Scotland v Wales: A huge challenge awaits at Murrayfield

Facing an opposition in full swing, can Warren Gatland’s men get back on track after their disastrous start to the Six Nations?

WALES are in desperate need of a win at Murrayfield to help put their Six Nations campaign back on track after a disastrous start.

A woeful first half display on Saturday against Ireland gave Wales a mountain to climb early in the game, which they were never able to climb.

Wales’s 10-34 defeat at the Principality Stadium was their heaviest opening day defeat since 2001.

Fans hoped the return of Warren Gatland would signal an upturn in the team’s performance but instead of a welcoming dose of nostalgia, they were greeted with a grim reminder of reality.

Wales limped into the break 27-3 down after a devastating first-half which saw a trio of tries from Caelan Doris, James Ryan and James Lowe, as well as expert kicking from Johnny Sexton.

The second-half would see a completely different performance from the hosts, who dominated large portions of the early opening minutes before being awarded for their efforts when Liam Williams got himself over the white line.

Hopes of a comeback were put to death however when flanker Josh Van Der Flier scored his side’s fourth try of the day, guaranteeing them the bonus point while leaving Gatland’s men with plenty to ponder.

Wales’s hosts for February 11, however, will be going into the game full of confidence after lifting the Calcutta Cup against old foes England.

The Scots recorded a dramatic 29-23 win at Twickenham, thanks to a 75th minute try from Duhan Van Der Merwe.

The two sides come into the game as polar opposites with Scotland enjoying a rugby renaissance while Wales are facing the possibility of a return to the Stone Age.

Scotland’s win against England made it three victories in a row against the old enemy, with this impressive record being a good indicator at how far Scottish rugby has come in a short time.

The past three Six Nation campaigns have seen the Scots finishing fourth, a fair improvement upon the dismal results suffered by fans during the early 2010s.

Back in 2015 Scotland were awarded the dreaded Wooden Spoon after finishing bottom of the table without a single win.

But times are changing at Murrayfield and Scottish fans would be forgiven for dreaming of the possibility of a first Six Nations title since 1999.

Scotland haven’t won their first two opening games since 1996, and head coach Gregor Townsend will be wanting to break this duck to add more fuel to a challenge for the title.

Wales on the other hand are tackling two fires at once — the poor performances on the pitch failing to draw attention away from the sexism scandal rocking the WRU.

Wales will be hoping to avoid a repeat of last year’s disastrous campaign under the stewardship of Wayne Pivac which saw them finish in fifth place, culminating with a humiliating loss to bottom side Italy.

Gatland, who previously won three Six Nations titles with Wales, was brought back in as head coach at the start of December after fellow New Zealander Pivac was sacked following growing frustration among fans.

With allegations of structural sexism and a domestic game in a desperate state, Wales fans are desperate for a successful Six Nations campaign to help start the healing process.

Gatland’s men have unenviable task of fixing a sinking ship before it’s taken to the depths by the off-field storm.