Hamish Watson admits it is a relief that the coronavirus will not put the brakes on Scotland as they look to maintain their Guinness Six Nations roll.
While the Scots have been given the go ahead to finish off their championship with Saturday’s trip to Wales, the remainder of the tournament’s final round of fixtures have been postponed amid concerns over the outbreak.
Organisers are now considering a new date for England’s trip to Italy and the clash between France and Ireland in Paris – with the most likely plan set to delay the crowning of the Six Nations winner until October.
Defeat in the Scots’ opening two matches means it will take a series of remarkable results to put them in contention but if they can follow up recent victories over the Azzurri and Les Bleus when they run out in Cardiff, then flanker Watson and the rest of Gregor Townsend’s men will at least have the honour of sitting top of the table over the summer.
The Edinburgh flanker said: “It’s a really strange scenario – but it’s exciting for us as it means we can get our games played. If we win we’ll be sitting at the top of the table. It’s a massive opportunity for us.
“It’s obviously a serious situation with the coronavirus but we have just got to concentrate on the game. We can’t think about maybe it being called off or why the other games are. We’ve got a task in hand and we’ve just got to make sure we perform to the best of our ability so we can win that game. To the fans, just make sure you wash your hands!
“It’s definitely a relief that the game is going ahead because we are on a roll. I don’t know how the guys in the other teams are feeling but I imagine it must be pretty frustrating when you’ve been in camp for seven or eight weeks and then have games called off. It’s looking like those games will go ahead in October but we’re just relieved our game’s on and we can try to keep that momentum building.”
France’s Grand Slam bid was brought to a shuddering halt in Edinburgh on Sunday as Scotland claimed a shock 28-17 win. They now take on a Wales team still adapting to new coach Wayne Pivac at the Principality Stadium having suffered consecutive defeats to Ireland, France and England.
But Watson reckons winning in Cardiff for the first time since 2002 would raise more eyebrows than their Les Bleus triumph. “Beating France was a statement win and it showed we can win against top teams,” he said. “But Wales at home is another hard test. We haven’t won there in 18 years so we know how tough it will be.
“Wales may only have won one game so far but they have been in the fight in the three others till the very end. It’s a big opportunity to win in Cardiff and while we go there every time believing we can do it, we also know we’ll have to be at our best to do so.”
– Press Association
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