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Wales v Scotland: Six Nations 2022, Match Preview pt I

Wales vs Scotland

KO 2.15 at The Principality Stadium
Saturday 12th February 2022

Live on BBC1

A little over 15 months ago, Scotland travelled to take on Wales in their Covid delayed Six Nations fixture. At that point, the Scots hadn’t beaten Wales away since 2002. They hadn’t beaten France away since 1999. They hadn’t beaten England away since 1983. They had never won 4 matches in a row in the Six Nations.

This Saturday, Scotland will pitch up at the Principality having ended all three of those away day hoodoos (although it is still 20 years since they last won in Cardiff). They will also be looking for a fourth consecutive Six Nations’ win for the second time in the space of less than two years.

Scotland winning streaks of four or more games in the Five/Six Nations:

  • 4 – 2020/21
  • 4 – 1990
  • – 1983/84
  • – 1966/67
  • – 1925/26

The next milestone in the firing line for Scotland has to be winning two in a row to start a championship. It’s something that they have never managed in the Six Nations era. In fact, you need to go back to the 1996 Five Nations for the last time the dark blues opened with back to back victories.

Wales Scouting Report

Experience essential

The veteran core at the heart of the Welsh squad that won the championship last season (and who were within a matter of minutes of a Grand Slam) has been ripped out by injuries. Alun Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Justin Tipuric and Taulupe Faletau played in all 5 games. George North (4 matches in 2021) and Leigh Halfpenny (2) have also been a significant part of Wales’ success in the last decade. Between them, these 6 players have won no less than 630 Test caps.

Despite all these absences, Wayne Pivac can still call upon another 7 players with 50+ caps (Scotland’s squad only includes 3 half-centurions). The Welsh squad also contains the equal lowest number of players with fewer than 10 caps – level with Ireland. This is still a group with plenty of experience of winning and of finding a way to get a result against all the odds. Scotland will do well not to underestimate them based on one poor performance at the Aviva Stadium.

Kicking contest

In Dublin, Wales only kicked the ball 15 times. In a game where they struggled to get any kind of foothold there just didn’t seem to be the opportunity or ability to clear their lines consistently to try and ease some of the pressure. 455 total metres from kicks was the lowest of any of the sides in Round 1. That can be contrasted with top performers France, who leathered the ball for 1,202 metres.

Nowhere was this performance issue starker than at scrum half. Starting 9, Tomos Williams, only made 36 metres from his kicks. The Welsh were the only side to make less than 100 metres from this position.

Kicking metres by scrum halves in Round 1 of the 2022 Six Nations:

  • 456m – England
  • 352m – France
  • 263m – Italy
  • 200m – Ireland
  • 149m – Scotland
  • 94m – Wales

The history of matches between Scotland and Wales during the Townsend era has seen the Welsh kick more than the Scots every time they have met. That ability to dictate territory, to try and control where the opposition are getting possession that they can work with, has played a significant part in why Wales have won 4 out of the 5 games between the sides during this period.

Scotland’s recent big away wins against England and France came off the back of kicking more frequently – and to a higher standard – than their hosts. This is an area that Gregor Townsend will be looking for Ali Price, Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg to dominate if the Scots are to end their two decade wait for a win at the Principality Stadium.

Miscellaneous

  • Against Ireland Wales lost 4 out of their 12 lineouts. While Scotland might be without their favoured third jumping option in Jamie Ritchie, the lock pairing of Grant Gilchrist and Jonny Gray have provided the most steals in the Townsend era and will be looking to get in amongst the home side’s setpiece.
  • Ireland were relentless at the breakdown, only losing 2 of their 122 rucks and never allowing the Welsh defence time to settle. Scotland weren’t at the same level of precision against England – they will need to be better to keep Wales’ turnover threats away from the ball.
  • Nick Tompkins had to attempt 24 tackles from inside centre against Ireland (21 successful, 3 missed). That was in part down to where Ireland were targeting their attacks but there’s also more than a hint that he was left exposed by his back row and the selection of winger Josh Adams at outside centre. The Saracens’ man spent much of his afternoon desperately trying to cover for the mistakes of others.

