Scotland coach Andy Robinson has made seven changes from the side that lost so emphatically against Wales a fortnight ago – but even that shouldn’t be enough to stop the Irish coming away from Murrayfield with a victory.
Despite recent strides forward, Scotland have had a miserable start to this year’s Six Nations. A valiant defeat in their opening game against France was completely blown out of the water by their timid capitulation against Wales.
However, Scotland managed to see off the Irish 23-20 at Croke Park last year and Robinson knows his new-look side will have to be at their best if they are to get anything out of their clash this time around.
He said: “We know they’re a huge threat, the players are used to coming to Murrayfield and performing.
“The fact we won last year will have an added drive for them, but it’s about the here and now and the performance. We have a lot of respect for the way their players play.”
As well he should. Despite losing narrowly to France 22-25 in their last game, Ireland have shown once again they are a force to be reckoned with, with veterans Ronan O’Gara and Brian O’Driscoll rolling back the years.
Dan Parks has been dropped for Scotland with Glasgow’s Ruaridh Jacksonn given his first test start at fly-half. With such an inexperienced player in such an important position, Ireland will be looking to take every opportunity to get in his face.
It’s hard to look beyond a win for the Irish but – as they showed with a stuttering performance against Italy – they can be got at. It promises to be another tight game on a weekend where every game looks set to be a close encounter.
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