GRANT GILCHRIST has spent more time than he would have liked on the sidelines this Six Nations having failed to make Gregor Townsend’s matchday squads for both the Ireland and England clashes.

But the second rower has certainly done enough over the past fortnight, with an appearance off the bench against Italy and a starting berth against France to ensure he will be in contention for a second consecutive start of the tournament when Scotland travel to Cardiff to take on Wales on Saturday.

The Scots are currently sitting thee points ahead of Wales with two wins to their opponent’s one and while the ultimate winner of the tournament will not be known until much later due to postponements as a result of the coronavirus crisis, both Scotland and Wales know that the winner of this weekend’s game will finish the higher of the pair.

And so, in some respects, the clash at the Principality Stadium will have something of a Cup Final feel to it, which Gilchrist is relishing.

“There are no bigger games than cup finals and this is like one,” he said.

“It is a straight shoot out against them. If we lose they finish above us. If we win we finish above them. So it is an exciting time to go down there and leave nothing out there at the end.”

The signs are good for Scotland. Their win against France at Murrayfield on Sunday ended the visitors’ hopes of their first grand slam in a decade and was a hugely encouraging performance for Gilchrist and his compatriots and while Wales are desperate for a win, the Edinburgh Rugby man is hopeful his side can continue their form from last weekend.

And while Wales will be perhaps even more desperate for a win than the Scots are, Gilchrist thinks he knows what to expect from Wayne Pivac’s men.

“Wales have changed their style a little bit - years gone by, they’d bully you and outkick you, strangle you, that was always how they played against us,” he said.

“They’ll still back themselves and we’ll need to be as good as we were (against France) and probably better in some areas. If we get on top of teams physically then it allows us to play a different way, and we saw that at the weekend.”

If Gilchrist and his compatriots can come away with the win, it will be the first time since 1996, when it was still the Five Nations, that Scotland have won three consecutive games in this championship.

To end that run this year would be quite an achievement, particularly considering Scotland have not defeated Wales in Cardiff since 2002. However, it is a task that Gilchrist believes he and his countrymen are well capable of rising to.

“It is a great opportunity for us as we have had two big wins,” he said.

“We haven’t been good enough down there but here is a chance for us to challenge ourselves. We have wind in our sails and go down there with momentum.

“To win three in a row for the first time in the Six Nations shows how big a achievement that would be for us and something to be really proud of.”