Previous results

This will be the 12th time the two sides have met in Wales for a Six Nations’ match. The head to head looks like this from Scotland’s perspective:

L W L L L L L L L L W

Most recent Six Nations meeting in Wales:

Wales 10 – 14 Scotland

Significant stat
191 – metres made with ball in hand by Wales. In the teeth of some stern Scottish defence, the Welsh struggled to make ground. In fact, this is the lowest this stat has been for any opposition during the Townsend era with the exception of one occasion. That came when Wales visited Murrayfield 12 months ago and only made 188 metres with ball in hand!

Last year that was still just enough for them to win the game though, with Scotland repeatedly committing consecutive penalty offences that allowed the visitors to march down the pitch without having to breach the home side’s defence. Discipline will need to be much improved on Saturday and certainly no back to back pens.

The Scottish Rugby Blog match report from the 2020 game is here.

Officials

Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)
Assistant Referee 1:  Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant Referee 2: Chris Busby (Ireland)
TMO: Brett Cronan (Australia)

Scotland have recent experience with Mr Berry as the man in the middle after he took charge of the game against Tonga just over three months ago. He also reffed a Connacht v Glasgow fixture a fortnight ago so the boffins in the performance analysis department should have plenty of data to work on!

One thing that was clear from the game against Tonga is that Mr Berry expects players to clear the contact area extremely rapidly – even if they are not directly impeding the ball. Scotland incurred his ire on a number of occasions in this facet of the game. While it wasn’t costly against the Tongans, there’s no question Wales will be much more likely to take advantage of any free territory or scoring opportunities.

Scotland’s previous games with Mr Berry in charge:

  • 2017 – beat Samoa (H)
    Penalties: 18 (For 9 – 9 Against)
    Cards: none
  • 2019 – lost to France (A)
    Penalties: 22 (For 10 – 12 Against)
    Cards: 1YC for France
  • 2021 – beat Tonga (H)
    Penalties: 18 (For 12 – 9 Against)
    Cards: 1 YC (Rob Harley); 1 YC for Tonga

Part II of the preview, including the head to heads, will follow on Friday after the team announcement on Thursday.

Wales: Liam Williams, Alex Cuthbert, Owen Watkin, Nick Tompkins, Louis Rees-Zammit; Dan Biggar (capt), Tomos Williams, Wyn Jones, Ryan Elias, Tomas Francis, Will Rowlands, Adam Beard, Taine Basham, Jac Morgan, Ross Moriarty.
Replacements: Dewi Lake, Gareth Thomas, Dillon Lewis, Seb Davies, Aaron Wainwright, Gareth Davies, Callum Sheedy, Jonathan Davies.

Scotland: Stuart Hogg (c), Darcy Graham, Chris Harris, Sione Tuipulotu, Duhan Van der Merwe, Finn Russell, Ali Price; Pierre Schoeman, Stuart McInally, WP Nel, Johnny Gray, Grant Gilchrist, Sam Skinner, Hamish Watson, Matt Fagerson.
Replacements: George Turner, Rory Sutherland, Zander Fagerson, Magnus Bradbury, Rory Darge, Ben White, Blair Kinghorn, Cameron Redpath.

62 Responses

  1. My guess at the team for Saturday:
    Hogg; Graham, Johnson, Harris, DVDM; Russell, Price;
    Sutherland, Turner, Fagerson; Gray, Gilchrist; Bradbury, Watson, Fagerson.
    McInally, Schoeman, Nel; Skinner, Darge; Vellacott, Redpath, Kinghorn.

    Might seem harsh on White and Tuipulotu but I think Vellacott and Redpath offer more, especially away from home. I’d probably pick Steyn over Kinghorn as well but that might just be asking for trouble if Hogg and/or Russell gets injured.

