Jonny Gray set to make 50th cap for Scotland

Jonny Gray

Gray excited for Wales clash (Credit: David Ronney)

Glasgow Warriors lock, Jonny Gray will start against Wales on Saturday and will join an illustrious club of players who have racked up a half century of caps for Scotland rugby team.

The 24-year-old made his first full debut for the national side back in November 2013 and since then has impressed spectators with a number of solid performances. He is quickly catching up with older brother, Richie Gray, who has 62 national caps and one for the British and Irish Lions.

So far this tournament Jonny Gray has played 134 minutes making 15 carries and 37 tackles as part of the first line of defence against Ireland and France.

Jonny Gray is proud of his achievments but was quick to emphasise the weekends match will be a team effort. Wales are currently the only unbeaten team in this years Six Nations tournamnet.

“It’s not about me. This week is huge, last week was very tough to take.

“To be here is such a special feeling. It’s something I never thought that I would do when I was younger. To be here I’m very lucky.”

Even though Scotland can no longer challenge for the championship title, Gray insisted that playing for the country was an honour.

“When you are playing for Scotland there is always something to play for.”

 

Scotland welcome Grand Slam chasers Wales to the capital – The Six Nations Preview Show

Greig Laidlaw

Scotland captain, Greig Laidlaw is dropped to the bench for home match against Wales. (Credit: David Ronney)

Following back to back defeats in this Six Nations Championship, Scotland prepare for their last home match of the tournament against Grand Slam chasers, Wales.

With Scotland at terms with themselves out of the running to win the competition, they’ll be looking to upset the Welsh party with a win against the visitors.

David Ronney is joined by Bryce Donaldson and Fraser Munro for The Six Nations Preview Show.

Watch it below:

Wilson: Scotland can bounce back against Welsh

Matt Taylor

Danny Wilson is confident Scotland can put on a good performance in front of a home support (Credit: Bryce Donaldson)

Scotland Rugby Assistant Coach, Danny Wilson, believes his side can return to Edinburgh with a win against Wales after a disappointing 27-10 defeat in Paris.

The Scots will face off against a grand-slam hopeful Wales on Saturday at BT Murrayfield.

A number of key players have returned to the squad in the past week and many in the Scotland camp are quietly confident they can cause an upset and delay celebrations in Cardiff.

Wilson said: “We know we didn’t do ourselves justice in France but we need to bounce back this weekend.

“We had a blip in performance, and we have to make sure that we raise our performance to a level where we can put Wales under huge pressure.

“There is no better opposition to bounce back against. The motivation levels should be through the roof to play a side that is coming [to BT Murrayfield] and looking for a grand slam.”

Scotland will undoubtedly start the match as underdogs but Wilson doesn’t believe this is necessarily a bad thing.

He added: “From my experience, when Scotland have been underdogs they have been pretty dangerous and have produced some outstanding performances against some of the best opposition out there. That’s what this weekend is about.

Finn Russell and Greig Laidlaw

Finn Russell comes back into the Scotland lineup while Greig Laidlaw has been dropped to the bench (Credit: David Ronney)

“This is an extremely passionate group of players. As a collective, coaches and players, we weren’t happy with our performances at the weekend against France and we have come back very keen to make sure we put that right this weekend. That starts first and foremost with a performance full of identity and passion.”

Scotland currently sit fifth in the table, above only a pointless Italy.

Should Wales be triumphant at the weekend they will still be on course for their first Grand Slam since 2012, whilst a Scottish victory (and a favour from Ireland) could see them leapfrog last weeks opponents. To do that, Wilson knows the importance of home form.

He said: “The pressure of playing in front of a home crowd is an important one, a driving one and we will want to put in a performance that will make that home crowd proud.”

If Scotland are able to live up to what they claim they are capable of it will restore confidence in the squad after back-to-back defeats.

Though Scotland are out of the running for the championship there is still a chance for silverware. Their reward, regardless of result, is sure to be a contentious final game at Twickenham against England to defend their title as the current holders of the Calcutta Cup.

