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Ex-Scotland lock Hamilton: 'We're 12 points better than Wales'

By Liam Heagney
Jamie Ritchie raises the Calcutta Cup last Saturday (Photo by Paul Harding/Getty Images)

Retired Test-level forward Jim Hamilton has claimed that Scotland are poised to make it two wins from two next Saturday in this 2023 Guinness Six Nations, suggesting that Gregor Townsend’s side are 12 points a better team this year than Warren Gatland’s Wales. Fresh from their latest Calcutta Cup triumph over England, the Scots now host the Welsh at BT Murrayfield this coming weekend.

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Recent championship victories over England weren’t built on, Scotland losing in round two to Wales in both 2021 and 2022. But Hamilton, an engine room veteran between 2006 and 2015, has predicted his countrymen won’t fall at the second step this time around.

Scotland defeated England 29-23 in a Twickenham thriller that was an improvement on the performances in their previous 11-6 and 20-17 wins over their Calcutta Cup rivals, and it is that progress that has given Hamilton the belief that the Scots won’t suffer another Welsh ambush.

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Their round two fixtures in recent seasons following round one wins over England ended in 24-25 and 17-20 defeats, but the former second row has now predicted a very different outcome next weekend.

Speaking on The Rugby Pod, the weekly show he co-hosts with Andy Goode, Hamilton said: “We have got some quality players… and that was one of the most complete performances I have seen in a long time, yet there is so much more that I think this Scotland team has which is crazy to say.

“Wales are a bogey team for us… but I think we are 12 points better than Wales, I genuinely do, and we have got to have the confidence and the lads have to have the confidence to believe in that. The difference – and I thought it would be the case if we beat England at the weekend – was all the other times we have won, the two times we have won before, we celebrated like it is the biggest thing that has happened, we celebrated like we had won the Grand Slam.

“And we saw years ago with Greig Laidlaw with his tie tied around his head, Stuart (Hogg) and Finn (Russell), they’re out and they are absolutely smashed steaming because it is everything winning the Calcutta Cup.

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“I look at what they did at the weekend and I look at the celebrations and it was different. It felt different, it looked different and I think we are 12 points better than Wales. We need to have the confidence to say that and the confidence when they rock up that we’re like ‘we’re better than ya and we are going to prove it today and we’re going to be two from two going into the fallow week’.

“Where are we? If we finish second or third that has been a brilliant Six Nations for us because Ireland are that good.”

Show co-host Andy Goode, the ex-England out-half, agreed that the Scotland versus Wales game in Edinburgh was now massive. “Every year he has been saying, ‘It’s our year, it’s our year’. They beat England and then it goes down the drum.

“This week’s game against Wales is pivotal for them in terms of where the rest of the tournament goes. Everything that Jim has said on the Pod the last few weeks about the Scottish players came to fruition in terms of the quality against England. Where are they? They have still got a horrible World Cup group but they can do damage in the Six Nations.”

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