    1. Here’s mine –

      Hogg; Graham, Harris, Redpath, DVDM; Russell, Price;
      Sutherland, Turner, Fagerson; Gray, Gilchrist; Bradbury, Watson, Fagerson.
      McInally, Schoeman, Nel; Skinner, Darge, Smith, Tuipulotu, Kinghorn

      1. Merlot and FF, I’m glad you’ve retained Gilchrist in your preferred starting XV. He was immense last Saturday and has got better as he’s got older. Lots of good work not just in set pieces but around the park too.

        He’s come on loads from a few years ago when someone on this blog somewhat cruelly dubbed him ‘Inspector-General of Rucks’. Great to see a player develop and improve like this. Adds to our lock selection depth too.

        Hoping for a good team performance and result on Saturday. No more than hoping, as I was one of many expecting us to batter Wales in 2018 at the Principality and we all know how that turned out.

      2. FF I’d considered the same team and bench and Vellacott over White. Harsh but Vellacott merits a run out. Who’s Smith?

      3. Brain fart – Ben White. I think he has greater control than Vellacott and will be more trusted to close the game out. Think Vellacott Is a bit too helter shelter for what Toonie is looking for now.

  2. Inevitably Wales will be better at home than last week especially as many of them have a point to prove. Also expect them not to carry on with Adams at 13 as he was badly exposed there by Ireland.

    As for ourselves, need to improve our maul defence, ball retention and phase play and to stay out of trouble with the referee.

    Should be a good game and I’m expecting another close one.

  3. The four principle reasons we have had such a bad record in Wales over the past umpteen years:
    Man-for-man they had better players – definitely not true this year
    The Gatland factor – whatever our view, he developed a style and system which was very effective, especially against us.
    Alun Wyn Jones – peerless as a player and leader.
    The cauldron that is the Principality Stadium

    So we are left with one of those to contend with. Given these are professional players, and considering the justifiable confidence they are bringing into this game, they ought to be able to conquer that and come out on top (hopefully comfortably, if not as comfortably as Ireland).
    Happy to take the flak, but we really should have a lot of belief going into this one.

    1. Aye the belief is there alright. No flack Historic Banffshire. We’ll be a lot more drilled and focused. Systems sharper with the eye bright on keeping possession. I have a feeling that Redpath will return to the squad. This game will be right up his street.

    2. I’d add a few more to that list…

      Losing/Winning Mentality inherent in the players – There’s evidence to suggest this current crop of Scotland players are a different breed.

      Unfortunate Refereeing Decisions – Remains to be seen for this one, but at least Carley’s not got the whistle this time.

      Shaun Edwards’ defense structure – Wales have not been anything like as strong defensively since he left.

  4. Box-kicking stats interesting…seems like between 150 m and 350 m is optimal…wonder if this is cause or effect?

  5. Wales made mistakes last week that won’t likely be repeated. Adams at centre the most obvious of them. Also they are at home. It won’t be an easy game like they gave to the Irish.

    1. The enormity of winning at the Millennium is considerable. We haven’t won an away game in the 6N in front of a crowd that wasn’t in Rome since 2010. So this will be another massive milestone.

      However, on another pod the point was made that the difference with Wales currently is where people are struggling, there is not the quality to bring in and replace them, partly due to injuries, party due to a transition in the team, partly due to fewer decent players coming through. Wales had a golden generation that are either on the edge of retirement or currently injured.

      The one cautionary note is that a very similar weakened team went toe to toe with SA and beat Australia in the autumn so they certainly are no mugs.

      I’m excited at the opportunity to win but very wary.

  6. Agree with the Principality factor. Winning a dead rubber in an empty Parc y Scarlets is not in the same league as winning a meaningful game in a packed Principality.
    Wales biggest threats by far are Adams (assuming he’s back on the wing) and LRZ and so if we can starve them of ball then we will have a chance.
    The Welsh backrow is rumoured to be Morgan, Basham and Moriarty. I think our pack will fair better this weekend and we will hopefully get more territory and possession. The breakdown will be key and I wouldn’t be averse to Darge on the bench.

