Ben Stokes admitted his first reaction to hitting England’s highest one-day score was an apology to the man whose record he broke, Jason Roy.

Stokes smashed 182 as England romped to victory in the third ODI against New Zealand, with the entire touring side mustering just five more runs between them chasing 369.

For the 32-year-old Test captain the explosive innings was an thrilling vindication of his decision to come out of retirement and return to the fold ahead of next month’s World Cup defence in India.

As he smashed nine sixes and 15 fours over the course of 124 deliveries it was almost hard to imagine England going into battle without him.

But while head coach Matthew Mott and captain Jos Buttler must have been thanking their lucky stars the middle-order match-winner was back in business, Stokes himself made a beeline for Roy.

The opening batter missed out on a planned comeback after a being laid low by back spasms, confining him to a watching brief as Stokes leapfrogged the 180 Roy made in Melbourne in 2018.

After more than five years in top spot, Roy was passing over the crown and smiled broadly as he clapped his team-mate’s achievement.

“I just apologised to Jase upstairs,” Stokes said.

“He said ‘well done’ and I said ‘sorry’. I don’t think there was too much to it. He’ll be pretty happy he’s seen one of his team-mates, who he’s played a lot of cricket with, take that off him.

“But individual stuff like that I’m not too fussed about. I didn’t really know I’d done it until the bloke on the tannoy started announcing it and then I got out next ball. It was his fault!”

While Stokes was not inclined to talk up his own efforts, he did admit to a sense of satisfaction at spending an extended period in the middle and setting his side on the path to a handsome victory.

The winning margin of 181, one run less than his own personal score, said the rest.

“It’s good to come back in after a while out and put a big contribution into us winning the game,” he said.

“I think today was good for me, to get familiarity again with how 50-over cricket goes. To get that game awareness, game smartness.

“There was a couple of times I had to check myself – I looked up and there was still 23, 24 overs left. That’s how one-day cricket goes, you can find yourself going pretty well and you want to keep going but you look up at the scoreboard and have to drag yourself back.”

Buttler was happy with the way England responded to an early double from Trent Boult, who dismissed Jonny Bairstow with the opening ball of the day and followed up by dismissing Joe Root cheaply.

“We were tested losing two early wickets but it’s exactly what I wanted us to do, take more risks, be more on the front foot,” he told BBC’s Test Match Special.

“Ben’s played a few good ones, but to make the highest one-day score for England, that was amazing.”

The game was over as a contest long before the end came, Chris Woakes taking three for 31 in a clinical new-ball burst alongside Reece Topley. The pair made up amply for the continued absence of Mark Wood and Adil Rashid from the bowling ranks, shutting down the Kiwis response early on.

“I was absolutely delighted with that, I haven’t seen as good new-ball bowling in white-ball cricket for a while,” said Buttler.

“It was a fantastic opening spell.”

The series concludes at Lord’s on Friday before the rivals meet again in the World Cup curtain-raiser in Ahmedabad just over two weeks later.

With that contest in mind, Kiwi coach Gary Stead noted drily: “I don’t mind watching Ben Stokes. I’d rather he scored his runs now than on October 5.”

Ben Stokes sent out a World Cup warning to England’s rivals with a record-breaking 182 against New Zealand less than a month after reversing his ODI retirement.

Stokes, playing just his third 50-over match a year after walking away from the format, was in brutal form as he unloaded nine sixes and 15 fours on his way to the biggest score by an English batter.

The Test captain was England’s key man in 2019 and looks ready to reprise the role in India next month after blowing the one-day cobwebs away with a match-winning 124-ball innings that fired the hosts to 368.

New Zealand never got close, rounded up for 187 as the hosts closed out a 181-run thrashing to go 2-1 up with one game to play. The Black Caps managed just five more runs between them than Stokes thrashed on his own.

Jason Roy, the man who held the England record for more than five years since his 180 against Australia in Melbourne, was watching from the balcony as Stokes nudged him out of the history books.

The moment came in typically emphatic fashion, Stokes clobbering Ben Lister high over long-on, with Roy joining the crowd’s ovation with a smile on his face.

Roy had been pencilled in to make his comeback in the match but another bout of back spasms in the morning meant he was once again confined to the sidelines. With Harry Brook still angling to break into the 15-man World Cup squad, the timing could hardly be worse for an unpredictable niggle to emerge.

If there was one down side to Stokes’ first limited-overs century in six years it was the now familiar sight of him grimacing in pain as his chronic knee problems continued to hinder his movements.

Stokes has taken a calculated gamble that he can manage the condition in the weeks ahead but, even after a six-week post-Ashes lay-off, it was apparent that will not be an easy job.

