Six Nations 2018: Scotland captain John Barclay wary of 'hugely motivated' Wales

John Barclay takes a line-out in Scotland's win over Wales in 2017
John Barclay led Scotland to victory over Wales in his first game as captain, in last year's Six Nations
2018 Six Nations: Wales v Scotland
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: 3 February Kick-off: 14:15 GMT
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, Red Button, Connected TVs, BBC Sport website and mobile app. Listen on BBC Radio Wales, Radio Scotland, BBC Radio 5 live, 5 live sports extra, BBC Sport website and app. Live text coverage on BBC Sport website and app.

Scotland captain John Barclay has warned his side not to underestimate a Wales side featuring 10 of his Scarlets club-mates in their Six Nations opener.

The hosts are missing eight British and Irish Lions including Sam Warburton, Taulupe Faletau and Jonathan Davies.

But Barclay, who led Scarlets to the Pro12 title last season and into this year's Champions Cup quarter-finals, says his club-mates are in prime form.

"I know how good the guys are who are playing," said the flanker.

"They are playing with confidence and energy. They will be hugely motivated.

"We have not won there for 16 years. We know how hard it's going to be; we are under no illusions."

Barclay, 31, has tasted defeat on four occasions in Cardiff since 2008, but led Scotland to their first win over the Welsh in a decade in last year's Six Nations, his first game as captain.

"It's one of the best stadiums in the world - it's a privilege to play down there," he said. "[Wales] must get a buzz out of it, they must feed off it.

"The expectation on the Welsh team is huge. We have to start well and silence the crowd."

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Earlier this week, Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend said he expects Wales to employ a "direct" style to try to negate the visitors' attacking brio.

"Wales probably pass the ball more than they ever have, but they're still very direct," Townsend said.

Despite suggestion that Wales might try to adopt the Scarlets' more expansive style, Barclay doubts if Warren Gatland will change his brand of rugby to accommodate so many of his club-mates.

"Look, we play a certain way at Scarlets that suits the players we have," he added. "But I don't know if it can be merged [into Wales' game plan]. It's a totally different team.

"They have got 10 guys who play for Scarlets but also five guys who don't.

"It's taken a long time for Scarlets to play that brand of rugby. I don't know if it can be created in a week for the other guys and I don't think they will try to."

Analysis - 'Scotland can start with a win'

Former Scotland captain Andy Nicol on BBC 5 live: "Scotland had a great autumn series; they played outstanding rugby in almost beating New Zealand and putting 50 points and eight tries past Australia. They have a lot of confidence going through the team at the moment and they are playing a team shorn of some really top players in Sam Warburton, Taulupe Faletau, Jonathan Davies, Liam Williams, Rhys Webb.

"But they have replaced them with some players of real quality. The Scarlets are the backbone of the Welsh team on Saturday. They have played some of the best rugby I have ever seen from a club side. But that is a club side, and the step up to international rugby is very big, as Warren Gatland said this week.

"If this game was at Murrayfield or on neutral territory, at a World Cup for example, I would have Scotland as favourites. Because it is in Cardiff, and we know what the Welsh crowd can do to inspire the Welsh team, it is all back in the melting pot. But if Scotland play like they did in the autumn, I think they can start the Six Nations with a win."

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