Scotland unfazed by history

Scotland's Nathan Hines is tackled against England in 2008, as Ross Ford looks on

Nathan Hines (left) and Ross Ford (right) both started Scotland’s last win against England in 2008

Scotland are unfazed by their dismal recent Six Nations record as they aim to beat England for the first time since 2008 at Murrayfield on Saturday.

The Scots have won three games in the Championship in the past four years.

“It doesn’t matter how much history has gone before, it doesn’t make any difference to us,” said assistant coach Nathan Hines, the former Scotland lock.

“We are not playing history, we are playing England. I think we are in a good place as a squad.”

Hines, brought in by head coach Vern Cotter to work as a specialist resource coach and mentor, started Scotland’s last win over England in 2008, and was also a replacement in their 2006 victory at Murrayfield.

“I don’t think it matters too much that we haven’t beaten them for a couple of years,” said the 39-year-old, who retired from Test rugby after his 77th cap, against England in the 2011 World Cup.

“Statistics are about the past. If we are just going on statistics, we may as well not play Saturday. We are not worrying about the past, we are just worrying about what is happening now.

“We are just trying to build on what happened at the World Cup. We have sorted things out that needed to be done and we are coming together nicely.”

‘Jonny Gray has that ability to lead’

The optimism in the Scotland camp stems from a largely positive World Cup, where they narrowly failed to beat Australia in the quarter-finals, and a talented group of young players blossoming at the same time.

Stuart Hogg, Finn Russell and Mark Bennett, all 23 or younger, have provided creativity and spark to the backline, while 21-year-old lock Jonny Gray is an emerging force alongside elder brother Richie, 26, up front.

Jonny Gray (centre) has established himself as a leader for Scotland, alongside brother Richie (right)

“They know each know each other quite well, which helps!” Hines said of the brothers’ second-row partnership. “And they like each other too; they are not the sort of brothers that don’t like to be around each other.

“They are both great athletes and complement each other well. They are young and want to learn, and are very coachable.”

The potential of Jonny Gray, already captain of Pro 12 champions at just 21, is limitless, Hines believes.

“The good thing about Jonny is he is quite a humble guy. He is a really hard worker,” he added.

“If he wants to play for Scotland until he retires, it is up to him. He is developing as a leader, and being captain of Glasgow is a good thing for Scotland and great for him to have in his locker. He has that ability to lead, and we are very happy with him.

“He is only 21 and not a massive extrovert but he leads by example. What he says is poignant, and boy do guys listen to him.”

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