Six Nations: Scotland to focus on form and not history for Ireland Test

Six Nations: Scotland coach Gregor Townsend Credit: Alamy
Six Nations: Scotland coach Gregor Townsend Credit: Alamy

Gregor Townsend believes his side’s form is more important than Scotland’s poor Six Nations history against Ireland in recent times.

Scotland have only claimed one win against Ireland in the last 12 meetings, with losses in the last seven match-ups.

However, the side has shown remarkable development in 2023, winning their opening two games in the Six Nations against England and Wales whilst pushing France in Round Three.

Focus on the now

Townsend is only focused on what Scotland is doing now and will study Ireland’s recent form in their preparation for the Murrayfield clash.

“What’s more important is what we’re doing just now and what we’ve learned since the summer, since last year’s Six Nations when obviously one of those games was against Ireland,” he said.

“What we’ve put in place since then is more important than how we’ve played against Ireland in the past. We will look at Ireland and what they’ve done in their past few games, stretching back to the New Zealand Tests.

“You do look back at games you play against them but we know what they are about. They are very well coached, the contact area is massive for them.

“They go through a lot of phases and can stretch the opposition and they have an attack shape driven by Johnny Sexton which is all set up to find a weakness, so we have to be together and alive in defence.”

Different to have two of the world best in the north

Townsend admits it is different to have the two best teams in the world in the Six Nations and credited Ireland for their development led by the Joe Schmidt era.

“There have been other teams that have been dominant that have come here, such as New Zealand over the years,” he said. “It is maybe different to see it from a Six Nations team but that is the strength of European rugby just now; we have the number one and number two teams in the world in our competition.

“They have got a lot of things that lead to success at Test level, first of all cohesion. They know each other really well, a lot of them play for the same club and they all play in the same country.

“They have been together now for a few years and have built success through Joe Schmidt, and Andy Farrell has evolved their game as well which has led to even more success from them.

“They know what works for them. They have a full deck of cards this week with their players coming back and they will take confidence from that.”

READ MORE: Scotland v Ireland: Six Nations preview as the world’s best to show their class in tight Murrayfield battle

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