Ireland face Scotland with Grand Slam dreams still alive

Ireland welcome Scotland to the Aviva stadium this Saturday knowing a win will set up a Grand Slam clash with England on St Patricks day in Twickenham. Three wins from three has Ireland well ahead in the six nations table on 14 points, five ahead of England and six ahead of this weekend’s opponents Scotland.

However, Scotland demonstrated last time out just how dangerous they can be. A first win over England in a decade will signal to Joe Schmidt and his team the threat of the Scots. The 25-13 victory highlighted everything that is good about Scottish rugby as they showcased brilliance in both attack and defence.

It was only 12 months ago that Scotland effectively ended Ireland’s Six Nations hopes on the first day of the campaign. Two tries from Man of the Match Stuart Hogg were instrumental in their 27-22 defeat of Ireland in Murrayfield last time out. Scotland lead by 13 at the half before Ireland worked themselves into a winning position with 10 minutes left to play. However a brace of penalties from Greg Laidlaw secured the Scottish win.

Joe Schmidt named his side for the game yesterday with two changes to the XV that defeated Wales last time out. Garry Ringrose gets his first Ireland cap of the year after battling back from injury. He replaces Chris Farrell who has been ruled out of the competition with a knee injury. Tadgh Furlong comes back in at tighthead with Andrew Porter moving to the replacements bench. There are four Munster men in the starting line-up.

Scotland have made one change to the team that overcame England last time out with Blair Kinghorn replacing the injured Tommy Seymour.

Throw in at the Aviva is 2.15pm this Saturday with live coverage on TV3.

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Jack Neville

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