Sat 7 February France v Scotland 4.30pm BBC1 (kick-off 5pm)
Sun 15 February Scotland v Wales 2.30pm BBC1 (kick-off 3pm)
Saturday 28 February Scotland v Italy 2pm BBC1 (kick-off 2.30pm)
Sat 14 March England v Scotland 4.30pm BBC1 (kick-off 5pm)
Sat 21 March Scotland v Ireland 2.25pm BBC1 (kick-off 2.30pm)
The Bonny Banks o’ Loch Lomond When Murrayfield isn’t pumping out the Fratellis or The Proclaimers, this is the tune that still gets most people bouncing. And, just like their national anthem, it’s not above a bit of English score-settling.
In a sentence
Another Kiwi coach in charge of a Six Nations side (that makes four out of six), Vern Cotter has finally put together a Scottish side that’s fun to watch. Don’t count on them winning consistently, but don’t be surprised if they pull off the decisive shock this year.
Pundit’s view: Ian McGeechan
What reasons do Scotland have to be confident going into this year’s Six Nations?
Since the game has turned professional, countries with the highest number of players have been in the strongest position. Scotland don’t have that depth, so they have had to be very clever with their resources.
Scotland are at their best when the game is less structured and more unusual. We create things simply because of a less ‘conformist’ approach. It suits us as a country; it’s won us big games in the past.
The new coach Vern Cotter is able to bring out a game that fits that Scottish rugby psyche. Previous Scotland coaches encouraged a very structured game, rather than having the confidence to look at it differently.
Does that mean you think they can surprise people this year?
Scotland will find it hard – and always have done – to be consistently at the top. But when they get a good group of players together, like they do now, over a few years they can mature very quickly. Because the strength in depth isn’t great, whatever players they do have are given time to settle and develop. That’s one of Scotland’s strengths.
The signs are very good now: the chemistry is right between the players and coaches, some young players have come in who will get better.
The Gray brothers in the second row always have a significant impact in how the team plays. They are right there in the heart of the action. Richie has always been a quality player, often not used to his strengths. Richie’s younger brother Johnnie has a huge work rate, and as a partnership they look very strong. They are a second row combination that you could compare with any other country. You can’t often say that about Scottish players.
What’s your prediction for Scotland?
Scotland finishing third or fourth would be a significant step forward at this year’s Six Nations. If they manage that then I can see Scotland reaching another World Cup quarter final later this year. It’s an amazing record: the last World Cup was the first one where Scotland had not made a quarter final.
Captain Greig Laidlaw says…
“I think it’s brilliant for us to have brothers in the team. We have talked about brotherhood, but to have actual brothers in the team is a great thing to have. It’s pretty unique, and we’re fortunate at this moment in time. Fortunate that they’re both huge as well!
“We talk a lot about pulling on the blue jersey and playing with real pride. That a lot of the time is what it comes down to. It’s a bit of blood and guts and rolling up our sleeves and getting stuck in. We want to epitomise that in the Six Nations. You’ll see that come through in the Scotland jersey.”