway at Twickenham on the 150-year anniversary of the first fixture between the two sides, looking to maintain their grip on the Calcutta Cup.
A hard-earned 13-6 win at Murrayfield last February steered England towards their first Guinness Six Nations title since 2017, before they added the Autumn Nations Cup crown to their tally at the end of an interrupted 2020.
Despite their recent success though, Sale Sharks star Curry says England are prepared for a ferocious battle against an improving Scotland side, who overturned a 31-point deficit in a 38-38 draw the last time the teams locked horns in the English capital.
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Gregor Townsend’s charges beat France and Wales en route to a fourth-place finish last year, and Curry believes it will take a whole-team effort to stop an outfit aiming to challenge for their first Championship title since 1999.
“We fully understand what is coming and we are prepared for that,” said Curry, 22, who has scored three tries in ten Guinness Six Nations appearances to date.
“We know they have players who can make something from nothing. They have an ability to be relentless and we have to bring that element of control to the breakdown.
“If everyone is working together, we have that ability to stop unpredictable plays. We can react better if we are all reading off the same page.”
Newcastle Falcons captain Mark Wilson will join Curry in the back row for the Scotland clash, after fellow flanker Sam Underhill was forced to withdraw from the England setup last month due to a hip injury.
And although Curry is missing the Bath man in and around the squad, he is sure Eddie Jones’ men possess the required adaptability and flexibility to emerge from England Rugby HQ with the points from Round 1.
He added: “I’ve spoken to him [Underhill] a bit and he is doing well and focusing on getting back injury-free.
“As a back row, in terms of rugby, we have practised changing combinations for years. We are able to adapt to those kinds of scenarios and we have great personnel in at the moment.”