Danny Care believes this year’s Six Nations offers England the chance to start justifying their momentous win over world champions New Zealand.
England thrashed the mighty All Blacks 38-21 last time out to end 2012 on a massive high.
Conversely, Scotland suffered a humbling home defeat by Tonga which prompted Andy Robinson to resign, with Scott Johnson succeeding him as interim head coach.
The two squads go into today’s Calcutta Cup with contrasting levels of expectation, but 26-year-old Leeds-born scrum-half Care feels the hosts need to justify their status as favourites.
“The New Zealand game was a massive win for us and a performance that has been coming for a couple of years,” he said. “But it’s only one game, we’ve got to play well against Scotland because they’ll want to come and spoil the party.
“We look at them as a new team.
“They’ve got a couple of new coaches in there, we don’t know what they’re going to throw at us but we know it’s going to be a very passionate game.
“Every time I’ve played against Scotland it always is.
“And in a Six Nations opener it’s going to be a massive battle, they’ll come with a lot pf physicality with some big forwards and we’ll have to front up to them.
“I’d love a 30-0 or 40-0 victory but we have to be realistic.
“We know against New Zealand we played very well and caught them on an off-day.
“We deserved that win and played really well, but playing against Scotland is going to be completely different.”
The animosity between the two nations for a start, is enough to ensure today’s game will have a completely different feel to the All Blacks triumph.
And any angst the Scots feel towards England is welcomed by the Quins No 9.
“It’s a fresh start, a fresh Six Nations,” said Care.
“We want to win, they want to win, they don’t really like us very much, which we enjoy, we relish that challenge.”