I don't think there is any doubt that Scotland will go into the opening fixture of their 2004 RBS 6 Nations campaign as underdogs against Wales.
The hosts are the favourites, and rightly so after the 23-9 thrashing Scotland took during a friendly at the Millennium Stadium in August. But I am still hopeful that Matt Williams and his squad can come away from Cardiff with a victory and get their tournament off to the best possible start.
I'm certainly happy with Williams' decision to give Chris Paterson the captaincy and I think he will prove a good choice. Paterson seems to have the respect of the other players and he's clearly a well-balanced individual who should cope with the added pressure, as he did when he stepped into the fly-half role at the Rugby World Cup.
The role of the captain has changed a great deal since I had the Scotland armband - these days there tend to be more players on the pitch who are decision makers and leaders, regardless of whether they have the captaincy or not.
There is still a good depth of experience in the squad, and that will also help Paterson. The likes of vice captain Gordon Bulloch, Tom Smith, Scott Murray and Stuart Grimes will all take on responsibility as they always do.
The Scots can go into this game with a fair amount of optimism based on all the changes that have been made recently. I do believe the changes are for the better. That said, Cardiff is always a difficult place to go, and I'm sure Williams would have preferred to start with a home game, but Wales have not been consistent over the past couple of years.
Losing Robert Sidoli and Robin McBryde to injury is a big blow to the Welsh pack, although the main threat to Scotland is the opposition's three-quarter line, which showed invention, pace and flair during the latter stages of the World Cup.
The Scots must ensure they do not miss tackles but they must also be creative in attack if they are to break through an aggressive Welsh defence.
The RBS 6 Nations is always a tough tournament, and I don't think there are any easy teams in the competition. But a win in Cardiff would be important, especially considering that we have to play the World Champions the following weekend.