2018 Six Nations: Wales v Scotland Preview

Players attempt to score a try

Rugby fans will get their first taste of international action for the year when Wales and Scotland get the 2018 edition of the Six Nations gets underway on Saturday 3 February.

Round One of this year’s edition of the Six Nations gets underway at the Principality on Saturday, as Wales look to put their injury woes behind them to claim a win over Scotland. Despite Warren Gatland’s assurance that his side have the “easiest draw” of all, the Dragons will be in for a dogfight minus six of their British & Irish Lions and would do well to warrant their ‘favourites’ tag for this one.

Wales v Scotland | Saturday 3 February | Principality Stadium | 16:15

To Win (80 Mins)
Wales 7/10 | Draw 20/1 | Scotland 12/10

Wales

While the Welsh would ordinarily expect nothing less than a bonus-point win over the 'Scots in the safe confines of Cardiff, all signs suggest that this weekend’s matchup may not exactly account for the ordinary. Wales have lost six - yes, six - British Lions ahead of the clash and, when coupled with Scotland’s remarkable November form, have every reason to be chewing the fingernails.

Gatland’s selections this week are bound to be interesting. With regular halfback duo of Rhys Webb and Dan Biggar absent, he will have to opt for an untried combination. A 60% chance of rain on Saturday means that whomever steps into the breach cannot afford to leave their kicking boots behind.

Wet conditions may force the Kiwi coach to revert to his notorious ‘Warrenball’ tactics, with a bulky inside centre sure to make a big impact in such a scenario, although keeping some kind of continuity in his squad selections will bode him well in the leadup to the next World Cup.

If Wales can stay in the right areas of the pitch and keep the game tight, they will be in with a shout. Scotland’s backs are electrifying, so limiting their space will be key.

Scotland
Scotland’s slim championship hopes will get a huge boost with a win in Cardiff this Saturday. The tournament’s ‘dark horses’ played some breath-taking footy in November and will be fully confident of leaving the Principality with maximum points.

A backline that consists of the likes of Stuart Hogg, Finn Russell and Tommy Seymour is not to be trifled with, and they are indeed capable of tearing teams apart on their day as they have been doing for Glasgow all season long. The combination of grit and guilt that the 'Scots possess is just right and, should their forwards match up with their Celtic cousins this weekend, will be hard for a depleted Welsh outfit to stop.

Gregor Townsend and his coaching staff would have no doubt masterminded a strategy to pressurize Wales’ halfback pairing, which will naturally have a massive impact on the result. Wales will be vulnerable without the calm heads of Biggar and Webb and Scotland will have half the battle won if they are able to force mistakes in that area of play.

Verdict: Scotland 12/10 
It really is hard to see this game going any other way considering Wales’ hardships of late, hence you’d have to be a madman to bet against Scotland this weekend. I’m banking on them delivering a knockout performance to get their campaign underway in the greatest possible fashion.

Written by Shaun Goosen for @Hollywoodbets.net

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