Dawid Malan had a better time of it than Roy, scrubbing any lingering question marks next to his name with an accomplished 96 at opener. He shared a stand of 199 with Stokes after the pair were brought together in the third over at 13 for two and would have been good value for a century of his own.

His innings was less muscular than Stokes and he could not keep up with his partner’s furious strike-rate of 146.77 but Malan was a calm, authoritative presence at the top order despite dashing back from the birth of his second child to reclaim his spot. England are lucky to have him and any accommodation for Brook would surely have to come at somebody else’s expense.

The Yorkshireman was only edged out of the team in the first place by Stokes’ change of heart and the value of having him around was proved over and over again as he imposed himself on a side who will provide England’s first World Cup opponents in Ahmedabad.

Stokes’ timing was not perfect during his first 50 runs, throwing himself into powerful shots that relied more on will-power and brute force than touch and technique.

But he warmed to his task, taking just 32 balls to convert his half-century and 30 more to go from 100 to 150. His adaptability was on show throughout, with Lockie Ferguson cranking it up to 94mph at one stage only to be despatched repeatedly to the ropes as he strove for speed. At one stage he nonchalantly stepped inside the line of a short ball and helped it over his right shoulder for a one-bounce four.

When New Zealand took pace off, it got even uglier as Stokes hit Rachin Ravindra out of the attack with three sixes in two chastening overs. Once Malan was strangled down leg off a Trent Boult delivery so wayward it was initially called as a wide, New Zealand picked up wickets with enough regularity to bowl England out with 11 balls unused.

Boult, who began by dismissing Jonny Bairstow off the first ball of the match and had Joe Root playing on in his next over, finished in credit at five for 51 amid some messy figures.

Stokes finally departed in the 45th over, mis-hitting a low full toss from Lister two balls after beating Roy’s record.

The Kiwi chase never got off the ground, an excellent new ball spell from Chris Woakes reducing them to 37 for four. He took care of Will Young, Henry Nicholls and Daryl Mitchell to suck the heat out of the contest.

The ground began to empty despite the best efforts of Glenn Phillips (72), with Liam Livingstone helping himself to three cheap wickets at the close.

England boss Sarina Wiegman has said she is “very worried” about the playing calendar after naming her squad for this month’s Women’s Nations League double-header.

The Lionesses return to action, after their defeat in the World Cup final on August 20, by facing Scotland in Sunderland a week on Friday and the Netherlands in Utrecht four days later to open their campaign in the new competition.

The Arsenal players in her squad – forward Alessia Russo and defender Lotte Wubben-Moy – took part in Champions League qualifying matches last Wednesday and Saturday.

Wiegman, whose players started their pre-World Cup preparation camp on June 19, told a press conference on Wednesday when asked if she was concerned about the calendar and time off: “Yes, I am very worried.

“I was worried before the World Cup, and we knew this was a very short turnaround.

“It’s a bigger thing – we’re all talking about the calendar and we really have to get connected with FIFA, UEFA, the federations, and we have to make that better.

“Of course the game is growing, which is really good. But it has to grow together and players need some rest too.

“Next week they come in and some players only had six days off, which after such a high-level, high-pressure competition is not good for them. And that has been going on for a long time, because we have major tournaments in the summer all the time. So the urgency to solve it and make it better is really, really high.

“The players will come in and we first have to see how they are physically, and we have to get them fresh, and do everything to do that. That’s going to be a challenge.

“Of course you have the team and you want to perform at the highest level, and also you want players to be fresh. For me and my staff it’s balancing (the) two – is this player fit enough, fresh enough, to play the game? That’s balancing, it’s so intense, and players are not robots.”

She added: “I’ve talked to coaches. I think everyone’s aware that we have to speak with each other and we can do a little better, and we all know it’s pretty complex.

“But I think conversations are going on, and we just need to keep doing that and hopefully find better solutions than we had.”

Exeter forward Dafydd Jenkins will achieve another milestone moment when he makes his first Rugby World Cup start in Saturday’s clash against Portugal.

The 20-year-old lock has made rapid strides during an international career that only began last season with a Test debut against autumn opponents Georgia.

Having already captained the Chiefs in a Gallagher Premiership game, Jenkins quickly became an important part of Wales squads under head coach Warren Gatland.

And he was in the thick of it during his 22 minutes off the bench in Wales’ gripping 32-26 victory over opening Pool C opponents Fiji last weekend.

It proved a huge defensive rearguard from Gatland’s team as Fiji pushed for an unlikely win from 18 points adrift.