  7. Scotland up to 6th in the World Rankings. Wales remain 8th. Incidentally, this means that teams number 1, 3, and 6 in the world are in the same group for the World Cup next year. Stellar job, World Rugby!

      1. Redpath on the bench. Tuipulotu comes in at 12. Hope all the unused Glasgow players are back for the Munster game. This could make or break their season.

  8. I like the look of the team, Tom English called the front row changes and I think it’s right to drop Johnson, he’s never let us down but we have better options. It’s a very strong bench and should make a great impact on the 60 minute mark. Now if I can avoid getting over optimistic….

  9. Didn’t think our first choice front row did anything wrong last week and with Nel now perceived to be a 30 minute player the total replacement of the front row is a strange one , but to be fair this trio did nothing wrong too, strength in depth indeed. Ritchie out for the tournament is bad news all round, from what I’ve seen Skinner is not quite up to the same standard so we drop back a bit there.I also feel Sam Johnson raises his game at international level and is a defensive rock. Tuipulotu , i haven’t seen enough of. Our bench looks so much stronger than Wales bench with the only weakness for me is Kinghorn coming on if Russel gets injured.

    1. Skinner is an excellent player (who plays for an excellent pack at an excellent club). Love that GT not diminishing height at lineouts though. With both Gilchrist and Gray.

  10. Seems strange to not have a replacement second row on the bench. I know skinner will be covering but it won’t be the same as bringing on fresh legs. I guess Toonie sees upping the pace in the back row as more important with Bradbury and Darge.

    Looking forward to seeing how the team go, particularly Tuipulotu at 12.

  11. Ritchie, going for surgery on his hamstring. Hope he gets better soon. I called Skinner at 6 at the start of the week but I’m just a little concerned about the breakdown as we need to be a threat there. Of course Watson is world class there and Darge is cut from the same nugget. We might need them both on if the breakdown is a mess. Skinner is a good lineout option and ball carrier but I dont think he sticks his head in to rucks the same way Ritchie does. We’ll need to get our hookers on the case as well.

    I think Johnson also might be a loss in terms of poaching turnovers but Graham is retained on the wing as a turnover specialist!

  12. Christ, here was me saying he had put the tombola away for good!

    The front row is fair enough, they are clearly viewed as interchangeable units I prefer Schoeman to Sutherland on current form and I prefer Fagerson to Nel purely for workrate, the hookers I don’t have a preference. Skinner at 6 was always a possibility. Who did Skinner come on for last week, was it Gray? I wonder if we will see him moving to lock and Bradbury coming on? Darge for Mish is a straight swap.

    Harsh on Sam Johnson when he hasn’t put a foot wrong but we are spoiled for choice in the centres, time for Tuipolotu to show if he can play in a big game. Great to see Cammy Redpath getting back again, I try to keep off the hype train with him, he is quite clearly a very good player but he only has one, admittedly very good, cap in a game where the whole team played very well, I will have high expectations of him.

    This is it, this is our D day, the Welsh are there for the taking, that Wales team shouldn’t scare anyone, but they will always be very tough to beat in Cardiff and we can’t take anything for granted. Time to finally avenge THAT game in 2010 and stick it to them. Win this game and we are in with a shout of the championship, there I said it.

    #itsthehopethatkillsyou

    1. They might be there for the taking but a very similar line up narrowly lost to SA and beat Australia in the autumn so I am very nervous! It’s not going to be a cake walk that’s for sure!

      1. They showed up well in losing by 5 points to SA, but it was still a loss. The win against AUS should be caveated by the fact that they were playing against 14 men from the 15th minute and only beat them by 1 point.

        Wales have benefitted significantly from red cards in the last year. I really don’t think they’re as good a team as their results suggest.

        I’d be very confident of a comfortable victory on Saturday if it wasn’t for the 2018 experience. Wales have a habit of pulling out performances when they’re missing players and are being written off. We have to show good discipline on Saturday, as the Millenium Big Screen TV director will be a key man as usual for the boys in red.

