Sam Underhill: “The pressure is strong for England”
Eddie Jones’ men are heading to Scotland in need of a win.
Sam underhill admits that the “pressure is on” like England try to save their Guinness Six Nations pursuit of the title of oblivion at Murrayfield.
Underhill relishes an international rivalry that began in 1871 and spanned 137 tests as Eddie jonesThe men are looking to regain control of the Calcutta Cup for the first time in two years.
England kicked off the Six Nations with a complete 24-17 defeat to France and Underhill detects a desire to redeem an offensive performance suffered three months after their dismantling in the World Cup final by South Africa.
“For us the pressure is on, it’s something you can ignore and try to downplay or something you can embrace,” the Bath openenside said.
“We’re incredibly hungry. As for last week in particular, when you have a disappointing result, you want nothing more than another game.
“The fact that it’s a Calcutta Cup is probably even better for us because there’s more pressure and it’s ultimately something you have to give your best.
“The Calcutta Cup is a pretty big occasion. Every test is a big occasion, but there is a big rivalry here.
“From a personal point of view, I have a Scottish grandmother, a Scottish brother-in-law and one of my other sister’s boyfriends is Scottish, so I turn off my phone before the game!
“It’s good to have a little bit of an advantage in a game. That advantage will add to the sense of opportunity.”
Underhill won the sixth of their 16 caps at Murrayfield two years ago and it was an eye-opening experience as England began a five-test losing streak that produced their worst league result since the 1980s.
“I was on the bench, it was one of my first caps and my first experience here at Murrayfield,” said the 23-year-old.
“It was probably my first glimpse of the emotion of the occasion and I was naive before.
“We were booed from the bus, then the reaction of Scotland players when they won, saw the crowd and how much that means to everyone here.
“It’s definitely something to recognize and it’s definitely there – you can’t ignore it – especially when it’s as strong as Murrayfield. But it has to be embraced as a player.
“It’s still a pretty emotional sport. You need that emotional energy, especially in something like your defense.”
Storm Ciara is set to hit the UK this weekend with heavy rain and strong winds expected to hit Edinburgh at kick-off, but defense coach John Mitchell sees the weather event as part of the game .
“We’re up for anything. It’s definitely in our preparation,” said former All Blacks boss Mitchell.
“I don’t know who the weather will favor. Both teams will certainly have to adapt.”