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Six Nations: Three key head to heads to watch out for in England vs Scotland

The Calcutta Cup has produced some fantastic rugby in recent years, and this weekend’s iteration looks to be no different as both coaches come in all guns blazing.

The Calcutta Cup has produced some fantastic rugby in recent years, and this weekend’s iteration looks to be no different as both coaches come in all guns blazing.

For the hosts, they name an X-factor backline featuring the mercurial Finn Russell, Duhan van der Merwe, Blair Kinghorn and Huw Jones.

Much of the focus will be on the backs, but there is a great pairing with an imposing pack containing the likes Pierre Schoeman, Zander Fagerson, Jamie Ritchie and Rory Darge.

Turning attention to England, Steve Borthwick has met fire with fire, and brought in the heavy artillery.

Dan Cole and Ellis Genge return to the front-row, and they feature alongside Maro Itoje, Ethan Roots and Ben Earl.

Borthwick has also named powerful centre Ollie Lawrence in the team, and he will finally link back up with Henry Slade in the midfield. They also feature in a solid backline alongside George Furbank and Tommy Freeman.

But with two star-studded teams named for the clash at Murrayfield, which players could turn the tide? Here are three key head to head clashes to watch out for in the Calcutta Cup:

Blair Kinghorn vs George Furbank

Two classy fullbacks are set to go toe to toe this weekend. Both players are the extra ball player in the back-field, and have clearly been picked to neutralise each other.

There will be plenty of pressure on Furbank following his inclusion over Freddie Steward, but he has been in fantastic form for Northampton Saints this season, and will hope to replicate this at Murrayfield.

His counterpart Kinghorn has missed the opening two rounds with injury, but he is a fine operator when at his best. He has big boots to fill though, with both Harry Patterson and Kyle Rowe putting in solid performances this Championship. This promises to be a huge head-to-head.

Finn Russell vs George Ford

The battle at fly-half is always a crucial one, but when two world class 10s meet it goes up a notch. Russell is a maverick fly-half, and his off-the-cuff style is at the heartbeat of Scotland’s attack, but this year his leadership has really come to the fore and this will again need to be a big part of his game if they want to get one over England.

His counterpart Ford is almost the complete opposite of Russell, but he is just as influential to his side’s attack. Ford is the typical general at 10, and pulls the strings to get England around the pitch, and his kicking game is also a huge weapon, and Scotland will need to watch out for this weekend.

Pierre Schoeman vs Ellis Genge

They might not be directly opposite each other at scrum-time, but the battle at loose-head could define the outcome of the game. Pierre Schoeman is a quality operator in the tight, and brings heaps of physicality in all aspects of his game, and England will need to keep a close eye on him.

Speaking of physicality, Ellis Genge brings this in abundance. The ‘baby Rhino’ is one of England’s strongest ball carriers, and often gets them on the front foot in sticky situations. His abrasive work around the pitch could be a deciding factor in the game if Scotland can’t contain him.