Former captain Greig Laidlaw believes Scotland can win the Guinness Six Nations within the next three years.
Scotland’s last Championship victory came in the final edition of the Five Nations in 1999 and were third in the table – with two wins and two losses – when the 2020 edition was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, coach Gregor Townsend has plenty of young talent to call upon and its these promising signs that have Laidlaw confident of success in the near future.
“They need to just keep making strides,” Laidlaw told the BBC Scotland Rugby Podcast. “Scotland can win the Six Nations in the next two or three years, in my opinion.
“It’s the old thing with Scotland – don’t get too far ahead of ourselves. If we win one game that’s fine, but park it and move on to the next one.
“When we had that good win over Ireland at Murrayfield in 2017 under Vern Cotter, we went to Paris the next week and put in a poor collective performance as a team.
“It was almost like, ‘Well, we’ve beaten Ireland so we’re going to be all right this year’. There are no easy games.
“Scotland have got the players to do it and I’m certainly excited. You’ve still got Stuart Hogg, hopefully Finn Russell can come back into the fold and you’ve got Adam Hastings as well who has done well in the Six Nations.
“Jamie Ritchie and these other young forwards have plenty of energy to come through and put Scotland in a good spot.”
Scrum-half Laidlaw retired from international rugby following last year’s World Cup and earned 76 caps during his career, as well as touring with the British & Irish Lions.
The 34-year-old also recently left French club side Clermont Auvergne and has signed a two-year deal with Japanese Top League side Shining Arcs.
His attention is beginning to turn to his post-playing career and Laidlaw admits a long-term aim would be to coach his country.
“I’d love to coach Scotland one day,” he added. “There’s obviously a long way to go. I’ve proved nothing on the coaching front.
“It’s all well talking about it and anybody can say they would be a good coach. But I’m a big believer in you’ve got to start at the bottom, earn your stripes and work your way up.
“That’s how I looked at my own rugby career and it wouldn’t be any different if I do end up going into some coaching roles.”