With eight players selected on the British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa last summer, Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend will be hoping that experience will feed into the squad for the 2022 Six Nations.
The Scottish stars could hold their heads high for their efforts down in South Africa and that knowledge and confidence should stand them in good stead for the Six Nations.
Scots Gain Lions Recognition
Having had such limited representation on previous tours, it was refreshing to see eight Scotland players named in the squad for the tour at the home of the world champions. Forwards Zander Fagerson, Rory Sutherland and Hamish Watson earned call-ups, while backs Ali Price, Finn Russell, Chris Harris, Duhan van der Merwe and Stuart Hogg also earned selection. Scotland, who at the time of writing are 11/1 on betting sites like Space Casino to win the 2022 Six Nations, can only benefit from having their top players on tour. Being able to face the world champions in their own backyard while also learning from the other best players in Britain and Ireland should have a positive effect on this Scotland squad going forward.
Head coach Townsend, who will have also learned plenty in his coaching role under boss Warren Gatland with the Lions, will be determined to see his side build on their positive 2021 Six Nations campaign. The Scots won three of their five games and might well see the competition as an opportunity missed, having picked up some memorable wins on the road. A fine win over Australia in the Autumn Internationals was another highlight for a Scotland side that continue to make positive strides forward.
Consistency the Key
What Scotland must do to finally land a maiden Six Nations crown is to make sure they are consistent. Long-awaited away wins in London and Paris in 2021 showed just how far this Scottish side have come in recent years, as again they proved they can beat almost any team in world rugby on their day. However, it was once again a question of “what if?” as they were edged out by both Wales and Ireland at BT Murrayfield. A regulation win over Italy meant that with three wins from five, Scotland had to settle for a third spot in the table behind winners Wales and second-place France.
Momentum and consistency are must-haves when it comes to winning a Six Nations title, and it’s something Scotland have lacked since the inception of the six-team tournament in 2000. Capable of an upset here and there, Scotland are no longer happy with that and a first title is now a realistic goal. With an improving front-row and powerful back-row, along with a backline filled with Lions players, there is plenty for Scotland to feel optimistic about for the Six Nations.
The Scots have been seen as dark horses in the past but this year they have to prove they can mix it with the best in the northern hemisphere on a consistent basis.