There is lots at stake at BT Murrayfield on Sunday as Scotland host Ireland in essentially the most vital match of the penultimate weekend of the Guinness Six Nations.
Here, the PA information company seems to be at some key speaking factors forward of the mouth-watering Edinburgh showdown.
All to play for
A yr in the past this weekend, Scotland had been in Rome taking part in a comparatively insignificant match towards Italy, with their victory that means little within the grand scheme of issues aside from guaranteeing they’d not end with the picket spoon. This time they go into their penultimate fixture figuring out there are big rewards probably awaiting them. If they beat Ireland, they are going to declare a primary Triple Crown since 1990. In addition, a house victory, particularly with a bonus level, would take Gregor Townsend’s workforce into their remaining match at house to Italy with an actual likelihood of successful the Six Nations title. The Irish usually are not in need of motivation both, nevertheless. A win in Edinburgh will go away them on the right track for the title and a Grand Slam.
Can the Scots halt Irish dominance?
Captain Johnny Sexton this week claimed Ireland are getting ready to face the best Scotland workforce of the Six Nations period. Although there’s clearly a wholesome respect for the hosts, the Irish have dominated this fixture for a decade. Ireland have gained 11 of the final 12 clashes, together with seven on the bounce, relationship again to 2014. From an Irish perspective it might be extraordinarily unlucky timing for his or her current supremacy to finish. In an intriguing sub-plot, the perimeters are set to fulfill once more on the autumn World Cup, with the Paris showdown more likely to decide which nation progresses from the pool stage. Ireland thumped Scotland 27-3 throughout the identical stage of the 2019 event in Japan.
Irish deliver again the large weapons
Andy Farrell has chosen arguably his strongest aspect of this yr’s Six Nations to this point by welcoming again a bunch of star names from damage. Prop Tadhg Furlong will make his first aggressive look since early December following a calf difficulty after deputy Finlay Bealham suffered a tournament-ending knee downside within the round-three win in Italy. Sexton and Garry Ringrose additionally return having been sidelined in Rome, whereas Cian Healy, Jamison Gibson-Park and Robbie Henshaw considerably strengthen the bench as they await their first Test involvements because the autumn. Bealham and Tadhg Beirne are the one notable absentees from a fearsome matchday 23.
Hogg hits his century
There will likely be fanfare aplenty from a Scottish perspective as Stuart Hogg leads the hosts out forward of successful his a hundredth cap. The 30-year-old full-back made his debut in 2012 and has gone on to turn into, within the phrases of head coach Townsend, probably the greatest gamers within the historical past of Scottish rugby. Townsend additionally mentioned on Friday that Hogg has been coaching this week in addition to he can recall. It will come as little shock subsequently if the Scottish quantity 15 marks his landmark event by discovering a approach of influencing the match in his aspect’s favour.
Record-breaking weekend for Sexton?
Hogg will not be the one participant to move a notable milestone on this weekend’s match as fit-again Irish skipper Sexton additionally stands an opportunity of securing some private glory. The 37-year-old is closing in on turning into the Six Nations’ all-time main factors scorer. He sits simply seven championship factors shy of Ronan O’Gara’s document whole of 557, having leapfrogged former England worldwide Jonny Wilkinson into second spot final month. Sexton insists workforce achievements high particular person accolades however concedes surpassing former worldwide team-mate O’Gara can be a “fantastic” bonus.