      2. I basically agree, too used to us getting excited then falling flat on our faces. Wales are going to be much better than last weekend but I think we’re a better side. Millennium is probably worth a 10pt head start though.

        We simply can’t afford to lose.

  13. Not going to lie, this line up scares me. Not sure if that is g in a good way or not. Happy we aren’t resting on our laurels but Tui feels like a risk as does Nel starting.

    Don’t think we have anyone to match Ritchie’s mix of athleticism, physicality, line-out ability and breakdown nous. Toonie obviously wants to avoid being bullied by a massive Welsh backlash, looks to me like we have added physicality and made sure our set piece stands up. Lots of impact from the bench, far more so than Wales.

    Jac Morgan is very highly rated, Balham a future star and Moriarty a big hard b$gger so I am a bit worried our unit lacks a bit of cohesiveness.

    We simply must win, I’m absolutely bricking it. Come on boys!

    1. I think this is a real bomb squad lineup. Skinner and Nel selected to really go for their set piece and slug it out in the first 50 mins then we have some real power and dynamism to come on in the final 30.

      Despite the optimism, this will be a tight game so there is a lot to be said for starting things off slow and controlled and finishing with your strongest xv on the pitch when the points matter most.

      Tui was a bit of a surprise to me too but he’s been going well at glasgow (albeit more at 13?). This is a big step up for him so it’ll be interesting to see how he copes. That being said, Johnson touched the ball once in 50 minutes last week so our centres are obviously viewed as more defensive with Finn kicking over their heads in attack!

      1. Think this is the closest we will get to Vakatawa cutting lines off Finn. Been crying out for an option in the midfield! Finally, v v exciting!

        And what a front row, not there to F around.

    2. Zander struggled a bit in the scrum against Wyn Jones last year. He’s pretty tall and can find it tough against shorter looseheads so think Nel will go better. However Zander hits a lot of rucks and with Wales having a lot of jackal threat Scotland need to be on point with their Clearouts.
      There’s so much ball carrying that starting Scotland pack I reckon we can meet the early Welsh onslaught and drive them back

  14. Absolutely love the look of the Scotland team to face Wales, harsh on Johnson and Bradbury but a hefty pack, dangerous backs and a quality bench.

  15. I like Johnson and Tuipulotu in their natural 12/13 combo at Glasgow. I’m not so sure about Tuipuloto at 12 although hes looked fine there with Steyn at 13. I think what is worrying me is the experience in Wales a few years ago when Toony played Huw Jones at 12 and it really didnt work against their rush defence.

    What does excite me though is the thought for the last 20 minutes if we are behind that we might play Redpath at 12 and Tuipuloto at 13 against a tiring defence, Russell in form and the back 3 going for it. Let the cats start the rave!!!

  16. I’m pretty happy with that 23 selection.
    My only concern is more with Skinner at 6 who just doesn’t seem to throw his body on the line like Ritchie does. I would prefer Bradbury who I think is a natural 6… but then I expect he’ll play at some stage. It’ll be quite a battle at breakdown with Basham who seems a top player in the making.
    Tui is a good call… he is getting better and better as he adjusts to Scottish rugby and is considerably more creative than Johnson, who is a solid player no more or less. Tui looks a very good distributer and we were missing that skill in midfield against England. Nice to see Darge ( who I think has an even higher ceiling than Watson) and Redpath …. In what looks a bench full of pace and creativity.
    It’ll be a tough match… it always is in Wales.

  17. I think in terms of Scottish overconfidence that’s a horrible selection by Wales. Not too many where Kev will give Wales the edge in the head to heads in Part II, and yet Wales at home are often far more than the sum of their parts. I think we can win but Wales very rarely get blown away at home, by anyone.

  18. Formidable selection and bench. Looking forward to this one. Whatever happens, ultimately going to be in the game going to the Principality, haven’t always been able to say that.

  19. never fancy ourselves v the Welsh (certainly in recent years) but we do look a better team on paper which doesnt necessarily mean much on the day. I am cautiously optimistic!

