The Story So Far: Scotland

You often hear that teams who get steadily better throughout a tournament tend to be successful, and that certainly seems to be the trajectory Scotland are taking.

You often hear that teams who get steadily better throughout a tournament tend to be successful, and that certainly seems to be the trajectory Scotland are taking.

Round One brought frustration with defeat to Wales, Round Two delivered relief in the shape of victory over France and with Round Three came jubilation as England were downed in Edinburgh.

Ahead of Saturday’s clash against Ireland, Gregor Townsend’s are placed third in the table and preparing a title tilt, but here we take a look at how they got here.


After a superb autumn that delivered a resounding victory over Australia and narrow defeat to New Zealand, Scotland came into the 2018 NatWest 6 Nations in confident mood.

But at 14-0 down at half-time in their opening-round match against Wales in Cardiff, Townsend’s men were perhaps left shocked by Wales’ onslaught.

Warren Gatland’s side had played an excellent 40 minutes, with Gareth Davies intercepting an Ali Price pass to score the first try and Leigh Halfpenny going over for the second with only 11 minutes on the clock.

After the break further tries came for Halfpenny and Steff Evans – Peter Horne got one back for Scotland at the death, leaving the final score 34-7.


Scotland quickly learned from defeat and in the second round Townsend rung the changes, bringing in Horne, Sean Maitland, Greig Laidlaw, Grant Gilchrist and Ryan Wilson.

France were the visitors to BT Murrayfield and they didn’t take long to get started, with wing Teddy Thomas cutting in from the right inside three minutes to get the game’s opening try.

Maitland struck back before Thomas doubled his tally, collecting a chip that cruelly deceived Laidlaw and allowed the Frenchman to touch down over the line.

Huw Jones got Scotland’s second to make it 20-14 to France at the interval but then Laidlaw took over, kicking two penalties at the start of the second half to outdo Baptiste Serin’s one.

It had been almost 12 months since Laidlaw had last started a match for his country and he proved vital in securing the win, kicking 22 points in the 32-26 victory.


Following victory over France a rest week followed, enabling Scotland to get a few more key men fit again – notably prop WP Nel and lock Tim Swinson, who both appeared off the bench against England.

The Auld Enemy were favourites for the match, coming off the back of victories over Italy and Wales, but at a packed-out BT Murrayfield many sensed within the opening ten minutes that England would not have it their own way.

Scotland’s back row of John Barclay, Hamish Watson and Ryan Wilson were getting though a mountain of work and following Laidlaw’s early penalty, Jones touched down following a delicate grubber from Finn Russell.

The No.10’s wondrous miss-pass for Jones then led to a try for Maitland and just before the break Jones stormed over for Scotland’s third – stunning their visitors.

The match was more even in the second 40 but Scotland ran out 25-13 winners to record a famous victory and take hold of the Calcutta Cup.

Townsend’s men now target an elusive away victory in Dublin but have welcomed the likes of lock Richie Gray, prop Zander Fagerson and flanker John Hardie back to fitness, will their upwards trajectory continue?