Kidney: Scots pose danger
Coach urges caution against 'very good' side
Ireland coach Declan Kidney issued a stern warning to his players by insisting Scotland "are on the verge of something. We just have to make sure it doesn't happen tomorrow".
It is almost unthinkable that Andy Robinson's squad will spoil Ireland's fifth Triple Crown in seven years, considering they have yet to win a match in the Six Nations this season.
This is somewhat misleading: "They are after drawing with England. The Wales game, if you look at it, they were ten points up with five minutes to go," continued Kidney.
"There was nothing in those matches. We have to narrow in and concentrate on getting the better of what I believe is a very good Scottish team.
"All you have to do is look at the history of the Triple Crown to see how hard it is to actually win these three matches. We've lost more of these type of matches than we've won. That is how difficult it is".
Ireland are notoriously slow starters, taking their time to get into gear at home to Wales last time out. It is a failing that must be remedied tomorrow evening.
"We have to make sure we get off to a good start and take it from there. If at the end of it there is something there for us, great -- but it will only come as a consequence of focusing in."
In order to execute the game plan, Ireland will have to absorb the aggressive, in-your-face defence of the Scots, who have leaked just six tries in four matches, three of them to Wales. This is one more than Ireland.
"They are a hugely physical side. They just pummel you defensively. They're very big men. They're direct and they're hungry. You can't coach hunger. That is something that is either inside players or not," said Kidney.
"Everybody will look for an angle to get themselves right for every match. You look for whatever motivating factor you can. We have always taken one game at a time -- if that leads to some silverware that would be a huge bonus," he said.
It came as no surprise to hear captain Brian O'Driscoll emphasise the importance of Ireland putting their own house in order before looking at Scotland.
"You have to have a particularly positive mindset. Scotland is another obstacle in our way to obtaining silverware," he stated.
"They obviously have potential, looking at the calibre of their players. We can't concern ourselves with what they are going to throw at us. We have to try to implement our game plan on them."
The Irish captain holds an admiration for Scotland coach Andy Robinson from the time he took over a struggling Edinburgh to his current incarnation in his second international post.
"He has done a great job. He did a great job at Edinburgh in turning them around. He is building defensively a very strong work ethic. It is a good foundation to build from. With Steady (Graham Steadman, the former Ireland defence coach), he obviously knows us well.
"You only have to look back to November when they beat Australia. They are capable of big performances when the occasion arises".
There is also a definite sense that the Irish management and players will feel some sadness at the leaving of Croke Park as a home away from the home that will become the Aviva Stadium next season.
"We've had some great days here, some not so memorable too. It is part and parcel of playing professional rugby. For the most part, we have some fantastic memories. There is a part of us that will definitely be sorry to say goodbye to here".
IRELAND v SCOTLAND, Live RTE 2/BBC 1 (KO 5.0)