BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Scott Hastings insists he firmly believes Scotland can kick-start their Six Nations campaign with a victory in Wales tomorrow.
Scotland’s 1990 Grand Slam hero is unsurprised that, aside from the enforced introduction of Duncan Taylor for Matt Scott in the centre, head coach Vern Cotter has stuck with the line-up that lost 15-9 to England in Saturday’s crushing Calcutta Cup clash.
And the former British and Irish Lions centre is confident the Scots are not too far away from ending a worst-ever run of eight successive Six Nations defeats.
The 51-year-old said: “I was at Murrayfield on Saturday and I quite enjoyed the game, in a perverse sort of way. I wasn’t down-hearted by the performance; I was frustrated.
“I think what Vern Cotter has done is sent out a clear signal to this team and said: ‘Go out and deliver the game-plan and take your chances’.
“And if you take your chances you can win a game of rugby. They didn’t take their chances on Saturday and they lost.”
Scotland have not won in Cardiff since a 27-22 victory in 2002 and were thrashed 51-3 on their last visit two years ago when Stuart Hogg was red-carded after just 22 minutes.
However, it is the positive aspects of the dramatic 31-24 defeat in 2010 that Hastings is hopeful the Scots can repeat as they bid to land their first Six Nations win since their 21-20 success against Italy almost two years ago.
Contemplating the decision to agree to the roof being closed at the newly-named Principality Stadium, Hastings added: “I think it’s the right decision. The Millennium Stadium is the best atmosphere and I don’t find it a fearsome place, I find it an inspiring place.
“What Scotland have got to do is get the crowd on their side. The Scotland supporters need something to shout about.
“They almost did it six years ago when they won the game, then drew it and then lost the game with the last play of the game.
“And it’s that kind of competitiveness they must take into the game on Saturday.”