"Finn vs Ford" - 3 Key Battles for Scotland vs England - 2024 Six Nations - Page 2 of 2 - Ruck

“Finn vs Ford” – 3 Key Battles for Scotland vs England – 2024 Six Nations


This weekend’s clash at fullback witnesses two returnees to the Six Nations stage, as Blair Kinghorn and George Furbank will hold down the rearguard at Murrayfield. Kinghorn returns to the Scotland starting XV after sustaining a knee injury, and is set for his first taste of action in the 2024 Six Nations. Kinghorn rose to prominence throughout last year’s Championships, as he made his competition debut to replace Stuart Hogg, as Scotland defeated England in the opening round.

Kinghorn went on to shine for the remainder of the 2023 Championships, as he added a try against Wales and a phenomenal hat-trick from fly half against Italy. The 27-year-old’s exuberant performances caught the attention of Top 14 giants Toulouse, and Kinghorn departed Edinburgh after the Rugby World Cup, in favour of his ongoing stint with the French club. Kinghorn’s opposite man for this weekend is George Furbank, with the Northampton Saints star set for his first taste of Test match action since the 2022 Six Nations.

Furbank received the go-ahead from Steve Borthwick, with no space for regular starting fullback Freddie Steward in the squad. Reports are that this is a tactical decision, with Steward fully fit and eligible for selection against the Scots. Furbank’s last appearence in the Six Nations was a sole run out against France, as the versatile back has struggled to hammer his name to a specific jersey on the international stage. Stunning performances for Northampton has elevated Furbank’s stock, as the Saints sit comfortably at the top of the Premiership, and are also enjoying an undefeated run in the Champions Cup.


This key battle may fall under the immediate radar, given it’s status away from the starting XV. However, as the match progresses at Murrayfield and bodies begin to tire, there will be few more important performances than those of the replacement loose forwards. Andy Christie and the returning George Martin will have the clear orders of lifting the tempo, and utilise their famed physicality to tip their side over onto the winning edge of the test match scales.

Christie and Martin’s greatest strengths are found to thrive in different areas of the game. Whilst Martin’s thunderous tackles and work rate makes him a cut above Christie in defence, the Leicester Tigers man does not pack the same punch on the front foot that the Saracen does. Christie relishes a line-break, and Martin loves sending his opponents to the deck. Both men will be upping the ante in the match’s closing moments, with plenty of pre-match discussion putting the two replacements in the spotlight.

George Martin of England Rugby during the Six Nations Championship match between England and France at Twickenham Stadium, Twickenham, London on March 13 2021. – PHOTO: Micah Crook/PPAUK

After repeatedly clattering into Wales centre Nick Tompkins, England number eight Ben Earl made it known that he loves playing against his Saracens teammates. Christie would in no doubt be on Earl’s radar, with the back-row battle getting the extra personal touch of a Saracens reunion. Martin’s long awaited return from a knee injury has put him in the forefront of the conversation this week, with England defence coach Kevin Sinfield delighted to have his man back. Sinfield discussed how Martin is ready to leave a mark on the unfortunate ball-carriers, just as he did on Springbok’s Franco Mostert, in what has become an iconic image of England defence.