ALTHOUGH I don’t exactly have the fondest of memories of Scotland’s last game against Wales, because that was when I injured my shoulder, the 14-10 win was a really significant result all the same. In fact, it had an impact which could well still be felt when the teams meet again today.

The challenge of winning a big away game had been on our minds a little bit leading up to that victory in Llanelli, and although we didn’t speak about it too much, it was mentioned. Over the past few years we’ve had a pretty good record at BT Murrayfield - we seem to turn up nine times out of ten at home, performance-wise - but getting that away win was something we had struggled with in the Six Nations. 

Even against Italy in Rome earlier in the year, we won 17-0, but we struggled to put them away right until the end. The Ireland game in Dublin had been there for the taking too, but we couldn’t get that one over the line, so it was hugely important to get that win in Wales.

And that kind of got the ball rolling for the brilliant win at Twickenham last weekend - although, as I said last week, I had no doubt in my mind that the squad would go down to Twickenham and get a result against England. I was with the boys for a couple of days in the build-up to that game, and it seemed pretty clear that they were in the sort of form needed to put in a big performance.

They had been on fire playing for their clubs, and you can always feel it amongst the squad when there’s a good buzz about. As an outsider looking in you are definitely aware of that. It was obvious watching them go through their plays in training - everyone was looking so sharp. 

I’m a fairly positive bloke anyway, there’s no point going into a game if you don’t think you can win it, and I have belief in the boys. It was going to be interesting how our forwards fronted up against the English pack, but I think from minute one you saw how hungry Scotland were. They celebrated every little victory together. They just all seemed to be on the exact same page.

The forwards set the tone early on with their dominance and their ball-carries. We got on the front foot straight away with a couple of good kicks, and the match ended up being just about the best possible start to the Six Nations.

The more continuity the better is usually the formula following a good win, and Scotland have only had to make three changes. One of them is at inside centre, and it will be especially interesting for me to see how James Lang goes.

James made his debut against Canada on the 2018 tour, same as me, and he’s a top bloke. He’s extremely competitive, which shows why he fits into the squad so well.

You know what you’re going to get from him. There’s not an A and a B James Lang where you’re not sure which one might turn up for which game. He’s fully committed all the time, and gives 100 per cent in training on and off the pitch. He’s a good talking 12  - he’s not just a hit up and carry. He’ll give Finn Russell a lot of talk and will be that good connection with the outside backs, and he’s a really good ball-handler as well.

Wales have had to make more changes, but they will be happy with their win over Ireland and will be in good spirits. It may well be easy for an outsider to label Scotland as favourites, but we know as a group how good Wales are and the threats they pose right across the park. 

You’ve seen the pace they have out wide, for example - look at how well Louis Rees-Zammit took his try in the corner in that 21-16 win against Ireland. They’ve got a lot of experience as well as some really talented younger players - a mix that is pretty similar to the current Scotland squad, in fact.

And anyway, you will not find a single player in this group getting too far ahead of himself. England was a brilliant win, let’s not take that away from them, but we’re under no illusion how hard this game is going to be.

People can think what they like. If I were a favourite or an underdog it wouldn’t make a difference - I would still go out and try to play the same game and have the same temperament. As a squad we don’t look too much to the outside, in fact this squad probably won’t know if they’re favourites or not. We just believe that we’re the better team - but at the end of the day we’ve got to go out and show that.

I’ve been in with the squad for a couple of days this week just as I was last week. I didn’t travel to Twickenham, but I’ll be warming up before the game this time, which will really bring home to me that I’m getting ever closer to playing again. It’s been great being in with the boys - this is my favourite time of the year and I’m looking forward to being there this afternoon and cheering them on.