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Townsend: Scotland will fight to hold on to Calcutta Cup

The coach says his side have to improve but are "highly-motivated and full of energy".

Townsend is prepared for a tough test at Twickenham.
Townsend is prepared for a tough test at Twickenham. SNS Group

Gregor Townsend has said that England will be facing a Scotland side with every motivation to hold on to the Calcutta Cup this weekend.

The head coach has been preparing his squad for a tough test at Twickenham against a side hoping to clinch the Six Nations Championship as well as wrest back the Calcutta Cup after losing at Murrayfield last year

Though there have been disappointments in the championship so far for injury-ravaged Scotland, Townsend believes his players are focused on delivering a memorable finale.

"They're very motivated and full of energy as well," he said. "We've trained twice now and the sessions have been of a real high-quality. We improved between France and Wales and there were a lot of positive aspects to the play against Wales who are a top quality team.

"We have to improve again to win down at Twickenham but that's always the focus to get better in the next game."

And Townsend said that travelling south with a trophy to defend would make his players more resolute.

"It took a lot of work to win that back," he said."It took ten years so we want to make sure that we hold on to it for a bit longer.

"We can't really worry about (the fact no-one expects us to win). If no-one does think we're going to win, then that's fine.

"We believe we can win and that's what we're working to do this week. Scotland teams tend to be underdogs on a number of occasions and it usually brings the best out in them."

While the squad will look to draw on memories of last year's victory at Murrayfield, he acknowledged that the bruising 61-21 defeat at Twickenham two years ago may also be on the minds of some players. But the coach said that the experience, while painful at the time, had proved to be motivator for the games after and there was no reason why it couldn't be turned into a positive factor this time around.

"It's something I know they've discussed as a playing group." he said. "Those that were there two years ago certainly don't want that to happen again. It was a tough day for every Scotland rugby supporter and for all the players who had to go through that.

"First of all we've got to be much tougher to beat but we've got to take our game to the opposition as well.

"I think any of the experiences you have, whether they are positive or negative, you've got to turn them into a way of being stronger, of using that experience to improve.

"Since that day, the team followed up with a win the following week against Italy, they went on in the summer to beat Australia in Sydney for the first time so it had an immediate effect with the wins after it."

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