herald

Sunday 19 August 2018

'Positive' Scots can tame the Wolfhounds

Scotland A v Irish Wolfhounds, Netherdale, tonight 7.30

The Irish Wolfhounds will be determined to prevent a third straight defeat, verging on a hoodoo, to Scotland A at Netherdale this evening.



It won't come easily.

Scotland A coach Nick Scrivener has gone for a 10-5 split in favour of Edinburgh over Glasgow Warriors in his selection, captained by scrum-half Greig Laidlaw.

Scrivener has not been holding back in what he wants from his players: "We've picked a team that definitely has the ability to take it to the Irish in contact," he said.

"All week, the message to the players has been very clear: we want to play positive, attacking rugby and one of the things that will allow us to do that is making sure we win the collisions.

"I feel that's massively important against any Irish side -- if you allow them to get momentum and quick ball, they always have pace, power and ability in the backs and they're going to hurt you."

The gauntlet has been thrown down. The Wolfhounds will have to be on their game, focused on the job in hand, to nullify the Scots and impose their own game-plan.

The Irish injury crisis has given this game a rise in importance. Fergus McFadden has been promoted to the senior squad.



FOLLOW

There are a number of players who could follow him there.

Full-back Gavin Duffy, wing Johne Murphy, scrum-half Tomas O'Leary and hooker Damien Varley have everything to play for in the light of injuries and indifferent form.

Perhaps, the most interesting decision is to throw the inexperienced Munster lock Ian Nagle in among seasoned professionals. This will test his fast-gathering reputation.

The Scottish Rugby Union has played its part in bringing customers through turnstiles by making it an admission-free spectacle.

Verdict: Scotland

Scotland A: J Thompson; H O'Hare, B Cairns, J Houston, L Jones; D Blair, G Laidlaw (capt); J Welsh, D Hall, G Cross, S MacLeod, F McKenzie, R Wilson, A MacDonald, J Beattie.

Irish Wolfhounds: G Duffy; J Murphy, E O'Malley, N Spence, D Hurley; I Humphreys, T O'Leary; B Wilkinson, D Varley, T Buckley, I Nagle, D Toner, K McLaughlin, W Faloon, C Henry (capt).

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