  20. The number of seasoned internationals at Townsend’s disposal makes it less of a tombola these days. Fascinating swap of starting front row. Replacements last Saturday who’re now starters this Saturday were pretty good when they came on.

    Very pleased to see Redpath back in the mix. Rotten luck for him last year to be part of a great away win and yet suffer a long-term injury.

    Darge on club form looks very good indeed and it will be interesting to see how he goes at Test level.

    Mon, Scotland!

  21. I quite like the changes – keeping the front row unit is generally a good idea and starting these 3 may well be the right choice for this game.
    Skinner I am ok with – presumably he is lock cover as well with 2 back row on the bench?
    Johnson unlucky to be dropped as he just didn’t get any ball last week but a big 12 worked extremely well for Ireland against Wales so again makes sense.
    Hope Darge and Redpath get a decent amount of game time and show what they can do.

    Of course it could go horribly wrong, but we have to be at the point where we have deserved confidence that this team will deliver against a well Welsh team.

    1. Also – Sexton out vs France evens things up a bit.
      I had Ireland to win fairly comfortably – even though it’s in France and the French team has masses of talent – but now I’m less sure.

  22. I think Scotland will win. We have to think anything less is disappointing. This is a new era in a lot of ways. A real chance here to get another big monkey of the back. It’s like playing wales history and shirt, I am not belittling that by the way as they are a proud team. Just think we are stronger

  23. We can definitely beat Wales. Obviously anything can happen – and against Wales, it usually does – but I do think that Scotland is just better. The only question is whether we can beat the crowd. This team has got some away day monkeys off their back, but they’ve never closed out a game against one of the big four, with a stadium full of baying fans, trying to wrest the momentum away from us. It’s a huge test of their character, their leadership and their control. Win it, and it’s another huge moment of development in this still-relatively-nascent team.

  24. I also quite like Toony’s changes – from what I’ve read and seen, Tui can defend and is fast and strong with good footwork so could be a real threat. It’s how well he works with Harris in the defensive line that will be key. I hate the term “impact sub” but guess that’s what Bradbury is; bringing him on with current form after 50/60 will hopefully make a bigger difference than using Skinner at that time. The front row swap could be inspired, wrestling control of scrums from the beginning rather than let Wales win the tussle early on against an arguably weaker scrummaging duo of Sutherland & Fagerson.
    Certainly won’t be easy against a wounded Wales in a packed stadium and we often have a problem with cards against them; red for Scott Murray, yellows for Lawson and Godman in 2010 (that game still really, really hurts, as well as finishing one promising career), reds for Hoggy and Zander too, all incredibly costly. So must try and keep everyone on the pitch, made a big difference last weekend. Just hope we get the win on Saturday, it would just feel so great!

    1. Not forgetting Geoff Cross’s famous tackle with his face on the Welsh fullback’s knee. I believe he got carded whilst still unconscious!

  25. Loved Squidge Rugby’s analysis of Ben White’s try – was the physio really part of it or just coincidence? This could spawn a whole load of conspiracy theories! Equally fascinating was the take on Marcus Smith and how Eddie may have been right to take him off and the comparison with Finn’s sometimes sublime game management. I really liked the clip where Finn ignores Smith with ball in hand with the assumption that Finn’s decided he poses no threat! Hats off to you Squidge, you must spend hours pouring over re-runs!

  26. Well done beating Lloegyr. It was no surprise to me. Yr Alban have the momentum for Caerdydd. That is not usually a good sign for you . I cannot wait to hear the crowd raise Cymru to victory. Please , please, I am only being provocative , I mean , I hope the best team wins, It will be harder than you think mind, even though this Cymru side is the weakest I can recall. I expect it will be unspectacular with lots of tenacity and niggle.

    You must be thinking bonus point. But Dai predicts, if Cymru get their noses in front at half time, they will not let go and you will leave the ground to the sound of Sosban Fach.

    Cymru am byth.

