Rory Sutherland feels a first Scotland win over England at Twickenham on Saturday would be the perfect way to “lift the nation” in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Hawick-born prop, a star of the past 12 months, said: “Taking everything into the equation, with COVID and other sports not being on at the moment, being able to lift the nation again is a great opportunity.
“We’re feeling really good and confident that we can go down there and get the win.”
He also hailed the impact of Pieter de Villiers, the former France prop turned scrum coach, on his own game.
“Pieter has done a lot for me,” Sutherland said on a Zoom call this afternoon (Monday).
“I really enjoyed working with him. He’s a great guy to have around the camp. He’s very good at passing his knowledge across to the players and he’s good at fixing the bits in the scrum that we aren’t doing so well.
“He’s done wonders for me over the past year or so, just working on technical areas of my scrimmaging. He’s not trying to reinvent the wheel, just looking at the little technical aspects of my individual game to make it better.”
While Scotland’s record at Twickenham in recent times makes for grim reading, Sutherland believes Eddie Jones’ side are there for the taking this weekend.
“We’ve got to take confidence from our performances in the Six Nations last year and in the Autumn Nations Cup.
“We had some very good performances against some really good teams. We will be taking that confidence into this game.”
Two years ago, Scotland found themselves 31-0 down and staring down the barrel of a Calcutta Cup hiding before their remarkable second half revival.
In 2017, a hiding was exactly what they got – hammered 61-21 as Jonathan Joseph ran riot in the midfield.
And Sutherland knows Scotland must cut out any ill-discipline if they are to win at Twickenham for the first time since 1983.
“A big work on for us is our discipline, making sure that into key moments in the game everyone is on it and doing the right things at the right time.
“Our decision-making as well, that is a big work on for us if we want to compete with those big teams.”