Ryan Wilson believes Scotland can now set sights on Six Nations summit

Glasgow captain has a match against Munster to prepare for first, but is already looking ahead to Saturday's Cardiff clash

Wilson ready for Wales clash after seven weeks out
Ryan Wilson feels cheerier than ever about Scotland's Six Nations prospects after seeing them beat England. Image: © Craig Watson. www.craigwatson.co.uk

RYAN WILSON’s indomitable optimism was always going to ensure he had high hopes for Scotland in this year’s Six Nations. But, after Saturday’s triumph over England, the Glasgow captain is even more hopeful than before about the campaign.

In common with many observers, Wilson was certain that France should be favourites for this year’s Championship, predicting that Scotland would be runners-up. Now, however, he thinks Gregor Townsend’s squad can realistically set their sights that little bit higher as they prepare for the second round of fixtures in Cardiff on Saturday.

“You don’t want to get too far ahead of yourself, but you go down to Wales, and they weren’t great at the weekend, were they?,” asked Wilson, who won his 50th and so far last Scotland cap in the win over France at the end of the 2021 campaign. “We’ll find out if it was more Ireland being as dominant as they actually are, but Wales weren’t great.


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“Then suddenly you’re at home to France with two wins under your belt and anything can happen there. I’d back the boys at home against France, even with the way they’ve been going. Then suddenly you’ve got Italy, then you’re playing against Ireland for a potential Grand Slam.

“Like I said, I try not to get too far ahead of myself. But I’m excited for what the boys have got ahead of them.

“It was incredible,” the back-row forward continued when asked his opinion of the 20-17 Calcutta Cup victory. “I had spoken so much in the press and on the podcast I do about what I think Scotland were going to do. I was just hoping the boys could back it up so I couldn’t get too much stick this week, and they certainly went and did that. So it makes my life a little bit easier.

“But I could genuinely see it. I knew that they were going to go out and do it – not only because England were an unfamiliar team, but more so because you just know that with the Scotland team at the moment they’re in a good place. Bloody exciting to see and roll on Saturday – I’m looking forward to that as well.”

Before he can put his feet up and watch the action unfold in the Principality Stadium, Wilson has a Friday-night URC game against Munster to prepare for. Glasgow are third in the table at present, but Munster are just two points behind and have a game in hand, so the 8.15pm match at Scotstoun is one of the biggest clashes of the league season so far. 

 

International absences will leave both teams understrength, but the Warriors have thrived in such circumstances before, notably back in 2019 when they won all their PRO14 games during the Six Nations window. The difference between then and now is that back then a full programme of league games was always planned to take place during the Championship, whereas this match has been rescheduled. But Wilson, for one, always expected to be called in action during this particular weekend.

“Obviously this will be a little bit different [compared to 2019] with the games not meant to be going ahead, but to be honest we did see this a mile off,” the 32-year-old added. “Games have been cancelled due to Covid etc, rearranged games have been put in this period, so no-one went away and booked a two- or three-week holiday. We all knew: ‘Boys, don’t book anything, we’ll end up in here, I’m sure’, and that’s the case, isn’t it?

“We’ve always done well in these periods with players away and missing. I can almost say it’s even more in focus, because there’s players getting opportunities which they haven’t had so far.

“You saw that two weeks against Connacht – guys like Ollie Smith playing outstandingly well, getting his opportunity. Duncan Weir is someone who has been knocking at the door. Obviously Ross has been going really well, but Dunky was desperate to get a shot and he had the ball on a string that day.

“They were highlighted this week – it shows that everyone takes their opportunities. So there’s a lot of motivation in that as well for players.

“And also Munster – you don’t need much to get the boys going for that one. Everyone knows how important it is. They’re always fiery encounters – they’ve been big games over the years. 

“Yeah, it’s always a good one. I’m looking forward to Friday night. 8.15pm – I should be in my bed by then.”

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10 takeaways from round one of the Six Nations

About Stuart Bathgate 1393 Articles
Stuart has been the rugby correspondent for both The Scotsman and The Herald, and was also The Scotsman’s chief sports writer for 14 years from 2000.

4 Comments

  1. Genuine 50 50 game, game in Cardiff quite an advantage for Wales. We played well enough to win last week, it will be fascinating the centre partnership GT chooses. I reckon we can’t risk a kick defence/orientated game and I would like to see Redpath at 12 seeking out VDM Hoggy and DArcy

  2. Wales away and Wales at home are two very different prospects. Lets just leave the optimism at the door and concentrate on preparation for a hard day at the office. Its going to be. They won’t capitulate like they did against Ireland.

    We are in for a bruiser…

    • sort of Grant.

      We shouldn’t get too ahead of ourselves. One game at a time etc.
      But the squad need to be in a positive frame of mind, not a negative or pessimistic one. They need to know and do know Wales are likely to be a very tough team to beat in Cardiff, especially after last weekend’s poor showing. But the squad also need to believe they are good enough to win.
      The rest of us can hide behind the sofa

      • We need to work on the assumption it will be tough but we can look to those seismic away wins from last season as evidence that they can go down and do a number on Wales. Its very much do able but Scotland need to be accurate, cut out the silly errors and play smart to stand a chance of winning.

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