“It is a privilege to be with the group,” Jenkins said.

“I just want to try and leave the 20-year-old younger version of myself behind and push on forward, be a more experienced player at this level and competing hard.”

Jenkins’ father Hywel, a back-row forward for Swansea and Neath, went close to full international honours, representing Wales A and then Wales in an uncapped game against the United States.

And Jenkins’ rugby apprenticeship continued at Hartpury College in Gloucestershire, a renowned academy for the sport with an impressive list of past students that also includes Louis Rees-Zammit, Ellis Genge and Jonny May.

Exeter boss Rob Baxter contacted Jenkins during his time at Hartpury, and a move to Sandy Park followed in 2021, where he quickly broke into Chiefs’ Champions Cup and Premiership teams.

At 6ft 7in and around 18 stone, he has made his presence felt, but he is also performing an important off-field role during his first World Cup.

As Wales’ youngest squad member, he is entrusted with carrying a giant carved lovespoon – a traditional Welsh symbol of love and affection – at major events during the tournament.

Prop Rhys Carre performed those duties four years ago in Japan, and former Dragons centre Tyler Morgan at the 2015 World Cup in England.

“I haven’t lost it yet which is good,” Jenkins added. “A few boys are definitely eyeing it up, so I have to keep it away from them.

“It was really special (in Bordeaux for the Fiji game). The crowd was amazing, a different experience to what I have had before.

“We saw videos before the game from Bordeaux of Welsh fans singing in the town. It was more the atmosphere that was a bit different.”

Less than a month after reversing his ODI retirement, Ben Stokes broke England’s batting record in the format with a blistering innings of 182 against New Zealand.

Stokes, playing his third match since agreeing to return to 50-over cricket, usurped Jason Roy’s five-year old record of 180 in emphatic fashion with his ninth six of a brutal innings.

He fell two balls later, denying him the chance of becoming England’s first double-centurion, but over the course of 124 deliveries he proved just what the side have been missing during his year-long one-day absence.

Keira Walsh is missing from England’s first squad since the Women’s World Cup due to injury.

As well as midfielder Walsh, forward Bethany England also drops out, ruled out after undergoing hip surgery last week.

There is no recall at this stage for Beth Mead despite her returning to Arsenal’s matchday squad as an unused substitute in their Champions League qualifying games last week.

And the same applies to Fran Kirby, who has been involved in pre-season with Chelsea – both sat out the World Cup because of injury.

Sarina Wiegman’s 24-player selection sees Maya Le Tissier, Lucy Staniforth and Jess Park brought back into the fold.

Le Tissier and Staniforth were on the standby list ahead of the summer’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, the latter replacing Park, who withdrew because of a shoulder issue.

Wiegman’s World Cup runners-up play Scotland at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light a week on Friday and the Netherlands in Utrecht four days later in the new women’s Nations League.

Wiegman said: “By the time we play our first game, it will be little more than a month since the World Cup final. We have had little time to reflect on all we have achieved so far this year.

“Instead, we will have to make sure the players are fresh enough and ready to perform straight away, if we want to go far in another competition.

“We will play a derby match against Scotland and they have shown good development recently and are getting stronger and stronger, while we know all about the Netherlands of course, and the very talented players they have.

“It is the first time we have had the Nations League in the women’s game, and it will mean even more competitive matches for us to test ourselves.

“While the time to look back on a special period for us will come at the end of the year, it will be good to see the fans again in Sunderland. We have a great connection with the north east and I know they will give us tremendous support again.”

Kevin Sinfield insists England do not have a discipline problem as they look to draw a line under their latest red-card setback that resulted in a two-match ban for Tom Curry.

England did not contest Curry’s dismissal for a dangerous tackle in Saturday’s 14-man demolition of Argentina when the Sale openside appeared before a brief virtual hearing on Tuesday.

After the disruption caused to their World Cup preparations by the Owen Farrell and Billy Vunipola incidents last month, England are keen to focus all their attention on Sunday’s Pool D showdown with Japan.

And while continuing to hone their tackle technique in training, defence coach Sinfield is satisfied there is no deep-rooted problem.

“Discipline-wise, we gave away seven penalties at the weekend,” Sinfield said.

“I don’t think we’ve got a discipline problem, I thought it was really unfortunate what happened at the weekend. It’s been different from the other challenges that have taken place.

“We continue to work on our tackle skill – and work incredibly hard. The guys have bought into it and have done so for some time, but they’re human and they make mistakes. We’ve got to understand that.

“And unfortunately we’ve had to deal with four red cards in six games. We’re getting pretty good at defending with 14 men, but we want to have our full complement on the field for as long as possible at all times.

