Alasdair Strokosch has vowed to fight fire with fire when England arrive at Murrayfield to compete for the Calcutta Cup on Saturday in the RBS 6 Nations Championship.
The visitors will start as odds-on favourites to retain the famous silverware but Strokosch insists England’s players are “no better” than Frank Hadden’s men.
Brian Ashton’s side shocked France in Paris in their last outing, on the same day that Scotland slumped to their third heavy defeat in succession, losing to Ireland in Dublin.
But Strokosch believes an upset could be on the cards as long as Scotland can neutralise England’s powerful pack.
“They are traditionally strong in the forwards and are very physical, so you’ve got to take that side of their game away from them,” said the 25-year-old.
Strokosch has played in winning teams against England at under-18, under-19, under-21 and ‘A’ level, and now he wants to complete the set.
“You’ve got to step up and hit them harder than they can hit you,” he said, “so that they struggle to get any sort of momentum going.
“Once we have done that, we are going to have to take the initiative and play a bit of rugby ourselves. You don’t have five or 10 minutes to get into the game, you’ve got to be firing from the word go.”
The blindside flanker has been playing his club rugby with high-flying Gloucester in the Premiership this season.
His experiences in England, since moving from Edinburgh last summer, have convinced him Scotland have nothing to fear against Ashton’s men.
“It helps playing with and against those guys every week. You see what they are like and you quickly realise that they are not the super-heroes the English media tend to make them out to be. They are no better than us,” said the 25-year-old.
“It’s just a matter of getting over that mental block and getting stuck into them.”