Six Nations 2013: Scotland vs Wales Prediction

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The reigning Grand Slam Champions Wales head to Murrayfield this weekend to battle Scotland in an encounter set to determine who is left standing to challenge England for the RBS Six Nations crown. Both Scotland and Wales enter this weekend’s match with two wins from three, following opening round defeats, and can still realistically win the tournament, albeit provided England slip-up along the way. Unfortunately for Scotland it is not entirely within their control – even if they win the next two matches (Wales and France) they could still finish second to their auld enemy. Wales on the other hand can clinch back-to-back Six Nations titles with wins at Murrayfield and at home against England – but only if they can recuperate the points difference.

Reasons to back Scotland
Scotland edged a very narrow and lucky 12-8 win over Ireland despite being dominated in nearly every facet of the contest last time out. This weekend they will need to turn those terrible statistics upside down if they are to stand any real chance of beating Wales.

Head coach Scott Johnson feels Wales will not pose a significant problem to his team’s overall game plan as he knows exactly how the team plays and what to expect from them. The former Ospreys boss stirred the pot this week by saying that “they haven’t done anything different for five years and I like that personally”. Johnson will be hoping to use his experience working with the Ospreys to Scotland’s advantage.

He and his coaching staff have built solid foundations this Six Nations, instilling a winning mentality and breaking away from the mediocracy usually associated with Scotland’s play. He has got the best out of the likes of Hogg, Scott, Laidlaw, Maitland and Visser who all know their way to the try line. They have the players and talent to win on Saturday along with a coach who has worked at the heart of Welsh rugby.

Scotland have made two changes for this weekend as the impressive Geoff Cross is replaced by Euan Murray, a debatable decision following the former’s impressive showing against Ireland. The young and talented Glasgow fly-half Duncan Weir is rewarded for some fine club form with his first Scotland start in place of the inconsistent but unlucky Ruaridh Jackson.

If Scotland manage a win on Saturday it will be the first time they have recorded three wins in a row since 1996. No pressure, then.

Reasons to back Wales
Wales come into this weekend’s contest with a record of eight wins from the last nine encounters between the two teams while also sharing almost identical stats with the Scots for this year’s tournament. Both sides have scored the same number of points, tries, conversions and penalties over the last three matches and look difficult to separate.

Wales welcome back Sam Warburton in place of Justin Tipuric. They will be hoping the man who led them to last year’s Grand Slam can rediscover some of that form and leave behind him the poor run of performances that saw him relegated to the bench in Rome. Interestingly, Ryan Jones retains the captaincy (which he took from Warburton for the Italy match), while Alun Wyn Jones comes in at second row in place of Andrew Coombs. In the front row Paul James replaces Gethin Jenkins at loose-head prop.

Wales bring a wealth of experience to Murrayfield on Saturday, where they will try to bully and dominate the breakdowns as much as they can to stop Laidlaw, Hogg and Scott from building any sort of momentum for the Scots. Having said that, the Welsh back-three of Leigh Halfpenny, Alex Cuthbert and George North certainly has the potential to hurt Scotland. A lot will depend on whether Biggar, Roberts and Davies can manage to get the ball out wide to them.

Prediction:
As repetitive as this gets, it is another incredibly tough one to call. Scotland simply cannot consistently survive on the amount of possession and territory they had against Ireland, and if Wales can dominate the way the Irish did they will win comfortably. However, such statistical imbalances are rare and Scotland should have more chances this weekend. That said, this Welsh team has dragged itself back onto its feet and is looking reasonably confident again. The promise of potentially pipping the English to the title the following week should see them to victory. Wales by 4.

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13 comments on “Six Nations 2013: Scotland vs Wales Prediction

  1. I’m going to have to disagree with your prediction here, as I believe Scotland are going to edge this one.

  2. Have to go with Wales as:
    – Man for man I think they are a better side.
    – They are a momentum team, with losing streaks and winning streaks, the confidence seems to have returned now.
    – They aren’t missing as many first choice players as they were.
    – A squad sprinkled across France and from regions who are struggling has taken some time to gel/find form again, but I think we are close to seeing the real Wales again.

    That said I’m hoping for a draw, or a 1 point win to the Scots!

    I couldn’t help but ponder what Andy Robinson must have been thinking about the last game, maybe “you lost games you should have won for me, and now you finally win a game you should have lost!”

