Six Nations 2017: Home advantage can help Scots edge out Wales, says Gavin Hastings

Greig Laidlaw in action for Scotland against Wales in February 2016
Gavin Hastings believes Scotland can overcome Wales, despite Greig Laidlaw's absence

The Murrayfield crowd can help Scotland get their Six Nations campaign back on track against Wales, says former Scotland captain Gavin Hastings.

Despite what he calls the "massive blow" of losing captain Greig Laidlaw to injury, Hastings believes Vern Cotter's side can win next Saturday.

And the Scots will be aiming to recover from the defeat by France in Paris.

"It's a big match and I think home advantage might be just about enough to get them over the line," said Hastings.

Scotland began this year's tournament with a 27-22 win over Ireland but fell short away to France on Sunday, losing 22-16.

Over the same period, Wales have enjoyed a 33-7 triumph in Italy and endured the pain of a 21-16 home loss to England.

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Six Nations highlights: France 22-16 Scotland

"It's an interesting game, with both teams having lost by the narrowest of margins last weekend," Hastings told BBC Sport.

"I just hope we see a game played with the same level of intensity that we saw in Cardiff and Paris at the weekend.

"It's going to be a cracker."

Hastings lamented the absence of Scotland's "great leader" Laidlaw, the influential scrum-half who will miss the rest of the campaign with ankle ligament damage.

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Six Nations 2017 highlights: Wales 16-21 England

"He's got a cool head, his kicking is immaculate and he leads by example and I think he'll be a big loss to Scotland," said the former British and Irish Lion.

"But Scotland did a pretty good job against Ireland and came close to France but they will have to keep it up against Wales because they are a very fine team."

Another former Scotland captain, Al Kellock, told BBC Radio Scotland that the absence of Laidlaw's skills both as a scrum-half and as a captain "would be a loss to anybody".

On who might replace the Gloucester number nine as skipper, Kellock said: "I think they'll have to wait and see who is in good shape after the weekend.

Al Kellock and Greig Laidlaw
Al Kellock and Greig Laidlaw were international team-mates for Scotland but rivals for Glasgow and Edinburgh respectively

"John Barclay took over as captain, closely followed then by Jonny Gray. Ryan Wilson will come back to fitness, who I would imagine will have his hat in the ring. Henry Pyrgos has already captained Scotland; he might be somebody who could come in and take over from Greig."

The former Glasgow Warriors lock praised Ali Price for his contribution from the bench against France, as he replaced Laidlaw, and predicted the kicking duties against Wales would fall to fly-half Finn Russell, with full-back Stuart Hogg taking the long-range penalties.

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