RYAN WILSON believes that Scotland now have a realistic chance of going all the way in this season’s Six Nations Championship after they got their campaign off to the best possible start with a victory over England.

The Glasgow Warriors captain, who last represented the national side in their 2021 win in Paris, was already very confident even before the action began that this Scotland side was capable of doing something special, and tipped them to finish second behind favourites France. He is all the more hopeful following the weekend’s 20-17 Calcutta Cup win, and - while respecting the usual mantra of taking one game at a time - is now sure they can have a good tilt  at the title.

“You don’t want to get too far ahead of yourself, but you go down to Wales, and they weren’t great at the weekend, were they?,” Wilson said. “We’ll find out if it was more Ireland being as dominant as they actually are, but Wales weren’t great.

“Then suddenly you’re at home to France with two wins under your belt and anything can happen there. I’d back the boys at home against France, even with the way they’ve been going. Then suddenly you’ve got Italy, then you’re playing against Ireland for a potential Grand Slam.

“Like I said, I try not to get too far ahead of myself. But I’m excited for what the boys have got ahead of them.”

Unsurprisingly, the Warriors captain was just as excited on Saturday as he watched Scotland’s 20-17 Calcutta Cup victory. “It was incredible,” he continued. “I had spoken so much in the press and on the podcast I do about what I think Scotland were going to do. I was just hoping the boys could back it up so I couldn’t get too much stick this week, and they certainly went and did that. So it makes my life a little bit easier.

“But I could genuinely see it. I knew that they were going to go out and do it - not only because England were an unfamiliar team, but more so because you just know that with the Scotland team at the moment they’re in a good place. Bloody exciting to see and roll on Saturday - I’m looking forward to that as well.”

Before that international match in the Principality Stadium, Wilson is expected to be in action for Glasgow at home to Munster in a rearranged URC game. The Warriors  are third in the table at present, but Munster are just two points behind and have a game in hand, so the 8.15pm match at Scotstoun is one of the biggest clashes of the league season so far. 

International absences will leave both teams understrength, but the Warriors have thrived in such circumstances before, notably back in 2019 when they won all their PRO14 games during the Six Nations window. The difference between then and now is that back then a full programme of league games was always planned to take place during the Championship, whereas this match has been rescheduled. But Wilson, for one, always expected to be called in action during this particular weekend.

“Obviously this will be a little bit different [compared to 2019] with the games not meant to be going ahead, but to be honest we did see this a mile off. Games have been cancelled due to Covid etc, rearranged games have been put in this period, so no-one went away and booked a two- or three-week holiday. 

“We’ve always done well in these periods with players away and missing. I can almost say it’s even more in focus, because there’s players getting opportunities which they haven’t had so far.

“You saw that two weeks against Connacht - guys like Ollie Smith playing outstandingly well, getting his opportunity. Duncan Weir is someone who has been knocking at the door. They were highlighted this week - it shows that everyone takes their opportunities. So there’s a lot of motivation in that as well for players.

“And also Munster - you don’t need much to get the boys going for that one. Everyone knows how important it is. They’re always fiery encounters - they’ve been big games over the years. 

“Yeah, it’s always a good one. I’m looking forward to Friday night. 8.15 - I should be in my bed by then.”