“So we hope to improve that area, but it’s tricky to pinpoint exactly what that is.

“We’ll spend time with Tom and put him through tackle school and work incredibly hard with him again. We’ll get him right for a couple of weeks’ time.”

Observers have been left scratching their heads by the inconsistent refereeing evident during the opening round of World Cup matches.

While Curry was given his marching orders for his third-minute clash of heads with Juan Cruz Mallia, similar incidents involving players from South Africa and Chile went unpunished.

On this occasion England could be justified for nursing a sense of grievance at the way the cards have fallen against them and Sinfield admits the disparity between decisions makes a player’s job harder.

“I think it makes life really difficult for the players, first and foremost, and that’s what we’re all here for,” Sinfield said.

“We all want to see the players out on the field, we want to see the best players in the world go head to head. We’ve just got to be careful.

“We control what we can control. We’re in full support of the rules and regulations. We try and train as hard as we can, but within the laws of the game and we’ll continued to do that.”

England name their team to face Japan on Friday night and Sinfield insists there will be no room for sentimentality when making any tight calls.

“At the top of the list is to win the game to we pick the team that we think gives us the best chance of winning,” Sinfield said.

“Within that there’s always a balance, but we’re in a World Cup and we’re not here to give people game-time, we’re here to win games.

“We’re not here to give Test shirts out because someone deserves one, we’re here because we have to win games.”

Lauren Filer has been in striking form for England this summer but is looking at making improvements to her action this winter which could help her bowl even quicker.

One of the fastest women’s bowlers around, Filer rose to prominence as she was selected for an England debut in the lone Ashes Test, justifying her inclusion with four wickets, including Ellyse Perry twice.

Her extra pace and bounce put a number of Australia batters on alert and it has been a similar theme in the ongoing ODI series against Sri Lanka, where she has claimed five wickets in her first two matches.

But the 22-year-old is not resting on her laurels and, while upping her speed is not a priority, some technical tweaks she intends to work on could have the knock-on effect of her becoming even more brisk.

“I know I can definitely bowl quicker,” she told the PA news agency. “I think there’s a few things to work on in the winter that will probably help me do that.

“I jump quite high so I probably need to go more forward in my bound so all the momentum is going forward. Hopefully everything is going a bit quicker so everything comes out a little bit quicker.

“But being quicker is not the main aim, it’s something that’s there and if it happens, it happens, and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I’m not too worried about that, I just want to bowl the best for the team.

“I feel like the role that I have, I really enjoy doing. Taking wickets is something I’m trying to do every ball. It’s nice to be able to contribute.”

Filer’s influence and what she brings to the team have seen her labelled a “massive crowd favourite” by England captain Heather Knight.

“I’m trying not to think too much of the outside noise, just thinking about what I want to do and how I’m going to impact the game,” Filer said.

“It’s always nice to have the crowd’s backing and clapping you when you’re running in, it boosts yourself to bowl even quicker.”

Filer’s immediate focus is on England’s final assignment of a memorable summer in the third ODI against Sri Lanka, who will be looking to level the series at Grace Road on Thursday.

The tourists, who a claimed a shock win in the preceding T20 series, were spared by rain on Tuesday after lurching to 106 for nine, the same total they were bowled out for in Saturday’s series opener.

Filer claimed a couple of wickets in Northampton, including setting up Harshitha Samarawickrama with bouncers before tempting the Sri Lanka number three with a fuller delivery which she edged behind.

“My natural length is always going to be a bit back of a length so the fuller ball is probably the surprise ball, rather than the other way around,” Filer said.

“I get bounce with my height but if the pitch helps me as well, it gives that extra threat. People are probably just a little more wary of the bounce that I can get.

“It’s something I want to try to use as much as possible because I know there’s probably not a lot of it about in the women’s game. It’s a tool in my tool box.”

While two polished collective bowling displays have subdued Sri Lanka, Filer remains wary of the threat the tourists possess.

“We just want to end the summer on a high,” Filer added. “We had a convincing win over them in the first T20 and they bounced back really well. I wouldn’t take anything for granted.”

Gareth Southgate was delighted with his players’ commitment, togetherness and mentality over the last week as England continue to build towards their goal of winning Euro 2024.

Having reached the final of the last edition and impressed in December’s World Cup quarter-final exit to France, the focus is on finally getting their hands on silverware in Germany next summer.

Winning their first four Group C matches means it has long been a case of when rather than if England seal their place at the finals, but Saturday’s drab 1-1 qualification draw against Ukraine brought criticism.

