Scotland hooker Stuart McInally has admitted England have recovered well from losing their Calcutta Cup clash on the opening weekend of the Guinness Six Nations.
Despite the Scots prevailing 20-17 in what was a tense and dramatic encounter in Edinburgh last month, it is England who have gone on to better things since, cruising to victory at Italy before holding off a Welsh fightback at Twickenham.
Meanwhile, Scotland have been unable to match their performance against the England, in front of a cacophonous BT Murrayfield, instead falling to defeats against Wales and France.
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All that means Eddie Jones' side are the ones still in with a chance of claiming the title, ahead of Saturday's must-win match against Ireland at Twickenham.
McInally said: "In the Six Nations, you get such a short period of time to look at teams.
"We invested so much in England in the first week, but then that game was done, and it was won, and then it was on to Wales.
"You then have to invest fully in Wales, but you watch the games, you're in the team hotels and we can if it's on a day where we're not playing.
"We've been following England and Ireland and we've been watching all the games because it's interesting and you want to see where that affects you in the table.
"They've done well - they went to Italy and got a great win there and I thought they played some good rugby against Wales as well, so they've certainly done alright since that first game."
Scotland's focus is now on Saturday afternoon's match against Italy in Rome, with the clash between the two being the first to have The Cuttitta Cup at stake.
The new trophy was unveiled in Edinburgh on Monday and has been named in honour of former Italy prop Massimo Cuttitta who died, aged 54, in April last year after contracting Covid-19.
Cuttitta won 70 caps for the Azzurri - captaining them on 22 occasions - before spending six years as Scotland's scrum coach from 2009.
McInally, who transitioned from flanker to hooker when Cuttitta was coaching at Edinburgh, said: "I remember working with Massimo when I first started playing for Edinburgh in 2010/11. I was a back-rower then. I didn't really understand the technicalities of what he was saying but I was blown away by his passion for such a unique area. It was all he cared about.
"When I moved to hooker, he was fundamental in the conversations around that. I wanted to know if he thought I could do it and he was certain that I could physically.
"He said he would work closely with me and he did. I have such fond memories working with him and it was so sad when we heard last year that he had died.
"It's such a fitting idea (to create The Cuttitta Cup) and it's so nice to know that every time Scotland play Italy, he'll be there in some way. It will be really emotional and hopefully we can win it and bring it back to Scotland and bring back a bit of his legacy."
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