    1. Don’t think any Scotland fans expect it to be anything but very extremely hard fought and tense. Many expect us to slip up, because it is a must win and the pressure is on in an absolute cauldron. Ultimately, if this Scotland team wants to have a serious tilt at a title this is a must win game and opportunity only knocks so many times. Finn and Hoggy only have so many years at their peak. I’m just a fan and the pressure is almost unbearable.

    2. It’s a very competitive 6N this year. Ireland and France are far better sides than when Wales were at their peak of recent’ish times. Scotland and England are also better sides than they were even last year. Crikey even Italy look better. Saying Wales are at there weakest just because they won’t dominate the same is a bit of a pre match losing cushion.
      They have some excellent players who play in the same leagues and are,crucially, at home. It’ll be a closely fought match … and I wouldn’t put any hard earned money on who will win.
      It’s just that if Scotland want to challenge for the 6N title and get out of their extremely tough World Cup group they need to start winning these big away matches. Otherwise they’ll never believe they can.

  27. I’ve been reading Wales Online too and to be fair there are loads of Welshmen very unhappy at the smallest back row, hooker who can’t throw, props who can’t prop, a 13 at 12 and Cuthbert being included.
    Re Pivac couple of the bloggers reiterated my long thought thought, He hasn’t got players to play the style he wants to so caught between styles.

    1. I think Gatland had the core of the squad playing such a rigid style that achieved its peak and is now completely outdated..and now Pivac has to change that to adapt that to the progress made by others just to compete. He is caught between a rock and a hard place. Other nations have just gotten significantly better, I think, Wales fans are frustrated because of previous successes.

  28. Can’t help but agree with warks Scot’s remarks regarding those sore losses to wales as a result of card situations. There was also the ‘fastest rugby’ test where Finn and Ali combined to play fast and loose and throw interceptions which lost us the game early on and also the year of ‘scrumgate’ where for once our front row was expected to dominate but instead got ‘pinged’ for early shoving after the Welsh scrum took a collective half step back at every put in and conned the ref.
    The Welsh bring a huge and vocal support to Murrayfield robbing Scotland of the 16th man at times , the Millenium stadium is a cauldron and given the amount of cards given against the opposition , it clearly affects the referee as well as the visiting team.
    Unfortunately, i can see emotions and indecisive refereeing having an effect on the outcome on Saturday too with Dan Biggar flapping his arms in mock apoplexy and perhaps our new caps darge and Tuipulotu falling foul of the ref. in their eagerness.
    On paper we have the edge. if only this game was played on paper.
    C’mon Scotland, win and win convincingly -please.

  29. If Scotland don’t win this one by around 25 points i don’t think we are fulfilling our potential. This is the best Scotland side in a long time and this Welsh side are utter garbage, time to slay the dragon and send the welsh fans back to their sheep!

    1. Decent effort there, bach. Your username was a clue and then your post gave the rest of the game away.
      Have a nice weekend!

  30. Indeed, Pivacs Scarlets had a peak John Barclay , a peak Jon Davies and several other peak or soon to be peak guys. Gatland did well with Wales and GatlandBall but this is dated and Wales haven’t the players to play the Pivac style

    1. ‘Gatland did well with Wales and Gatlandball’ is quite an understatement! Under Gatland Wales enjoyed their greatest success since the 70s glory days, they outstripped for more well resourced rivals and became one of the best teams in the world. Imagine if any Scotland generation could boast three grand slams. For Wales, this golden generation is finally reaching the end of their careers and the transition to a new generation of players looks like it could be painful. Pivac probably overachieved last year but is now caught between two eras, the Gatland era has passed by Wales haven’t quite moved on yet.

      For us I feel like it might be now or never really. Wales and Engand slightly in flux, France’s star still rising, whilst Ireland are formidable. We have a slim chance and I would love to see our team go for it – if we fall in Cardiff it will be a huge opportunity missed. Tension indeed!

  31. still very nervous about this one – I remember last year after going in with a win against England – still dont know how we managed to lose that one

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