The former captain has had preciously little time to shape his new vision for the future after succeeding Eddie Jones, who was sacked by the RFU after seven years in charge in December after 2022 saw England’s worst set of calendar-year results since 2008.
But with a World Cup looming large in France in September, time is of the essence as former Leicester supremo Borthwick aims to get England quickly back on track and into title contention after two successive years of Six Nations disappointment that totalled six defeats.
With trips to Cardiff and Dublin on tap and reigning Grand Slam champions France due to visit HQ, a win against the auld enemy would be a great way to kick off the new regime.
This could be Gregor Townsend’s last Six Nations campaign as Scotland’s head coach and, with maverick playmaker Finn Russell in the fold, he will be aiming for a hat-trick of Calcutta Cup triumphs after making some very bold-looking selection calls.
England vs Scotland is the second game on the slate on the first Six Nations Saturday (February 4) in 2023, after Wales played Ireland in Cardiff.
The match is due to get underway at 4:45 pm GMT, at Twickenham Stadium in southwest London.
How to watch England vs Scotland
TV channel: In the UK, England vs Scotland is being broadcast live and free-to-air on ITV1, with coverage beginning at 4 pm.
Live stream: Fans can also catch all the action live online via the ITVX app or ITV website.
LIVE coverage: You can follow the Calcutta Cup live with Standard Sport’s dedicated blog, featuring expert analysis from rugby correspondent Nick Purewal at Twickenham.
Borthwick’s first England lineup sees a debut for flying London Irish wing Ollie Hassell-Collins opposite Saracens’ Max Malins, while a glut of midfield injuries means that the Marcus Smith-Owen Farrell axis at fly-half and inside centre is at least temporarily restored.
But it’s Joe Marchant who gets the nod outside them at 13, with Manu Tuilagi omitted completely from the squad while fully fit and healthy for the first time in his career.
Jack van Poortvliet will push the pace from scrum-half, while in the front row Jamie George is fit to start after passing the necessary return-to-play protocols after a concussion.
The towering Ollie Chessum partners Maro Itoje in the second row, with Borthwick settling on a back-row trio of Lewis Ludlam, Ben Curry and Alex Dombrandt.
It is only Curry’s second cap after his first 17 months ago, with twin brother Tom sidelined with a hamstring strain. Vice-captain Courtney Lawes, Elliot Daly, Henry Slade, Dan Kelly, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Will Stuart and George McGuigan are among the other notable injury absentees, while Jonny Hill and Jack Willis have both been released back to their clubs, along with Bevan Rodd, Joe Heyes, Alex Mitchell, Cadan Murley and Guy Porter.
For Scotland, there are a number of intriguing selections. Bath-bound superstar Russell will pull the strings from fly-half, with London Irish’s former England Under-20 international Ben White picked at 9 and Huw Jones lining up instead of Chris Harris outside influential Australian-born Glasgow team-mate Sione Tuipulotu in midfield. Kyle Steyn deputises for injured wing Darcy Graham, meanwhile.
Stuart Hogg is fit after a heel injury, with Duhan van der Merwe also ready following an ankle issue. Edinburgh’s Luke Crosbie earns only his third cap in the back row, though talismanic flanker Hamish Watson and key prop Zander Fagerson both miss out on the squad led by Jamie Ritchie and Grant Gilchrist.
There is also no Ali Price or Sean Maitland, with Blair Kinghorn only on the bench. George Horne backs up White instead of Price, who isn’t involved.
England vs Scotland lineups
England XV: Steward; Malins, Marchant, Farrell (c), Hassell-Collins; Smith, Van Poortvliet; Genge, George, Sinckler, Itoje, Chessum, Ludlam, B Curry, Dombrandt.
Replacements: Walker, M Vunipola, Cole, Isiekwe, Earl, Youngs, Lawrence, Watson.
Scotland XV: Hogg; Steyn, Jones, Tuipulotu, Van der Merwe; Russell, White; Schoeman, Turner, Nel; R Gray, Gilchrist; Ritchie (c), Crosbie, M Fagerson.
Replacements: Brown, Bhatti, Berghan, J Gray, Dempsey, Horne, Kinghorn, Harris.
England vs Scotland head-to-head (h2h) history and results
Scotland has not lost at Twickenham now since 2017 having previously not won there at all for some 38 years, having won 11-6 on their last visit in 2021 and producing that stunning 38-all comeback draw two years previously.
A 20-17 victory at Murrayfield last February thanks to late penalty try drama gave them successive Calcutta Cup wins for the first time since 1984.
England wins: 76
Scotland wins: 45
England vs Scotland prediction
A relative lack of preparation time and no shortage of injuries mean this is not the XV that Borthwick would ideally want to have picked, with the Smith-Farrell partnership proving hugely divisive having failed to fire again during a dreary autumn.
Questions will also be asked of that back-row combination given the sheer depth available. Hassell-Collins, however, offers real pace, finishing and physicality out wide, while the likes of Malins, Van Poortvliet and the excellent Freddie Steward should help England play at pace.
There’s plenty of size and physicality in the pack, which should help the hosts to secure plenty of crucial front-foot balls across the game. However, a very intriguing Scotland team also has a nice blend of energy, ruggedness and power, which they will feel is enough to start the Six Nations with another bang.
England vs Scotland odds
England won: 2/7
Scotland won: 3/1
England vs Scotland Preview
With these two bets in mind, here’s a brief look at how each team is shaping up:
England will quickly be looking to regroup and build some momentum into the World Cup under Steve Borthwick. They have a prime opportunity here as well, with Scotland, Italy and Wales as their first three Six Nations games, followed by France at home. They’re a long shot to win the tournament but could very well head into the final week still in with a chance—provided they get the points here against Scotland.
England team: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Max Malins, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Owen Farrell (c), 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Jack van Poortvliet, 8 Alex Dombrandt, 7 Ben Curry, 6 Lewis Ludlam, 5 Ollie Chessum, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Ellis Genge, 16 Jack Walker, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Nick Isiekwe, 20 Ben Earl, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Ollie Lawrence, 23 Anthony Watson.
The Scots have quite enjoyed travelling to Twickenham of late, winning this fixture 11-6 the last time they were here, and drawing the year before that. They come into 2023 off the back of a solid end to 2022 which saw them pick up solid wins over Fiji and Argentina, and narrowly lose to Australia and New Zealand. They’ll be targeting two wins minimum in this campaign, and would love to get another over next-door neighbours England.
Scotland team: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Kyle Steyn, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Sione Tuipulotu, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ben White, 8 Matt Fagerson, 7 Luke Crosbie, 6 Jamie Ritchie (c), 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Richie Gray, 3 WP Nel, 2 George Turner, 1 Pierre Schoeman, 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Jamie Bhatti, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Jonny Gray, 20 Jack Dempsey, 21 George Horne, 22 Blair Kinghorn, 23 Chris Harris.
England vs Scotland Head to Head
England leads the head-to-head between these two teams with 76 wins to Scotland’s 45, while they’ve drawn 19 times. However, Scotland has won the previous two encounters, with the latest a 20-17 victory in Edinburgh in 2022.