Southgate’s side bounced back with a slick 3-1 friendly win over old foes Scotland at Hampden Park on Tuesday, bringing a successful camp came to a victorious end.

“We’re building all the time,” the England manager said. “We want to keep improving, we keep pushing the players.

“We’ve been able to experiment a bit this week as well. Two new centre-backs (Marc Guehi and Lewis Dunk) have come in, relatively inexperienced, and both done really well.

“But some of our senior players are so influential – (Kyle) Walker and (Kieran) Trippier were absolutely outstanding (against Scotland).

“The impact of our senior players on this group just can’t be underestimated.

“Of course, a lot of the headlines will go to some of our younger players and understandably so, but the way that the group form and the way they are as a team is key to getting the types of performance we have (last night).”

Southgate’s team are among the favourites to win next summer’s Euros and former international Joe Cole called this side the best England team he has seen his lifetime.

“Everybody else can assess that,” the manager said when that was put to him after their impressive Hampden Park triumph.

“I think we want to keep pushing the players.

“I was really pleased with the week. If you’d said to me before the game, ‘How’s the week been?’ I’d have said, ‘Excellent’.

“The players have been fully committed, encouraged each other, trained really well, responded well to a disappointing performance but a really important and good result in Ukraine.

“We wanted the sort of mentality that we showed, and they produced that. They were absolutely excellent (at Hampden).”

It was an impressive team effort with Real Madrid star Jude Bellingham at its heart in Mount Florida.

The 20-year-old played a role in Phil Foden’s opener and three minutes later fired home his second international goal.

Bellingham did not stop there as he capped a man-of-the-match display with a fine assist for Harry Kane after Harry Maguire’s own goal temporarily gave Hampden hope.

“Well, he was excellent,” Southgate said of the young midfielder. “We thought that position might cause a problem.

“I mean, we knew we needed athleticism there to press Scotland because their midfield players can dictate games if you allow them, so that was that was key.

“But we knew the way we played the system might create a bit of an overload and his powerful running forwards with Marcus (Rashford) as well, in particular when Harry was dropping low and Phil was dropping low, that gave us a real outlet.

“So, it was a nice balance to the team with Kalvin (Phillips) and Dec (Rice) doing a brilliant job of mopping up, destroying things and keeping the ball ticking over well.”

Players now return to club matters before convening next month for a Wembley friendly against Australia and qualifier under the arch against Euro 2020 winners Italy.

The Group C leaders’ advantage at the top could be cut to three points by the time they host the Azzurri, but bookmakers’ odds of 1-250 on England to qualify for Euro 2024 highlights their position of strength.

Scotland are also on the cusp of qualification having won their first five qualifiers.

Steve Clarke’s men would have even qualified on Tuesday had Norway and Georgia drawn, but instead the wait continues as they head to second-placed Spain next month looking respond to a deflating loss to the Auld Enemy.

Put to Southgate that there appears to be a big gap between England and Scotland, he said: “No, I just think, look, we played exceptionally well.

“We were able to nullify a lot of the threats that Scotland pose, so it was a really good performance from us.

“I think Scottish fans should be really proud of how their team are going and the job Steve’s doing.

“I’m sure there’ll be a huge reaction to the result, but we’ve just said that for three days and I’m sure Steve’s sensible enough to keep calm about that.

“We played well, we’ve won the game, but on another night that can look very different.”

Aaron Ramsdale praised Harry Maguire for his continued “outstanding” England displays as the under-fire defender blocks out unrelenting criticism and scrutiny.

The world’s most expensive defender was named in the Euros team of the tournament in 2021, but game time and form at Manchester United have dropped off since then.

Gareth Southgate has stuck by Maguire and brought him on at half-time in Tuesday’s 3-1 friendly win over Scotland, during which he was mocked mercilessly by the Hampden Park crowd before scoring an own goal.

Furious Southgate believes the reaction was as a result of wider “ridiculous” criticism of the defender, which he called “a joke” and said was “beyond anything I’ve ever seen”.

England fans backed Maguire and chanted his name in Glasgow, with team-mates like goalkeeper Ramsdale also offering support to the oft-criticised centre-back.

“Harry Maguire has had criticism for the past 18 months, two years,” he said. “It hasn’t affected him.

“His performances for England have been nigh on outstanding, that’s why he keeps getting picked and played. Simple as that.

“I don’t think a few whistles and groans from the fans are going to change his mindset.

“He had 45 minutes in a game where I thought he played well, kept the ball for us and one unfortunate own goal, if you want to call it that, and people are going to start talking about him and I don’t think it’s needed.”