  3. Well I am going with Scotland to edge this one as well.

    Apart from the scrum against Italy, and the “nothing to lose” last 30 mins against Ireland they have not impressed, and have looked rather ponderous.

    I think that Scotland will be dangerous, and for all the good work up front against Italy, i think the Murray/Cross 80min combo (let’s not forget that they WILL both play) will really pressurise Wales in the tight.

  4. Everybody talks about wales Tnthe breakdown but scotlands forward were really destructive against ireland, who for all theirn ball never really got it back quickly enough. Scotland set piece looks solid as well,

    There are a lot of players playing for a lions shirt here, the back three of both teams all have a shot at touring. But my eyes will be on inside centre. This is turning into a possible problem with no outstanding candidate. Barrit is in pole position at the moment due to his defensive qualities, they are something else. But Roberts will want to change that and who would believe scot would even be mentned, even as an outside shot.

    Beattie v faletau will also be an interesting one as one is in pole position at the mo and the other threatening.

    Bigger is Wales real advantage here, he has pllayed well not amazingly but a otlNd have a problem at 10.

    I think halfpenny’s boot will be the difference, scotland will not get away with so many infringements as they did against the irish, he has a longer range than the scotish kickers, and is accurate. However another 70 metre dash by hogg and one would be pressed to leave him out of the lions shirt.

    What a game

    Wales by 8

  5. Ooft – I am looking forward to heading down to Murrayfield the morn! A win would be huge for us (Scotland), but Wales have to be favourites. I hope Weir has a good game. He’s got a great attitude and a lot of potential, and at 21, is young to be playing 10 at this level. He also has a massive boot and a decent conversion rate, which may even out the 1/2p factor. I’m not sure my nerves can take another 80 min shredding, so hopefully we have the ball a wee bit more than in our last time out…

  6. A welsh win for me.

    In the cold light of day i struggle to see what Scotland have really created? Yes Hogg has finished well, but most of these have been the result of intercepts or sloppy ball control at the breakdown. They didnt get anywhere near scoring a try against the Irish and i think thats because 1. The Irish didnt throw any intercepts, and 2. Ireland controlled their ball well at the breakdown.

    Scrum – I think this will end in parity. I dont see one team being any better than the other – both solid packs. So i think this will come down to the lottery that is the referee trying to read a scrum.

    The only place i’d give them the edge is the lineout. If they kick to corners and attack Welsh defensive lineouts they could make hay. Apart from that i just dont see it..

    But you know what.. i didnt see anything other than an Irish victory against them a week last Sunday either! Ha.

  7. Gut feeling says Scotland, but I’m usually hopeless at predeictions. Just don’t feel Wales have turned the corner yet. Yes they won the last two games, but I still feel they need to win with some panache to fully break free. I’m thinking something along the lines of the Twickenham game in 08 or that incredible match against Scotland a couple of years ago. Something along the lines of those entertaining games would be appreciated for us neutrals!

  8. Rugbylass@live.co.uk March 8, 2013 at 2:56 pm -

    Heart says Wales and head says…Wales, just. Hope it will be a cracker of a game.

  9. It’s gonna be a hair raiser there’s no doubting that, a very forwards controlled game I’m feeling with the odd patch of play in the backs. However all tries will be scored through the backs. I can’t see Scotland being in the game much, when was the last time Scotland pulled it out of the bag when the pressure was on??? Think they’ll buckle under the pressure of all or nothing. We’ve (Wales) have been in the make or break situation slot since 2005 and are no strangers to doing it right on the night. They know too well what it’s like to play and performe well in these circumstances and getting a result. Admitingly we didn’t have what it took to get to the final of last world cup, yes we performed excellently during that RWC but France and Australia coped with the pressure better. My prediction is Wales 36-23 Scotland

  10. you have to go wales, everytime these sides go head to head in the 6 nations wales always get my vote. wales should winby at least 10 points

  11. I know Howley has some players back from injury but why has he messed with a team that’s performing ok? I really hope wyn jones and Warburton perform as they have replaced the form players.

    I still see a Welsh win though.

  12. Wales have too much class in my opinion and some of it is even remembering how to play. Also with bigger stakes to play for, Wales have the experience to cope with the pressure better than Scotland. Going to be close, but Wales by a score.