What are the Scottish media saying ahead of opening Six Nations clash with Ireland?

A quiet optimism exists among newspapers that Vern Cotter’s side can pull something off

There is an air of optimism around Scotland that they can pull something off in this year’s Six Nation. Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images

There is an air of optimism around Scotland that they can pull something off in this year’s Six Nation. Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images

 

Reading through the Scottish media’s pre-Six Nations coverage there’s an optimistic mood around the rugby team and a quiet air of confidence that they can pull something off this year.

That confidence ahead of their opening clash with Ireland has been increased by the news that Johnny Sexton is out, something that most see as the best possible pre-game boost for Vern Cotter’s side.

Speaking to The Herald this week, Glasgow flanker Ryan Wilson said expectations have now been increased with the news of Sexton’s injury.

“Sexton is a key man for them and a lot of people are going to have raised expectations now that he’s not playing,” he said.

Writing in the same newspaper, Stuart Bathgate says that the increased strength in depth Scotland now have must be taken advantage of if they’re to improve on recent performances in the tournament.

“The resources are there all right, and the potential is massive. Let’s hope it is realised in what promises to be one of the most closely fought Six Nations for some time,” he writes.

In the Daily Record, senior writer Gordon Parks is also cautiously optimistic.

“Whenever tentative whispers of revival are triggered by encouraging November Tests they’re normally silenced by the thud of a wooden spoon.

“So here we are once again. A dreaded feelgood factor has re-energised the egg chasers and it’s impossible not to be suckered into a belief that maybe, just maybe, this could be Scotland’s year.

“After all, it’s time to go for the throat. It’s time for the prey to become the predator. Put simply, it’s time to claw back our pride,” he says in a rallying cry to the Saltire troops.

Meanwhile, in the Guardian, Michael Aylwin has predicted Scotland to win the whole thing and take their first ever Six Nations title.

“A long shot,” he says.

“And we’ve been excited about Scotland before. Then disappointed. Again. But confidence is high. England and Ireland also contenders, obviously.”

Andy Bull also echoes those sentiments and thinks Scotland can pull off a few shocks, but not quite win it.

“Scotland are stronger now than they’ve been in a long, long while, and are well capable of beating any of the other five sides.”

Speaking to Tom English, of BBC Scotland, Vern Cotter was bullish about hoping to wipe the smile off Joe Schmidt’s face.

“It’s a really big challenge for our guys. Joe [Schmidt, Ireland coach] is a really good friend and we’ll probably have a beer afterwards. Unfortunately, he’s always the one with the smile on his face – and I’d like it to stop. I’d like to get one back on him,” the kiwi said.

But, finally, the Scottish optimism is dampened somewhat by a story in The Herald which reports that Scotland will win just a single match at this year’s tournament...according to ar major data analyst.

London-based QBE Business Insurance, known for predicting ‘the impact of catastrophes, including earthquakes and floods’ and also including the factors that put businesses at risk, told the newspaper that Scotland, will claim that solitary victory by a single score margin, which they have very specifically broken down to a 24-17 win over Italy in their final match.

They tell the newspaper their findings are based on their actuaries have made their calculations on the basis of a complex mathematical formula, taking into account a wide range of variables and a decade of past events and incidents.

Right so, nothing to worry about on Saturday then.

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