Six Nations Podcast: Can Scotland defeat Ireland?

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Scotland play Ireland tomorrow in the Six Nations (Credit: Scottish Rugby / Facebook)

Scotland host Ireland tomorrow in the Six Nations, looking to record back-to-back wins in the tournament following last week’s victory over Italy.

David Ronney and Bryce Donaldson join Luke Barry to assess Scotland’s chances.

 

To read assistant coach Mike Blair’s thoughts on tomorrow’s match click here, while for Jamie Ritchie’s thoughts click here.

Blair has “no concern” about Scotland’s defensive issues

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Blair isn’t worried about conceding late on last weekend (Credit: Bryce Donaldson)

Scotland Rugby assistant coach Mike Blair isn’t concerned about Scotland’s defensive issues despite conceding three late tries in their Six Nations victory over Italy last weekend.

Scotland beat Italy 33-20 at BT Murrayfield with tries from Blair Kinghorn, Stuart Hogg and Chris Harris helping them to the top of the table, but were 33-3 up with 10 minutes to go.

Blair admitted that Scotland made “poor” defensive decisions, but the coaching staff will leave “no stone unturned” as they prepare to host Ireland tomorrow.

“We were 33-3 up against the Italians but that last 15 minutes really hit home that if we do not get things right that teams will expose you,” he said.

“There were a few poor decisions in defence, perhaps a lack of energy, [which] meant that it was certainly a disappointing finish to the game. We are aware of that, we are aware of where our standards need to be to avoid that happening in other games.

“There is no concern. We have got a very hardworking coaching team who leave no stone unturned.

“We have conceded a few soft tries but that is nothing to do with our system. We just need to make sure the players are making smart decisions under pressure.”

 

 

Blair Kinghorn was one of the stand-out performers in last weekend’s victory, becoming the first Scottish player in history to score a hat-trick of tries.

Blair was quick to praise Kinghorn’s efforts even though he misses out on a starting spot against Ireland tomorrow.

“There’s not many who will doubt his ability after Saturday [match against Italy] and I think Blair has something like 80 or so games for his club Edinburgh already which, for a 22-year-old is crazy numbers,” Blair said.

“He’s building up a lot of experience early on in his career, obviously he’s a great talent, the height he’s got and the speed that he’s got on top of the superb handling ability that he has as well.

“We are all delighted with him, he is gaining experience all the time and already looks comfortable at international level already.”

Scotland gear up for Six Nations opener

Rugby fans across the the world are eagerly anticipating the start of the 2017 RBS Six Nations Championship, which gets underway on Saturday.

The prestigious tournament, which displays the best of the sport within the northern hemisphere, is now in its seventeenth year, having launched at the start of the millennium.

BT Murrayfield is the venue for the opening fixture of the competition, where Scotland host Ireland, knowing that getting off to a winning start is of paramount importance.

The Scots are hoping to end a dismal run of results on the opening weekend, with ten successive defeats. The last time they won their first game of the Championship was back in 2006, when they defeated France by 20 points to 16 at Murrayfield.

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Greig Laidlaw press conference at Oriam

Scotland captain, Greig Laidlaw, faced the media at their Oriam training base yesterday, and admitted that a few things have been adapted, before this weekend’s showdown with the Irish. He explained that they have focused heavily on their game plan since day one of training, and the team are confident that they can change their fortunes on Saturday afternoon.

Fly-half, Johnny Sexton, was influential in Ireland’s successful Autumn test series, where they recorded wins over Australia and Canada in Dublin, as well as a memorable first ever victory over New Zealand, in Chicago.

Sexton, however, has been ruled out of this weekend’s encounter due to a calf injury sustained last month. Flanker, Peter O’Mahony, will also be absent from the clash with a hamstring problem.

Scotland’s only notable absentee is prop, Willem Nel, who has recently undergone surgery on a neck injury.

The squads for both teams will be announced tomorrow.

 

 

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