STADIUM: Murrayfield Stadium
HEAD COACH: Gregor Townsend (SCO)
CAPTAIN: Stuart Hogg
Back rower Josh Bayliss has been one of Bath’s standout players in recent campaigns, even with the West Country side’s on-pitch struggles, and there is a chance that he could add to his two international caps if he can shake off an injury sustained against Leinster in their recent European Rugby Champions Cup meeting. However, he will have competition from Glasgow Warriors’ Matt Fagerson and Edinburgh duo Jamie Ritchie and Hamish Watson, who formed a highly-impressive back row during the 2021 edition of the competition. Regular scrum-half Ali Price will have newcomers Ben Vellacott and Ben White as his backups, whilst Racing 92’s Finn Russell is likely to be the main source of attacking creativity. Gloucester centre Chris Harris has a reputation for being one of the best defenders in the English Premiership, so is likely to have an impact in tight games when Scotland need to hold on, whilst the usual group of quick wingers is joined this year by Kyle Rowe, who has impressed at London Irish after his summer switch from Edinburgh.
2021 PLACING: 4th
2022 TOURNAMENT PREDICTION:
It’s difficult to say where Scotland could end up, but there is a feeling that they could surprise a few people and win games that they might have previously lost. Their good form will depend on them being able to defend well, and this is where their backs will come into their own, marshalled as always by Stuart Hogg. Another fourth place looks likely, purely down to the strength of other teams in the tournament, but no-one should rule them out of showing yet more signs of progression as they, like everyone else, continue to build towards next year’s World Cup.