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England hooker Dylan Hartley is ready for the intensity of Sunday’s Calcutta Cup showdown with Scotland having watched Braveheart – and is 25/1 with Victor Chandler to score either the first or last try of the game
The 1995 film, which starred Mel Gibson, depicts the tale of Sir William Wallace and Scotland’s century struggle for independence against King Edward the first.
Anglo-Scottish history does not come naturally to Hartley, reared in Rotorua on New Zealand’s north island before moving to England eight years ago. But he has been left in no doubt about the deep-set rivalry that exists between England and Scotland – having born the brunt of most of it.
Wales coach Warren Gatland opened the Six Nations by goading Hartley as a choker and a coward in a failed attempt at provoking a reaction. Now, Scotland have singled out the Northampton captain. Coach Andy Robinson claimed Hartley "milked penalties" at the scrum and Ross Ford accused him of sledging.
Hartley’s response to Gatland was perfect – he delivered arguably his best performance in the red rose jersey as England won 26-19. And he is ready for anything Scotland throw at him at Twickenham.
Hartley said: "I feel I’ve made quite a significant step as a Test player, I’ve removed a question mark. To go down to Wales and do what we did there gave me self-confidence. It showed everyone I can do it.
"Every team we’ve played against hates us and want to beat us so passionately. We expect it from every team now. I wouldn’t say I know all the history between the two countries, but as I’ve watched Braveheart I understand a bit of it."
England are massive favourites at 1/16 to be victorious, with the visitors a 15/2 shot.