England wing Jonny May has urged his team-mates to gain a “mental edge” over Scotland before their Six Nations showdown at Murrayfield on Saturday evening.
England will tap into the “fear” induced by the haunting sound of the Flower of Scotland ringing around Murrayfield to summon the desire missing in defeat to France.
Wing Jonny May conceded the French showed more passion in Paris in what was a nightmare start to the Six Nations for England last weekend.
He hopes the Scottish anthem, with its anti-English sentiments, will trigger a fight not flight response from the World Cup finalists and help deliver the lightning start they are targeting.
“Just before the game they cut the music and they sing the anthem. It’s pretty special. You can imagine that would get them going,” said May.
“It gives you a bit of fear – but the right type because you have got to be ready out there. You have to find a way to make it bring out the best in you.
“Let’s make sure that we meet that challenge and make sure that we are ready for it.
“Rugby is a mental game. You can sense it, you can feel it, you can see it.
“When a team is on it and that mental edge is ‘out-edging’ that other team they probably win.
“We will know in the first five minutes where we’re at. I certainly want to show my team-mates that I’m ready and I hope we all do that.”
May took his total to 29 Test tries for England with his double in Paris but it was too little too late after a flat start from the side against the French in a performance which he admitted lacked emotion.
“Last week it was a new era for France, young players, Stade de France, first game of the championship. They did out-enthuse us, didn’t they?” said May.
“Was it a fact that they were just a little bit more up for it than us? Were we a little bit waiting to see, dipping our toes in, waiting to see what happened? Was it the fact that we made a few mistakes?
“You can pick a 100 reasons – you are never going to know what is the actual thing. But you have got to try to find a solution.
“This week it is the Calcutta Cup, they are at Murrayfield, they have a great record there, they had a pretty good performance last week, you know what it is coming.
“It is England v Scotland. It is a big game.”
Scotland captain Stuart Hogg, meanwhile, is intent on seeing Scotland jettison their reputation of being Six Nations plucky losers.
The Hogg era began in frustrating fashion with his botched touchdown attempt contributing to the extension of Scotland’s decade-long Dublin defeat streak.
So far, so familiar, but the Exeter full-back insists his side are capable of shedding their reputation.
“The tag that we’ve been given really hurts the players but we need to be in a position to win Test matches before that goes,” said captain Hogg.
“We get another opportunity tomorrow to make sure that’s gone. There’s a Calcutta Cup to play for and that’s all we’re concentrating on.
“We can’t stand back and admire England for too long. They’ve got some cracking individual players and are a quality side. They weren’t in a World Cup final for nothing.
“They are a world-class team and it’s going to take us to be at our best for the full 80 minutes to come away with the result we want.
“But we’re fully aware of that. That’s a huge exciting challenge for us – but we’re ready.”
Scotland have not held the Calcutta Cup for three successive years since 1972 but they will emulate Peter Brown’s side if they can if they win on Saturday.
Hogg continued: “I think I’ve made it pretty clear I’ve got a lot of respect for England. I’ve been fortunate enough to play for a few of their boys on Lions tours and they’re world class.
“But we want an opportunity to turn them over. I fully believe in our team, that we can do that and we’ll do everything in our power.
“I’ve been involved in a few Calcutta Cup matches now and come out on the wrong end a few times. But 2018 was definitely a highlight. Here’s hoping tomorrow we can emulate that.”