In last week’s preview, Rugby4cast predicted a loss for Scotland to Wales by 8 points. On the day the defeat was 21-10, slightly larger than predicted suggesting the Scottish team performed marginally worse than our model suggests, but not unduly so.
The knock on effect of defeat to Wales is that it turns this weekend’s fixture at home to Fiji into a “must win” if Scotland are to consider the Autumn internationals a success.
Scotland’s record against Fiji is positive (5 wins and 2 defeats), but the last time the sides met, in Suva Fiji, the home side won 27 – 22, with the defeat being Townsend’s first in charge of Scotland, just after a historic win away in Australia. At the time Scotland would have been predicted by the Rugby4cast computer as having around an 75% chance of winning.
This weekend’s fixture will be the truest test of Scotland’s current form as Townsend will select a full strength lineup for the first time since the Six Nations with first choice half backs Fin Russell and Greig Laidlaw returning to the squad.
Scotland will be under scrutiny for 2 reasons. Firstly, their ability to win a match as favourites (both ours and the bookies) – so often an Achilles heel for the side in previous matches and , secondly, their ability to dictate the tempo of the match – Fiji being one of the few sides globally who would wish a test match to be more unstructured than Scotland.
Will Scotland rise to the occasion? Or will progress under Townsend stall? We’ll find out 2.30pm on Saturday at a sold out Murrayfield.