Scotland need courage and belief to scupper Auld Enemy
Every underdog has its day, and here's how I want Scotland to play. Sounds like a poem but it's not.
When you play rugby for Scotland you are always the underdog. And if you happen to win a game you have been "spoiling" or the other team made lots and lots of mistakes, thereby explaining their mysterious loss.
When you compare two neighbouring countries, the roles of favourite and underdog are never more clearly defined that when it's Scotland against England. It's the smallest country in the Six Nations against the biggest in terms of players - two million versus 36,000.
I mean why turn up?
The reason I wrote this article is I just watched the Glasgow Under-18 team, who hadn't won a game in the championship, beat Caledonia Under-18s, despite having a man sent off after 10 minutes. Sometimes you just win games...
The author and broadcaster Ludovic Kennedy wrote a book called In Bed with an Elephant, which examined the relationship between our two countries and concluded that we are bound to distrust each other.
There is after all a border. Me? I was born in Malaysia and it strikes me that all neighbouring countries have tensions between them, which then carry into sporting contests.
An alien would find it barking mad, but it's true. You only fall out with your neighbour, not someone who lives five cities away.
This time there is some added spice with an Englishman Andy Robinson in charge of the Scots, but I interviewed him at a dinner last week and he says there is no split loyalty. He is there to try to make England lose.
How should Scotland play? Well, honesty time here because I think that there was tentativeness to Scotland in Italy after a loss of confidence brought about by snatching a defeat by Wales from the jaws of victory.
I saw indecision when I replayed the tape of the Italian game.
Frankly, for the Scots to win this weekend they have to throw off the last three games and rip into England. If there is any hesitancy this weekend, any indecision, any lack of passion, then I am afraid it will be another loss.
A lot will depend on the weather. England will be better, their backs will lie flatter, and I suspect they will want to batter the Scottish forwards.
I like trying to batter the opposition's strength so I'd like to see Scotland run at the English pack, get them on the ground, then move the ball to midfield or wider still.
My guess is that England, too, will want an up-tempo game.
The key factors are: will Jonny Wilkinson turn in a world class performance? If he does England will win. Will England's pack getthe upper hand? Again, if they do, Scotland lose. Can England keep cool heads at Murrayfield and not panic? If so, ditto...
Will Scotland get clean, quick possession, keep it in contact, recycle quickly, and get over the gain line? If that happens there's a sniff. Will Scotland get parity or possibly ascendancy at scrum time? Again, that's a winning platform.
And will the Scottish players play with courage, belief, pattern, and real abrasion, with, and this is vital, Dan Parks on song?
If that happens, my friends, Scotland will win. I need to go away now and get my pulse back down.
What do you think?