Posted on: February 12, 2021 Posted by: Aaron_George Comments: 0

With a win tomorrow, either Scotland or Wales will be salivating at the prospect of a Grand Slam triumph. Both were underdogs in their opening matches against England and Ireland respectively, but both came out on top and now face the prospect of a Murrayfield showdown to determine who gets to keep their 100% record.

Scotland’s win over England was hardly pretty, but they shut down Eddie Jones’ side magnificently and made it extremely difficult for England to get any kind of foothold in the game. Duhan van der Merwe’s try made all the difference in the 11-6 triumph, although it was fly-half Finn Russell who dominated proceedings, knocking in two penalties while playing an instrumental role in the middle of the field.

For Wales, it was a rather different tale, and they can perhaps count themselves fortunate to have fallen over the line somewhat in their opening fixture against Ireland. The game hinged on Peter O’Mahony’s red card after just 14 minutes, and from there it was always going to be difficult for Ireland to get anything out of the game. That said, Wales did not capitalise particularly effectively, and trailed at half-time before eventually making the man advantage count to run out 21-16 winners.

And so, the match-up between Scotland and Wales this weekend is suddenly a rather important fixture in the context of how the tournament might pan out from here on in. Betdaq have Scotland as the favourites for the match, which is not surprising given how well they shut England out at Twickenham last weekend, while Wales toiled against 14-man Ireland.

The idea of Scotland making a bid for Six Nations glory, whatever about a Grand Slam, is one that will be refreshing to many rugby fans. For years Scotland have struggled to truly assert themselves in the tournament, and have not won it since the very last edition of the Five Nations back in 1999. Indeed, rather than challenging for the title, Scotland have more often than not found themselves battling it out with Italy to avoid the dreaded Wooden Spoon.

Last year’s fourth-place finish gave hope that Scotland were pulling in the right direction, and they also finished fourth in the inaugural Autumn Nations Cup, so it’s always felt as though they are one good result away from building momentum and really challenging for a title. The confidence they will have gained from defeating England at Twickenham cannot be estimated, and they’ll be relishing the match against Wales as a chance to break their run of bad luck at the Six Nations and really assert themselves in this year’s competition.

As for Wayne Pivac’s men, they’ll have to prove that they can be counted as serious contenders this year. Things fell Wales’ way against Ireland, but it was just what they needed to settle their nerves after what has been a frankly disappointing first 12 months since Pivac took over from Warren Gatland. They got the rub of the green in Cardiff through O’Mahony’s ill-discipline, and it could well prove that they play with a greater degree of freedom from now on after notching that all-important win in the opening game.

It’s rare that Scotland v Wales is a match that warrants much excitement in the Six Nations, but this year, whoever wins will have a realistic chance of winning the tournament should they be able to keep their momentum going. Scotland are the favourites, but it’s a difficult one to call, and if we learned anything on opening weekend, it’s to never rule out the underdogs.

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