Ramsdale said Maguire was “superb when he came on” and had no issues with his “really unfortunate” own goal.

“People will say he’s come on and scored an own goal, but if he has any doubt in his mind, I want my defender to try to clear it,” the Arsenal goalkeeper said.

“It’s a cross-shot, he’s tried to deal with it and eight times out of 10 it goes behind for a corner or he clears it.

“Every time he touched the ball the crowd got up and made noises and he dealt with it extremely well, played some lovely passes.

“I thought he accompanied Lewis (Dunk) and rest of the back four really well. Yeah, I’d want him to do that again 10 times over.”

Ramsdale won just his fourth England cap on Tuesday evening and was grateful for Maguire then, just as he has been since making his debut behind him in November 2021.

“He talks you through the game,” he said. “I remember that from my first cap.

“It was San Marino and obviously we won 10-0, but he talked me through the whole game, calmed me down at times and he did the same (against Scotland).

“So, it’s a real dream to play with him and, as I said, it’s just an unfortunate goal that people are going to highlight and it doesn’t need to be that way.”

But Ramsdale knows that everything is pored over in minute detail with England, whether it is Maguire’s selection, Phil Foden’s role or Southgate’s approach.

The team may also be under the microscope, but Ramsdale says that has helped to cultivate a special mentality within the group.

“You’re playing for England,” he said. “It’s the most scrutinised team in the world, I personally think.

“We’ve got so many good players, a pool of players, and everyone will have a different opinion on who should be playing and who shouldn’t be playing.

“I think that’s what makes us so strong as a group, the fact that we can brush things off and use the noise as outside noise and listen to ourselves.”

Put to Ramsdale that is easier said than done, he said: “Exactly, but two years ago we were playing in a European final and then we went to the World Cup and could have done a bit better in different circumstances and played against a good team in France.

“We’re so close to qualifying again and this group has been together so long and we’ve got such a great connection.

“Like you said, it’s easier said than done, but it’s one of the top qualities this group has, that it sticks together and block out any noise that we don’t want to hear.”

Tom Curry will be available for England’s final World Cup group game after receiving a two-match ban for his dangerous tackle against Argentina on Saturday.

Curry was shown a red card that was upgraded from yellow upon review following a clash of heads with Pumas full-back Juan Cruz Mallia in the third minute at Marseille’s Stade Velodrome.

A virtual disciplinary panel gave Curry a three-game suspension that will be reduced to two if he completes World Rugby’s ‘Coaching Intervention Programme’, otherwise known as tackle school.

It means the Sale openside will be available to face Samoa in Lille on October 7 in England’s final Pool D assignment.

Freddie Steward has revealed that England’s heroic defensive stand against Argentina was inspired by a blast from Kevin Sinfield that was delivered in the wake of their Fiji debacle.

Steve Borthwick’s team opened their World Cup campaign with a 27-10 victory on Saturday despite playing 77 minutes with 14 men after Tom Curry was shown a red card for a dangerous tackle.

It was England’s finest hour since Borthwick took over and it arrived just in time as, until that act of defiance at the Stade Velodrome, concerns were being raised over a defence that had leaked 30 tries in nine Tests.

A conclusive defeat by Fiji at Twickenham a fortnight earlier saw the team reach their lowest ebb – and Steward admits the players deserved the reaction from Sinfield that followed.

“We got a bit of a rocket after that game. There were no complaints about that, it needed to happen,” the Leicester full-back said.

“We had a very thorough review, which we needed, and we reaped the benefits against Argentina. It was necessary for that to happen.

“That’s what makes Kev such a good defence coach – he’s so inspiring. He motivates us so much and he’s the sort of bloke you don’t want to let down.

“That’s testament to him as a bloke. When you go out there, part of it is you do it for him.

“You don’t want to see a guy like that, who puts his heart and soul into us in his work with his defence, feel let down.

“Kev is big on covering each other’s backs. That’s his big thing. He wants a defensive unit that are going to work incredibly hard for each other and, when it goes wrong, cover up for each other.

“Inevitably, you can be as good a defender as you want as a full-back but there are going to be times where it doesn’t go to plan and that is where you get tested. That’s his main ethos.”

Now that England have successfully negotiated their biggest match since the 2019 World Cup final, they have been challenged by Sinfield to ensure their defensive masterclass in Marseille is not a one-off.

“It is just a start. We saw lots of what we had seen in training against Argentina, which is pleasing, but I still feel there is so much in this team – so much improvement, so much growth,” Sinfield said.

“To get the win, given the noise that has been around us and the way the group have really circled the wagons – metaphorically that is – is really pleasing.

