Scotland: Last week counts for nothing
PRE-MATCH BUILD-UP: Scotland captain Stuart Hogg has insisted last week’s landmark win over England will “count for nothing” if they fail to beat Wales in the Six Nations at Murrayfield on Saturday.
The fullback was one of Scotland’s stars as they won at Twickenham for the first time since 1983, with an 11-6 tournament-opening victory over reigning champions England that was far more emphatic than the final scoreline suggested.
Scotland has never been crowned champions since Italy joined in 2000 to make it the Six Nations.
But a win over Wales, who beat Ireland 21-16 last weekend, would endorse their title credentials as well as giving Scotland victories in both of their opening two championship matches for the first time in 25 years.
“Last week was absolutely tremendous, but it’s one thing being able to win, but another thing being able to back it up,” Hogg told reporters in a conference call on Friday.
“So yes, we can take a huge amount of confidence from last week. We are growing, but that counts for nothing unless we back it up this week.”
Scotland, however, is on something of a Six Nations roll and a win this weekend would mean they had won five successive matches in the tournament after finishing the 2020 edition with three straight victories.
One of those successes was an October triumph that saw Scotland end their 18-year wait for a win on Welsh soil, but Hogg believes there is more to come from coach Gregor Townsend’s developing team.
“That’s the exciting thing for us,” said Hogg, who helped club side Exeter complete an English and European title double last season.
“However good we were last week, we still believe we can be better and that’s the exciting thing for us.”
Wales have been hard-hit by injuries but they have been boosted by the return on the wing of British and Irish Lions star Liam Williams for Saturday’s clash in Edinburgh following a three-game suspension.
“Liam’s a fantastic player,” Hogg added. “He’s one of the best in the air, both in attack and defence, so I imagine they’ll be doing a lot of cross-field kicks, a lot of contestable kicks to try and get him involved in the game.
“You can’t give a guy like him time and space because he’s going to cause some problems, so I think Liam and the rest of their backline, they’ve all got great individual talent.”