The second match of the final round sees Ireland take on Scotland in the last match to be played at Croke Park before Irish rugby returns to Landsdowne Road.
My instinct says that Ireland will see off a winless Scottish side in a fitting end to the hospitality of Croke Park. Brian O’Driscoll’s side were ruthless against Wales last week, and I’m expecting more of the same to earn them yet another Triple Crown.
Declan Kidney has the luxury of naming an unchanged side, and it’s no surprise given the quality of players in every position. Scotland’s back row has been talked up over the last few weeks, but it’s still hugely inferior to Ireland’s – I’m a big fan of the Stephen Ferris, David Wallace, Jamie Heaslip trio – and I think this will be the key difference once again.
Scotland have relied on Kelly Brown, Johnnie Beattie and John Barclay to keep them in contention in three our of the four games they’ve played so far, but they couldn’t live with the French, and they’ll face similar problems in Dublin.
Scotland are also unchanged from last week’s turgid draw with England, but there is only one Scottish player that I would select in a combined Ireland / Scotland team (Euan Murray), suggesting that this game should be fairly one-sided.
Again, the pressure is off now that France have all but lifted the trophy, and it will hopefully be an exciting game to watch. I’m backing Ireland to open up, with Keith Earls and Tommy Bowe featuring prominently once more, and it should be fairly comfortable for the home side.
My SportGuru prediction is Ireland by 19. Is that too optimistic?