“We saw a fight, a spirit and attitude that the people at home supporting us and in the ground would have loved to have seen, and for us as coaches that is particularly pleasing, (but) we know we need to be better.

“Part of our challenge as coaches and part of the challenge of the playing group is to ensure this is not an anomaly, it is the start.”

Curry faces a disciplinary hearing in Paris on Tuesday night when he is expected to learn the length of his ban for the dangerous challenge that led to a clash of heads with Juan Cruz Mallia.

Scotland host England in the 116th edition of international football’s oldest fixture on Tuesday.

Ahead of the old foes going toe-to-toe at Hampden Park, the PA news agency picks out some of the talking points.

History in the making

The game has been billed as the 150th Anniversary Heritage Match, to commemorate the advent of international football on November 30, 1872. At the West of Scotland Cricket Ground in Partick, a Scotland team exclusively made up of Queen’s Park players drew 0-0 with England, whose biggest contingent came from Oxford University. Other clubs represented were Notts County, Sheffield Wednesday, Cambridge University, the 1st Surrey Rifles and the now defunct Hertfordshire Rangers, Barnes and Harrow Chequers. Scotland’s passing game and the English tactic of running with the ball cancelled each other out in front of several thousand supporters.

Scotland bid to close the gap

England only lead 48-41 in the 116 meetings between the nations but Scottish wins, as well as the encounters themselves, have become scarcer in recent years. Scotland’s last home win came in the 1985 Rous Cup when Richard Gough headed the only goal, and their most recent victory was a bitter-sweet victory in 1999 when Don Hutchison headed a Wembley winner but England went through to Euro 2000 with a 2-1 play-off aggregate win. England have not lost in the past five meetings but the most recent two games were draws.

Attention elsewhere for Scotland fans

For probably the first time in the century-and-a-half of the fixture, many Scotland fans will be more concerned with a result elsewhere than what happens at Hampden. Scotland will become the first team to qualify for Euro 2024 if Norway and Georgia draw in Oslo. While the Scotland players will be focused on the task at hand, there might be some roars and celebrations from the home fans regardless of the situation in front of them.

Southgate balances progress with performance

England head to Hampden Park on the back of a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Ukraine in front of a partisan crowd in Poland. Gareth Southgate called it a good test in a hostile environment, just as he expects in Mount Florida on Tuesday night. This is England’s first friendly match since March 2022, after a run of 16 competitive matches taking in last year’s Nations League and World Cup before Euro 2024 qualification got under way. But do not expect too many changes as Southgate says it would be “ridiculous” to overly experiment against high-flying Scotland. “We’ve got to find the right balance of physical freshness – we’ve had a day less preparation – experience, finding out about some players, winning, playing well,” he said.

Southgate to give Colwill debut?

England’s development under Southgate has been impressive since he took charge in challenging circumstances in 2016, but there are plenty of questions to answer as next summer’s Euros come into view. Key among them is what to do at centre-back, given trusted lieutenant Harry Maguire’s lack of form and game time at Manchester United. Saturday’s match against Ukraine was his first start for club or country of the season, with Southgate seeing his experience as vital alongside Marc Guehi given John Stones and Tyrone Mings are out injured. Fikayo Tomori and Lewis Dunk are other centre-back options in the squad if Southgate wants to change things up against Scotland, as is uncapped Levi Colwill. The 20-year-old flourished on loan at Brighton and impressed since getting his chance at Chelsea this term. This would be a big occasion to make his debut but a great test for a player some have tipped to be a starter come Germany.

Gareth Southgate says Harvey Barnes is a player England “like a lot” and Kieran Trippier praised Elliot Anderson’s potential amid talk of a possible tug-of-war with Scotland for the Newcastle duo.

There is an increasing number of players that have been part of the English set-up that have gone on to represent another country, including Jamal Musiala and Wilfried Zaha.

Angus Gunn was called up to the England senior squad by Southgate before switching allegiance to Tuesday’s opponents Scotland, who are now reportedly targeting Barnes.

The 25-year-old has yet to add to the solitary senior England cap he won in 2020 but remains on the manager’s radar, as does Newcastle team-mate Anderson.

The Whitley Bay-born 20-year-old spent two days with Scotland last week before withdrawing from the squad due to injury.

“Both are very good players,” England boss Southgate said of the Newcastle pair in the bowels of Hampden Park ahead of Tuesday’s friendly.

“In terms of Harvey, he’s obviously a player who has played for us. We have a lot of competition in that area of the pitch so he is a player we are always monitoring and he’s a player we like a lot.

“With Elliot, I think he’s a player who has progressed really well. We’ve previously spoken with him, but of course he was named in the squad here so assumed that was that.

