Six Nations Betting Tips: Wales to end campaign with Scotland win
Simon Mail previews the fifth round of the Six Nations with Wales taking on Scotland in the disrupted competition...
Wales v Scotland Saturday, 14:15 Live on BBC One
Wales needing to halt losing run under Pivac
The fifth round of this year's Six Nations will have a strange atmosphere with none of the title contenders in action. France's game against Ireland and leaders England's match in Italy have both been postponed due to the coronavirus. Last year's champions Wales will host Scotland in Saturday's sole match with the destination of the title unlikely to be determined until much later in the year.
It has been a disappointing campaign for Wales with new coach Wayne Pivac unable to match the efforts of the Grand Slam champions during Warren Gatland's final season in charge. A one-sided opening victory over Italy failed to translate into a successful title defence. Wales have since lost three successive matches including defeat in Ireland and at home to France.
Wales pushed England close at Twickenham last weekend but the visitors still fell to an agonising 33-30 defeat. Justin Tipuric scored twice for Wales, including a superb individual effort, while Dan Biggar also crossed the line. Despite finishing with 13 men, after the red card for Manu Tuilagi and yellow card for Ellis Genge, England held on to win leaving Wales languishing in fifth place in the competition.
Scrum-half Rhys Webb makes his first start in more than two years after being selected in Wales' backline. Prop WillGriff John is handed his debut after Dillon Lewis was ruled out due to injury. Captain Alun Wyn Jones will equal Richie McCaw's world record of 148 Tests as he leads his team out at the Principality Stadium.
Scotland bidding to claim rare Cardiff scalp
Scotland have made significant progress during this season's Six Nations with two victories including their 28-7 home win which scuppered France's Grand Slam hopes. Gregor Townsend's side have significantly improved their defence, conceding only four tries and 49 points during their matches. A top-two finish remains a possibility and the team have coped impressively without the omitted fly-half Finn Russell.
Townsend has made three changes from the team which toppled France at Murrayfield last weekend. Hooker Stuart McInally comes in for Fraser Brown while Sam Skinner comes into the second row in place of Scott Cummings. Number eight Nick Haining drops out due to illness with Magnus Bradbury taking his spot in the pack.
Wales have dominated recent contests against Scotland winning 12 of the last 13 games including three in a row coming into the Cardiff clash. Scotland have not won in Wales since 2002 and their history suggests it will be another tough assignment for them. Townsend's side won in Italy last month but away victories have been few and far between during his tenure.
The hosts are worthy favourites although Scotland will sense this is a big opportunity to claim a rare win in Wales. Pivac needs a big performance and victory, after their recent defeats, with Wales backed to finish on a high. But Scotland have been extremely competitive and their strong defensive record suggests this will be a tight encounter. Wales' last two wins against Scotland have been by no more than 12 points and another narrow victory is predicted in their closing Six Nations match.