Gap looks just too wide for Scotland to bridge

England versus Scotland in Auckland today is the biggest clash between the two old enemies for many a year.

With a place in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup at stake, it promises to be one of the most famous battles between the two countries who started international rugby more than a century ago.

To set the scene we have invited one of Scotland’s favourite sons to give his thoughts on where the game will be won and lost.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Kenny Logan played against England seven times in a 70-cap career spanning 11 years and two World Cups.

Better-known nowadays for his quick feet on the dance floor and marriage to broadcaster Gabby Yorath, Logan is a director at Championship club London Scottish, pitting his wits on a weekly basis against the likes of Leeds Carnegie, Doncaster Knights and Rotherham Titans.

He is also donning the shirt again later this year to play in the Heroes Rugby Challenge charity match at Twickenham on December 3. The match aims to raise money for Help the Heroes.

Before all that, though, Logan will be glued to the television like the rest of us this morning, watching the biggest grudge match of the World Cup so far, unfold.

Scotland need to beat England by more than eight points to have any chance of progressing.

Here, in a tactical breakdown of how the match will be won and lost in Auckland this morning, Logan analyses how the two teams measure up.

“Scotland’s front-row is as good as, if not better than, England’s. We can put some pressure on their front-row and their second-row.

“Courtney Lawes is somebody whose face you want to get into, you want to be niggling at him all game, because he does a lot of stupid things. And for me Louis Deacon – well he doesn’t do much.

“I wouldn’t make going after those two a priority, but as often as I could, I would put them under pressure.”

“England will look at the breakdown as an area they can dominate and from there they can move the ball and score tries.

“I love Lewis Moody. He gives 100 per cent and any 50/50 balls, or even balls where he is slight underdog, he wins. He is a warrior.

“But England look like two units – a set of forwards and a set of backs.

“They don’t seem like they did in 2003.

“There was a blend back then and I don’t see that now.

“England are definitely strengthened with Moody in the team.

“Jon Barclay has not had the greatest of tournaments, this is his chance to rise to the occasion for Scotland.”

“While there’s not much in the pack, where England have the edge is at No 10.

“Rory Jackson is a great player, but he’s not a Jonny Wilkinson. I’d pick Jonny all day long.

“In a World Cup, you need somebody who can kick you goals, can kick you into territory, can drop into the pocket and score drop goals.

“Jonny Wilkinson makes the right decisions.”

“England have a good back division.

“Chris Ashton has not been his usual self so far; they’re not putting him in the right positions. But once they do he will be a big threat.

“England definitely have the edge here.

“Scotland’s biggest problem is when they make a line break they make the wrong decision, whereas the good players make the right decisions at this level.”

“It’s a game that Scotland can win, but can we win it by eight points? It’s a big ask. We haven’t scored enough tries over the last few years and to beat England by eight points we have got to score tries.

“England’s discipline is poor and could work in our favour. And for me, the England mistakes are not illegal moves they can get away with, they are stupid mistakes, the type that make you think ‘why the hell are you doing that?’

“This has been a tough group for Scotland, it was always going to be. The World Cup is getting better each year, the minnows are getting better and closing the gap. But I think eight points is too much of an ask and England will advance.”