Six Nations 2013 Prediction: Scotland vs Ireland

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This weekend promises a fascinating match in Edinburgh as Scotland and Ireland battle it out to stay within touching distance of leaders England. As Scotland ran in their fourth try against Italy in round two, Ireland were about to be put to the sword by a solid English side who won it from the boot of Owen Farrell. This weekend in the nation’s capital offers both teams the chance to win and get their tournaments on the right track while consigning the loser to fight it out to avoid the dreaded wooden spoon.

Reasons to back Scotland
Scotland interim head coach Scott Johnson makes one change this weekend from the team who comfortably dispatched Italy as tighthead prop Euan Murray is replaced by Edinburgh’s Geoff Cross due to Murray’s religious beliefs. Aside from that, the Scottish side is exactly as it was when they finished off Italy with Johnson admitting that he is looking to add a competitive edge to the side while still managing to maintain consistency and direction. Johnson clearly has the team playing to their strengths, and they managed to minimise the basic errors against Italy while showing what they can do when they get the space to run.

Scotland looked impressive against an Italian side who had just beaten a talented French team and were thus full of confidence. The Scots drove them back and snuffed-out any attacking threats. Scotland showed flair, vision and confidence, something fans have been starved of for many games, raising the question as to where has it all come from? They crossed over for four tries, their first quadruple for over a decade, while impressing with their resilient defending and commanding presence. More of the same will stand them in good stead against an injury-ravaged Ireland side.

Ireland pose a different test to Scotland but with the new mentality Johnson and his coaching staff have instilled it has left the squad hungry for success, with each member ready to go out and grab the win rather than hoping it comes to them. Scotland have an opportunity to prove that the Italy win was no fluke, that they have finally broken from the shackles of the Robinson era and are ready to get back amongst the hemisphere’s best. With players like Laidlaw, Scott, Hogg, Visser and Beattie all playing well, the Scots could find themselves a tough nut to crack.

Reasons to back Ireland
Ireland make multiple changes to the team who lost the closely-fought battle against a tough English side. The chance of four consecutive Lions tours looks to be beyond Ronan O’Gara as he will be replaced by Ulsterman Paddy Jackson. O’Gara was pedestrian against England, all over the place with wayward passes, poor kicks and terrible decisions which ultimately gifted the victory to England. Tom Court replaces Cian Healy, as he serves a ban for stamping, while on the left wing Keith Earls comes in for Simon Zebo and the experienced Donnacha O’Callaghan starts in place of Mike McCarthy.

Talismanic centre Brian O’Driscoll has managed to shake-off an ankle injury to start and will breathe experience, drive and talent into a backline which possesses an array of players with great potential. Ireland have the tools to beat an inexperienced Scottish side, and they come into the match knowing that a win will get them right back on track to challenge for the Six Nations crown and prove that the English defeat was nothing more than a blip.

Prediction
Ireland will have history on their side as they have managed to beat Scotland at Murrayfield in the Six Nations every time since 2003. Of the two sides Ireland look the more likely winners, with a fit O’Driscoll, strong forward pack and talented back-line the game is there for the taking with the opportunity to add yet another year onto that already impressive win streak in Scotland’s capital. Ireland by 6.

By Alexander McLeman
@TodaysPlay

18 thoughts on “Six Nations 2013 Prediction: Scotland vs Ireland

  1. well your prediction that scotland would loose to italy the other week was so good that i am just going to disregard anything you write on this sire from now on and so should everyone else

    1. I think he’s just being a Scotsman… Dampening expectations by never predicting a win for his team. I do the same thing, to be fair.

    2. Wow Jason, he’s not coming down from a mountain with directives carved in stone telling you THIS IS WHAT WILL HAPPEN, it’s just one guy’s opinion and his reasons for it.

      If all the 6 Nations games were dead certs. and easy to call nobody would watch the bloody thing.

      Clam down. Switch to de-caff or something.

    3. Because after putting Tonga to the sword and the fine victory at Twickenham, Scotland were of course the red hot favourites against the side that just defeated the top ranked side in the championship?

      Scotland were excellent, not many people would have predicted they could play that well on the back of the recent performances though.

      I hope Scotland win, I lost respect for Ireland’s given their loss of emotional control when things weren’t going their way last time out. Dishing out the cheap shots when losing, I thought I was watching the Boks.

  2. Hope Alexander doesn’t read or pay any attention to that unjustified criticism. This is a well thought out preview, and the prediction a fair reflection of both teams building up to the weekend.

    As for the game itself, it really depends how Irelands debutants cope with the pressure. If they settle early, and the Irish front five give them a platform for victory. A six point margin is about right.

  3. bit harsh, they are only predictions after all! Italy were well fancied last time out by more than a few. this week I’m going for Scotland to pip Ireland by 2.

  4. It was hardly unsurprising that Scotland beat Italy- I don’t think anybody was really expecting the Italian side who beat France to lose to a side that hadn’t had a victory in- what? 9 games? Ten? Blaming somebody for failing to predict a result that was a big surprise is pretty dumb.

  5. I actually think Scotland could win by a decent margin here. Paddy Jackson will have something to prove, but is he prepared for the pressure he’s going to be under from Brown, Hamilton and Gray? If he fails to deal with that pressure, Ireland will be on the back foot. It could get even worse if O’Gara comes on!
    Scotland by 10!

  6. This is a seasan making or seasan destroying game for both teams.

    I feel Ireland have extra power up front, the italians didn’t play well last time out.

    However Scotland even when losing to England showed that if they get a wiff of the line they will punish you, if they do so early on, this Irish team’s confidence could be shaken and stired.

    Richie Grey played well last week, so did the Beattie and Brown, they have to put Jackson under pressure and tackle Ireland’s ball carriers.

    I would like to see maitlan come infield more alla Shane Williams, he look a really intelligent player and he has speed.

    The game could come down to a battle of the jacksons, with one unexperienced and the other with an awful lot to prove.

    Ireland by 5

  7. Ireland are riddled with injuries and many of their most dangerous attackers are gone. Putting in a completely inexperienced fly half could be a fatal mistake. Scots full of confidence and determined to win. Looking forward to being at Murrayfield on Sunday, got a great view! Scotland by 6

    1. I love the ( intentional?)self deprecation in this comment Welsh David I agree few of us are wise where rugby and betting are concerned .

  8. Kidney had no real choice but to select jackson because o’gara has become such a liability and his form is dreadful in recent games and kidney simply couldn’t reward him(o’gara) with a starting place. So win or lose it is defenitely the right decision to go with jackson. But the scots should be wary because ireland are still far superior in many areas and could dish out a big hammering if all goes right in these key areas and they could be driven on if the result in london on sat goes the french way , which is quiet possible. So scotland could be going in to this one i fear with a false sense of reality and could easily get taken apart.

  9. last year, despite some deffensive lapses, scotland played well in dublin and looked dangerois enough. im going for a scottish win. no idea whay margin and i wouldnt read too much into margin in this kind of game but i think scotland are on the way up and they need a respectable 6 nations for a change. ths year could see ireland or france getting the wooden spoon. been a disappointing competition so far, maybe the worst in a decade. heineken cup outshines it now for me

    1. From au.eurosport.com:

      “Luke Marshall knocks-on and Scotland have the win!!! They were dominated for long periods but have somehow won this game. You suspect Declan Kidney will be out of a job once this Six Nations is over though. Wasteful from Ireland again.”

      One can only pray he will be out of the job..
      He is a donkey drowning in his own failed number crunching..idiot.

      Congrats to Scotland who had a very efficient win requiring almost no energy!

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