Victory is everything to England skipper Vickery

Last updated at 15:27 06 March 2008

Points could mean prizes for England in this season's RBS 6 Nations Championship - but captain Phil Vickery admits he would accept a 3-0 or 9-6 victory over Scotland on Saturday.

Vickery has rightly urged caution amid expectations in some quarters of an England try-fest at Murrayfield.

England need to win - and win well - given their vastly-inferior points difference when compared with tournament leaders Wales.

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On the ball: Vickery leads the way in training this week

Vickery, though, is well aware of a red rose history littered with some significant failures in Edinburgh, such as losing two Grand Slams, in 1990 and 2000, and suffering a 33-6 battering in 1986.

England also lost on their last visit to the Scottish capital - only centre Jamie Noon, prop Andrew Sheridan and lock Steve Borthwick survive from an 18-12 defeat two years ago - so Vickery is wary of fanciful expectations.

He said: "If you are solely focused on what has happened in the past, you would be quite a sad person.

"There is no doubt we have the capability to win this weekend, but it's no good talking about it, we have to go out and perform, and we haven't performed consistently well enough at Murrayfield.

"If you don't perform you go home as a losing team, full stop."

While England target their third successive Six Nations away win this season, Scotland have scored just one try in three games and lost the lot.

Realistically, the wooden spoon beckons unless they can either turn England over or beat Italy in Rome on Saturday week.

But Vickery added: "Why they've not been firing, I am not quite sure, but if they do get it right I think they could pose a huge amount of problems for us.

"This England team has generally performed when it has had its back against the wall. When they've had a pretty bad time of it, they've come out and shown a huge amount of resolve and grit.

"The challenge for us this weekend, coming off the back of a good win in France, is to mentally get back to those levels and a little bit more because we are going into an environment that is pretty hostile.

"That will be the biggest challenge, getting the same kind of physicality, the same mental approach and another 10% on top.

"If you look at the team Scotland have got, I don't know why they are not clicking, but if they do, they have got the potential to be a great side."

Vickery does not want to lead the team against which the Scots prove their mettle.

"What better an opportunity for a Scotland team that hasn't won a game to put a performance on. They've got nothing to lose and England are coming to town," he added.


Vickery (centre) against France

"We know we've got to be at the top of our game to get anything out of this game. People might talk about tries, but if it's 3-0 or 9-6, I don't care.

"I want to walk off after 80 minutes, having won the game. Hopefully we can have played some rugby along the way.

"We know what is going to face us. We know about everything that goes on before the game - pipers on the roof and every extra from Braveheart on the pitch. That's fantastic.

"We have to make sure we stay focused. We are rugby players who are there to play rugby. It's 40 minutes each way, 15 blokes on each team, same size pitch, and whoever scores the most points will win."

England, currently 53 points worse off than Wales in the points-difference stakes, have recovered solidly from the huge setback of an opening-weekend defeat.

Wales were England's Twickenham conquerors that February afternoon, fighting back from 13 points adrift to win 26-19 and celebrate a first victory at English rugby headquarters since 1988.

Vickery admitted: "The championship was out of our hands as soon as we lost our opening game.

"The Wales game was our first game in the competition, it was at home, and then we faced three away games on the bounce.

"When you've lost your first game with a reasonably new team in a reasonably new era that is making a reasonably new start, it is pretty demoralising.

"But the way people have handled themselves, and the reaction from players and staff has been fantastic."

The challenge for England this weekend is to build on their impressive 24-13 triumph against France in Paris 12 days ago, knowing that another away win could give them a fighting chance of achieving title glory when Ireland arrive at Twickenham next week.

And there will be no let-up in terms of Vickery's approach.

He added: "Whenever you play for your country, you should give everything because ultimately it could be your last chance.

"I think (England head coach) Brian (Ashton) has made that fairly clear.

"If you don't perform, you will be out, and no-one is under any illusions about that."

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