There’s no doubt that in the last three or four years Scotland have been much more competitive and that’s what fans north of the border want to see.
Whoever identifies the players potentially available for Scotland should be paid a healthy sum because they’ve unearthed some great characters, including prop Pierre Schoeman and wing Duhan van der Merwe.
When you look at some of the other sides in the Six Nations, they have a consistency in their selection and that’s something I’d like more of from Scotland.
I think we’re searching for guys who can play on a regular basis without injury and who can provide us with some balance.
Scotland will be helped by their contingent of British and Irish Lions in this campaign. These are lads who have been able to step up to the highest level, learn about players who will be their opposition in weeks to come and build on last year’s foundations.
The loss to Wales was particularly disappointing for me and winning our home games this year will be crucial. We have huge ties against both England and France, who we beat in Paris for the first time in 20 years last year.
If we can take care of our home matches, especially against England this weekend, and stop Wales in Cardiff, we could be sitting pretty after the first three games.
Winning in Twickenham was so significant in 2021. I was texting all of my English mates telling them how lucky they were that we couldn’t be there in person because I’d have been handing out my fair share of gyp.
It all starts on Saturday, though, in the Calcutta Cup, one of sport’s great rivalries. It doesn’t take much to motivate a Scotsman when they’re playing England and long may it continue because these kinds of rivalries are the essence of sport.
The winters in this country would be just awful if you didn’t have the Six Nations, it’s been a massive part of who I am for two thirds of my life. The away trips are tremendous and the sense of occasion and excitement makes the Six Nations unique.
For those who have never experienced the second verse of Flower of Scotland at Murrayfield before, please do. It’s the fact that 60,000 people know that it’s coming, that a capella verse; it’s such a spectacle.
It’s been a long couple of years for everybody and I think it will be an extraordinary atmosphere on Saturday. Scotland will bring everything, there’s no doubt about that.
|Scotland’s player of the tournament||Finn Russell|