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Rugby Union: Can Scotland Improve On Last Year's 4th Place in the Six Nations?


Given their record in the Six Nations since Italy was admitted in 2000, you wouldn’t put any money on Scotland winning the tournament this year.

Scotland have never won the Six Nations, but currently have the strongest and best squad they’ve produced for many seasons, and have every opportunity to at least equal their achievements in 2021 when the Scots won three internationals against England, Italy and France, and in the two Tests, which were lost, Scotland were so competitive they were defeated by Ireland by only 27-24 and by Wales by just 25-24.

So given that improvement and the presence of eight British and Irish Lions in the Six Nations squad, just revealed, backing Scotland to win individual games could well be right.

Scotland’s strong points

Forwards Zander Fagerson, Rory Sutherland and Hamish Watson were selected for the Lions tour to South Africa in 2021 as were backs Finn Russell, Chris Harris, Stuart Hogg and Duhan van der Merwe.

Hogg captains the side from full back and is Scotland’s record try scorer with 25 in more than 80 internationals.

With pace in the backs and Russell, the magician at fly half, Scotland have the potential to counter-attack rapidly, and while only two of their Six Nations games are at Murrayfield, the Scots have the ability to cause upsets.

Coached by Gregor Townsend, Scotland start their campaign with the juiciest of fixtures..the Calcutta Cup clash against England at Murrayfield on Saturday February 5th.

Having beaten England 11-6 last season and with home advantage this time, why not back Scotland to win again?

Townsend can be genuinely optimistic about his team’s prospects in 2022, but with three games away at Cardiff, Rome and Dublin, any success will be earned the hard way.

Scotland’s coach is not alone in reviving his country’s status because he has a talented group, but Scotland do play now with a positive mindset and aggressive intent.

New players

Two uncapped scrum halves, Ben Vellacott (Edinburgh) and Ben White (London Irish), have been picked on their club form, and Townsend has also been impressed with the attitude of Glasgow Warriors’ flanker, Rory Darge, who’s also been recognised.

The Saracens’ forward, Andy Christie, has also been included, and now that Cameron Redpath is fit again, having the Bath centre available is a big boost and he may well add to his one Scottish cap. Another newcomer is the London Irish wing Kyle Rowe.

Scotland have named their Six Nations squad! ???????

Uncapped scrum-halves Ben Vellacott and Ben White have been included, with Bath centre Cameron Redpath back in the fold after injury.#bbcrugby

— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) January 19, 2022

Scotland’s Six Nations Fixtures

Saturday February 5th:Scotland v England (Murrayfield)

Saturday February 12th: Wales v Scotland (Cardiff)

Saturday February 26th: Scotland v France (Murrayfield)

Saturday March 12th: Italy v Scotland (Rome)

Saturday March 19th: Ireland v Scotland (Dublin)

The full squad

FORWARDS:

Ewan Ashman, Josh Bayliss, Jamie Bhatti, Magnus Bradbury, Andy Christie, Scott Cummings, Rory Darge, Matt Fagerson, Zander Fagerson, Grant Gilchrist, Jonny Gray, Nick Haining, Jamie Hodgson, Stuart McInally, WP Nel, Jamie Ritchie, Pierre Schoeman, Javan Sebastian, Rory Sutherland, George Turner, Hamish Watson.

BACKS:

Mark Bennett, Darcy Graham, Chris Harris, Stuart Hogg, Rory Hutchinson, Sam Johnson, Blair Kinghorn, Rufus McLean, Ali Price, Kyle Rowe, Finn Russell, Kyle Steyn, Sione Tuipulotu, Durhan van der Merwe, Ben Vellacott, Ben White.