Scotland vs Ireland Six Nations - UAE Supporters Preview

Claire Molloy of Ireland is tackled by Louise Mc Millan of Scotland

"With Paddy and Johnny (Sexton) we have two really, really good out-halves". Munster's Ian Keatley is the replacement out-half.

In addition to the ballast of CJ Stander, Seán O'Brien and Iain Henderson, amongst others, there is Cian Healy, Ultan Dillane and Josh van der Flier to spring from the replacements.

However, in terms of concerns, they feel Jared Payne will be a "big loss" and seem to question the merits of including Tommy Bowe, implying that it's based on past form. The team was a hurt animal looking to right the wrongs after the 2015 World Cup. He's approaching his best form.

McCaw returns to New Zealand on Friday (NZT Saturday), a day before the Six Nations kicks off, but will be following the action on TV. "That's something that all those players will treasure", he said.

Horgan says Ireland's "power and ball carriers" can give them the platform for victory, but one which won't come easy.

"What Scotland will or won't do, that's what they've been discussing in their team hotel for the last two weeks. My first cap for Ireland was against Italy that year, and pulling on that green jersey is just an indescribable feeling".

November fifth 2016 was the greatest day in the history of Irish rugby.

While Schmidt guided Ireland to an unprecedented trio of wins against New Zealand, South Africa and Australia in 2016, Cotter secured two wins from three and lost out to the Wallabies by a point in the autumn to leave both sides in buoyant spirits ahead of the BT Murrayfield clash.

Ireland's Alison Miller tackled by Megan Gaffney of Scotland
Ireland's Alison Miller tackled by Megan Gaffney of Scotland

It will be really close between England and Ireland. To be a truly great team, Ireland need to build on their performances and be consistent in their victories.

"The quality of the women's teams has improved, not just in Ireland but throughout the world, the matches are better to watch and the skill level is a lot higher", she tells inews. Ringrose demonstrated his talent with his first Ireland try in the 27-24 win over Australia and rarely makes mistakes with ball in hand.

"For us it's about making sure that we cope with that pressure and we perform, and for him in particular that he's able to perform his role and we make sure that we get a good enough platform for him to get his box-kick or his pass off well".

Wales coach Rob Howley, stepping in for Gatland, will be wary of their threat, and with Alun Wyn Jones, he will not settle for anything less than a team anchored on focus, never-say-die attitude and a desire to win.

There are no changes to the rules that governed last year's game, so the best rewards are heavily weighted towards try-scorers.

There is also a Lions tour at the end of the season to motivate the players, in Scotland, Wales and England, as well as Ireland. This will be the first Six Nations with bonus points for scoring four or more tries or losing by small margins (seven or fewer).

The rise of Stapleton's own career has in many ways mirrored that of women's rugby in Ireland.


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