Scotland v Wales
Sunday 15 February, 15:00
Wales will be without their tighthead prop Samson Lee when they make the trip to Edinburgh to face Scotland in the Six Nations second round match on Sunday. The 22-year-old is still recovering from a head injury picked up in the opening round home defeat to England. Coach Warren Gatland has entrusted Osprey’s Aaron Jarvis to fill his boots.
Lee is joined on the sick list by George North who is also suffering from concussion after receiving two blows to the head in the opening round match. Liam Williams will return to the side for the first time since November to replace the side-lined Northampton winger. Williams in turn will be replaced by Cardiff Blues prop Scott Andrews, who brings the experience of nine international caps to the bench.
Gatland and his men will be keen to continue their seven-year unbeaten run against the Scots, and put last Friday’s heartbreaking 21-16 Millennium Stadium defeat to England behind them. They will be boosted by memory of last year’s 51-3 demolition of the Scots.
Their opponents will also be looking to kick-start their campaign after their opening round defeat in Paris. Vern Cotters’ team put in a decent display against the French, and will be hoping that home advantage will assist them in their quest to inflict defeat on the Welsh for the first time since 2007.
Scotland will make changes of their own for the Murrayfield encounter with Sean Lamont taking the place of Tommy Seymour, who was injured in Paris; and Geoff Cross coming in for church-tied prop Euan Murray. Perhaps the biggest surprise is the exclusion of Dougie Fife who has been left out of the squad despite scoring in Paris last weekend. The rest of the line-up is expected to remain unchanged.
With a new high-tech pitch in place at Murrayfield, the Scotland team can no longer rely on adverse surface conditions to hamper their opponents. This may be a blessing in disguise for the home side as they can now take to the field with a completely different approach. A more attack-minded Scotland can be expected and this should produce a closer game than last year’s Millennium Stadium mauling. However, it is hard to imagine them ending their seven-game losing streak against Wales this weekend.
Prediction: Wales, winning margin 11-12. Check out Betfair for the latest Odds.