England coach watches Braveheart ahead of Calcutta Cup clash
SIX NATIONS SPOTLIGHT: England attack coach Scott Wisemantel has joked watching the movie “Braveheart” helped him understand the importance of Saturday’s Calcutta Cup clash against Scotland at Twickenham.
This year’s clash between England and Scotland – Rugby Union’s oldest fixture and first played in 1871 – could have added significance for the destiny of this season’s Six Nations title.
England head into the final day of the tournament knowing that if they beat Scotland, and Wales’ bid for a Grand Slam against Ireland in Cardiff fails, they will be crowned champions.
This is Wisemantel’s first Six Nations with England and he told reporters at Twickenham on Friday that watching fellow Australian Mel Gibson star as William Wallace, the 13th century leader of the Scottish war of independence, had helped him comprehend the rivalry between the countries.
“I’ve watched ‘Braveheart’ a few times,” Wisemantel told reporters at Twickenham on Friday.
“I read up on the history of the Calcutta Cup and it’s quite interesting,” assistant coach Wisemantel said.
“It’s just such a long time it’s been going. It’s more than a rugby game, sometimes. There are historical links for the supporters.”
He added: “I’ve never experienced the Six Nations in a coaching capacity, I’ve always been a spectator and it’s special.
“It’s a great tournament, it really is.”
Meanwhile England hooker Jamie George insisted the game mattered just as much to England as it did Scotland.
“I can only talk for England really and it means a huge amount to us,” he said.
“We’re fully aware of how big the game is.”
Wisemantel, appointed before last year’s tour of South Africa, has overseen a resurgent England attack with Eddie Jones’ men having scored the most tries of any team this Six Nations and boasting a commanding points difference of plus 83.
Asked how England’s attacking play had evolved, Wisemantel replied: “I find professional players, and it’s all round the world, are a bit conservative. So we’re really trying to free them up a bit.”
England have recalled Henry Slade to partner Manu Tuilagi in the centres this week, with Wisemantel saying: “You’ve got a blend of power, pace, a left-footer as well.”
Scotland only managed one try during last week’s 18-11 loss to Wales at Murrayfield but a sympathetic Wisemantel said: “I think they were just a tad unlucky. They had, I think, eight minutes’ possession inside the Welsh 22 and they couldn’t convert – so if they convert just one of those opportunities, it’s a different game.
“As you saw from our match against the Welsh [a fixture England lost 21-13], we were leading with 20 minutes to go, so the margins are really fine. That’s what makes the tournament so good.”