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Scotland v England in Six Nations: Courtney Lawes says senior players must ‘step up’

Courtney Lawes won his 82nd cap against France – only scrum-half Ben Youngs (96) has more in the current England squad
Six Nations Championship: Scotland v England
Venue: Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh Date: Saturday, 8 February Kick-off: 16:45 GMT
Coverage: Watch on BBC One; listen BBC Radio 5 Live & BBC Radio Scotland; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website & app

England’s experienced players need to “step up” and help the side win in adversity, says lock Courtney Lawes.

England could not reel in France after slipping 24 points adrift in their Six Nations opener on Sunday and similarly struggled to wrestle back momentum in November’s World Cup final defeat by South Africa.

England play Scotland at Murrayfield in Saturday’s Calcutta Cup match.

“It’s about winning when the opposition has got your number,” said Lawes, 30.

“It’s about being able to assert yourself when things aren’t going your way, when the strategy and tactics aren’t working.

“We have some serious experience. [Head coach] Eddie [Jones] has given us the opportunity to be a part of that, and it is something we need to step up and do.”

Most England caps in Six Nations squad
Ben Youngs 96 caps
Courtney Lawes 82
Owen Farrell 80
Joe Marler 69
George Ford 66
Joe Launchbury 62
Mako Vunipola 58
Jonny May 53

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Lawes added: “We know we are good when we get the gameplan right and we are executing. But now we need to work on when things aren’t going to plan, where we go to next.

“We need to be better at identifying where we are struggling and adapting to that situation to get momentum back – where you are struggling to get anything from the referee, or a bounce of a ball, how can you gain back that control.

“That’s what New Zealand do so well so often. So many times they are on the back foot for the first 20, 30 minutes maybe, and they can find a way to swing it around and get momentum and get their gameplan going.

“That’s something we need to be better at – definitely.”

England captain Owen Farrell endured a difficult afternoon in the Stade de France as his side trailed 24-0 before a second-half rally.

Lawes, one of a host of players with more than 50 caps in the England squad, believes those experienced men must help out the skipper.

“We have a leadership group in place and they are responsible for making decisions on the field. You don’t want too many people talking, especially when you are under pressure,” he said.

“Owen has got his role as skipper, and then we as lieutenants – or whatever you want to call it – have our role trying to figure out how he can do his role best.”

‘Murrayfield the perfect place’

Lawes was part of the England team that lost 25-13 on their last visit to Murrayfield

Lawes says Edinburgh, where England face Scotland on Saturday, is the ideal place to prove the squad are learning their lessons after the Paris setback.

“It’s the perfect place to go for us, because there is going to be some adversity without a shadow of a doubt,” he added.

“It will be great for the maturity of our squad, and the players in it and the leadership group to show what we can learn from the weekend to take into this game.

“They don’t really like us there but it’s something we kind of like to embrace and get out there and play some fiery rugby.”

Article courtesy of BBC Sport
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