Your all-in, handy guide to the upcoming Scotland Six Nations campaign.
Fixture dates, kick-off times and TV channels
Sat 3 Feb - Wales (a) - 2.15pm - BBC
Sun 11 Feb - France (h) - 3pm - BBC
Sat 24 Feb - England (h) - 4.45pm - BBC
Sat 10 Mar - Ireland (a) - 2.15pm - ITV
Sat 17 Mar - Italy (a) - 12.30pm - ITV
If Scotland hope to win their first ever Six Nations crown, and first Championship since 1999, then all of the five matches must be looked upon as vital fixtures.
However, if we really want to narrow it down to one or two, then the opening match against Wales is as good a place as any to start. Victory in the Millennium Stadium for the first time since 2002 would act as a springboard for the rest of the campaign.
Having got that monkey off our back, it would be perfect time to rid ourselves of another when England come to Edinburgh two weeks later. It’s been a decade since we’ve defeated the Auld Enemy, and if a victory at Murrayfield would mean three successive wins to start the Championships, then the trophy would be Scotland’s to lose.
Scotland’s key players
Stuart Hogg will obviously be key to Scotland’s chances. He’s a world class talent and, if he can get himself fit in time for the Championships starting, he would provide a huge boost for Gregor Towsend’s men.
Another player at the top of his game is Finn Russell. The skilful No.10 will act as the fulcrum to Scotland’s attack, while his kicking abilities will also come in handy.
Injuries are a problem in the front-row with many regular starters likely to miss the tournament. The deputies, like Newcastle Falcons prop Jon Welsh, will have to ensure the likes of Zander Fagerson, WP Nel and Al Dickinson are not greatly missed.
Centre Huw Jones has been scoring tries for fun, including one in each of the autumn Tests, while Hamish Watson, the Edinburgh flanker, will have to continue his fine form after emerging as first choice in the crucial openside role.
Scotland’s coaching team
Gregor Townsend – Head Coach
Matt Taylor – Assistant Coach (Defence Coach)
Dan McFarland – Forwards Coach
Mike Blair – Skills Coach
Stuart Yule – Strength and Conditioning
This is Townsend’s first Six Nations since taking over from Vern Cotter. He’s vowed to have Scotland playing the fastest brand of rugby in the world and, so far, the signs have been promising. Victories at home and abroad over Australia were the big highlights of 2017, along with a narrow hard-luck loss to New Zealand despite injuries depleting the squad. A surprise Summer Tour loss to Fiji has been the only blip so far.
Scotland’s previous Six Nations finishes (over the past decade)
2017 - 3 wins, 2 defeats - 4th place
2016 - 2 wins, 3 defeats - 4th place
2015 - 0 wins, 5 defeats - 6th place
2014 - 1 win, 4 defeats - 5th place
2013 - 2 wins, 3 defeats - 3rd place
2012 - 0 wins, 5 defeats - 6th place
2011 - 1 win, 4 defeats - 5th place
2010 - 1 win, 4 defeats - 5th place
2009 - 1 win, 4 defeats - 5th place
2008 - 1 win, 4 defeats - 5th place
How to get tickets for Scotland Six Nations matches?
Tickets for the home matches against France and England are already sold out. However, a limited number of tickets will be made available to the public later in the month. There is a waiting list (you can register here) so chances of getting one are unlikely, but then you never know. Otherwise there is the secondary market, with tickets costing upwards of £150 per seat. Purchasing tickets for away fixtures must be done through the relevant rugby union (Wales, Ireland, Italy).
What are the odds on Scotland winning the Six Nations?
The shortest odds come courtesy of William Hill and Marathonbet, who are offering 7/1.
If you’re looking to get more bang for your buck, Stan James currently have the longest odds at 11/1.