“I thought he had an excellent pre-season with Newcastle as well.

“You could see that evolution that he has got as a young player and the potential he has got. I know at Newcastle they rate him very highly.

“I don’t know the answer to the ultimate question for either player, but there are going to be more and more of these sorts of situations.

“There are so many players with dual or triple nationality now.

“It is very complicated for every country and sometimes you can’t offer the player something as quickly as they like.

“We have benefited from it and we have lost players because of it and I think that is always going to be the case, really.”

The pair’s club team-mate was sat alongside Southgate in Glasgow, with right-back Trippier full of praise for homegrown Newcastle talent Anderson.

“As the gaffer said before, in pre-season he’s been unbelievable,” Trippier said of a player who has represented both nations at youth level.

“I think it was good for him last year to stay with us and not go out on loan again, to gain that experience.

“He’s a young lad with great potential. Obviously we’ve had talks but, like Gareth said before, he went away with Scotland.

“Ultimately that’s his decision. He’s a young lad with great potential so that decision is ultimately up to him.”

Gareth Southgate says it would be “ridiculous” to overly experiment as England head to hostile Hampden Park to face in-form foes Scotland in a so-called friendly.

Both sides are on the cusp of qualification for next summer’s European Championship as they meet on Tuesday evening for the 116th edition of the world’s oldest international fixture.

Southgate sees England’s first friendly fixture since March 2022 as an important test and learning step for his side, fresh from Saturday’s challenging 1-1 draw against Ukraine.

Scotland have won their last five matches and will be roared on by a sold-out Hampden Park crowd on Tuesday, when the 53-year-old knows he has to get the balance right with his selection.

“We’ve got to find the right balance of physical freshness – we’ve had a day less preparation – experience, finding out about some players, winning, playing well,” Southgate said.

“So, the usual things that are expected of us with England, really.

“But I think the first thing is we can’t fiddle around with the team because we’re playing a top-level side, who are going to be at full tilt and giving us a really high-level challenge.

“So, you can’t overly experiment because that would be ridiculous.”

Southgate largely stuck with the tried and tested with his squad selection for this September double-header, leading to starts for Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson against Ukraine.

It was the former’s first competitive start of the season and the first time the latter had represented his country since swapping Liverpool for Saudi Pro League side Al-Ettifaq.

Southgate was criticised by some for selecting the pair against Ukraine, while a disjointed, toothless performance hardly set pulses racing.

“I haven’t seen it, so the reaction for us is, we’re top of the group,” said the England boss, who could hand Levi Colwill and Eddie Nketiah their debuts in Glasgow.

“I think we’re the top scorers in Europe. The boys did a really good job in a difficult environment and we know that our attacking play didn’t quite click.

“I think some of that was the surface, really, because to make those really incisive, quick passes at times you just needed a little extra touch or there was a little bobble.

“I’m very conscious I wasn’t going to be too harsh on my internal review with the players.

“Because you could see moments when we’re watching it back where the ball pops over players’ feet or (someone) goes to play a ball first time, and it lofts in the air.

“Equally, that wasn’t the case with everything that we did, so we’re always challenging. We want to be better and better and we’ve got to set a high standard.

“We weren’t as happy coming away with the point as we might have been but it’s still a really good result.

“We saw what happened in our group later that night (with Italy drawing 1-1 with North Macedonia).

“When we beat North Macedonia people were questioning the quality that they had and the standard of the opposition, but Italy went there and couldn’t get the win.

“So, we kind of know the cycle, frankly, with England. I’ve been in the job long enough now.

“It’s constant, it’s never-ending, but we have to really focus internally on what’s important for us.

“Review to our own standards, review and make sure that we know what we’re working towards, and what we’re comparing ourselves against, really.”

Southgate believes the trip to Glasgow will help in that on a night when England and Scotland will commemorate the 150th anniversary of their first meeting on November 30, 1872.

The former defender admitted he was briefly a member of the Tartan Army in his childhood.

“I mean, this is horrendous what I’m going to say here ahead of tomorrow, but I was supporting Scotland in 1978 because obviously we hadn’t qualified,” the England boss said.

“I kind of followed that through the trauma of Peru and the Netherlands.

“Then we were back in ’82 and all of a sudden, you know, for me then onwards it was all about England.

“But, yeah, great fixtures. I’ve met so many of the former players over the years – worked with some of them, played with some of them.

“It’s a fabulous game. I know there’s a rivalry and I know people will be wary of it crossing a boundary, but it’s a brilliant sporting rivalry and it’s a great game to be involved in.”

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