Six Nations Podcast: Can Scotland defeat Ireland?

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Scotland play Ireland tomorrow in the Six Nations (Credit: Scottish Rugby / Facebook)

Scotland host Ireland tomorrow in the Six Nations, looking to record back-to-back wins in the tournament following last week’s victory over Italy.

David Ronney and Bryce Donaldson join Luke Barry to assess Scotland’s chances.

 

To read assistant coach Mike Blair’s thoughts on tomorrow’s match click here, while for Jamie Ritchie’s thoughts click here.

Blair has “no concern” about Scotland’s defensive issues

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Blair isn’t worried about conceding late on last weekend (Credit: Bryce Donaldson)

Scotland Rugby assistant coach Mike Blair isn’t concerned about Scotland’s defensive issues despite conceding three late tries in their Six Nations victory over Italy last weekend.

Scotland beat Italy 33-20 at BT Murrayfield with tries from Blair Kinghorn, Stuart Hogg and Chris Harris helping them to the top of the table, but were 33-3 up with 10 minutes to go.

Blair admitted that Scotland made “poor” defensive decisions, but the coaching staff will leave “no stone unturned” as they prepare to host Ireland tomorrow.

“We were 33-3 up against the Italians but that last 15 minutes really hit home that if we do not get things right that teams will expose you,” he said.

“There were a few poor decisions in defence, perhaps a lack of energy, [which] meant that it was certainly a disappointing finish to the game. We are aware of that, we are aware of where our standards need to be to avoid that happening in other games.

“There is no concern. We have got a very hardworking coaching team who leave no stone unturned.

“We have conceded a few soft tries but that is nothing to do with our system. We just need to make sure the players are making smart decisions under pressure.”

 

 

Blair Kinghorn was one of the stand-out performers in last weekend’s victory, becoming the first Scottish player in history to score a hat-trick of tries.

Blair was quick to praise Kinghorn’s efforts even though he misses out on a starting spot against Ireland tomorrow.

“There’s not many who will doubt his ability after Saturday [match against Italy] and I think Blair has something like 80 or so games for his club Edinburgh already which, for a 22-year-old is crazy numbers,” Blair said.

“He’s building up a lot of experience early on in his career, obviously he’s a great talent, the height he’s got and the speed that he’s got on top of the superb handling ability that he has as well.

“We are all delighted with him, he is gaining experience all the time and already looks comfortable at international level already.”

Scotland gear up for Six Nations opener

Rugby fans across the the world are eagerly anticipating the start of the 2017 RBS Six Nations Championship, which gets underway on Saturday.

The prestigious tournament, which displays the best of the sport within the northern hemisphere, is now in its seventeenth year, having launched at the start of the millennium.

BT Murrayfield is the venue for the opening fixture of the competition, where Scotland host Ireland, knowing that getting off to a winning start is of paramount importance.

The Scots are hoping to end a dismal run of results on the opening weekend, with ten successive defeats. The last time they won their first game of the Championship was back in 2006, when they defeated France by 20 points to 16 at Murrayfield.

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Greig Laidlaw press conference at Oriam

Scotland captain, Greig Laidlaw, faced the media at their Oriam training base yesterday, and admitted that a few things have been adapted, before this weekend’s showdown with the Irish. He explained that they have focused heavily on their game plan since day one of training, and the team are confident that they can change their fortunes on Saturday afternoon.

Fly-half, Johnny Sexton, was influential in Ireland’s successful Autumn test series, where they recorded wins over Australia and Canada in Dublin, as well as a memorable first ever victory over New Zealand, in Chicago.

Sexton, however, has been ruled out of this weekend’s encounter due to a calf injury sustained last month. Flanker, Peter O’Mahony, will also be absent from the clash with a hamstring problem.

Scotland’s only notable absentee is prop, Willem Nel, who has recently undergone surgery on a neck injury.

The squads for both teams will be announced tomorrow.

 

 

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