Scotland vs Ireland
Competition: Six Nations Rugby
Date: 04 February 2017
Kick-off: 15:25 CET
There is a real air of optimism around Scotland this year, but they have too often been the “almost” team whereas Ireland have a legitimate chance of challenging the defending Champions England with their settled squad.
Scotland have been steadily building their team up now for a a few years, and at the start of each Six Nations, and new International season, there is always this belief that the Scots can cause a few upsets, but more often than not, the results do not go their way. Under Kiwi coach Vern Cotter they were touted to surprise last year but ended in fourth equal on points with France. This year with Cotter on his way out, there is still this belief that the Scots have grown, and that they’re starting to create some stars, but again, this may be a false sense of bravado. However, if there is one point of interest with the Scots it is their exciting backline that has a distinct Kiwi flair to it.
Apart from England, Ireland probably have the most settled squad and a team that knows exactly what it is doing and the extent of what they can do. And what they can do is beat the All Blacks as the Irish became the side to break the All Black’s winning record last year. There has been very little change in the team as they prepare for the Six nations and it is this stability that could see them as the dark horse for the title. They have good depth, which is evident by the replacements that have stepped in to Johnny Sexton and Sean O’Brien’s shoes, and their coach has had his time to get them playing his own style of Kiwi rugby.
Scotland vs Ireland: Previous year’s performance
Ireland finished the tournament last year in third, but again, it was not a really good showing as they only won two games, beating Scotland and Italy, and managed a draw against Wales.
Scotland in the meantime finished one spot below the Irish with only two wins, and four points, as they managed to beat Italy and France, the only teams below them on the log.
Scotland vs Ireland: Prediction
It is so tempting to believe that Scotland will cause an upset and beat Ireland at the first attempt, especially on their home ground in front of a partisan crowd, but that would be a foolhardy bet. Ireland are the settled team, and Scotland are the flair that can fall apart when it comes to the tough stuff. The Scots will score some great tries but the Irish will grind out a narrow win.
Scotland vs Ireland: Tips
With the bonus point system included in this edition, expect Scotland to get a losing bonus point as they fall agonisingly close by less than seven points.