"Oh, nobody rates you, nobody respects you" - Scotland overlooked and fired up
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"You can imagine what Scotland are saying... "
Last weekend, Scotland sent out a timely reminder that Pool B is anything but locked down. Gregor Townsend's side defeated Romania 84-0 and comfortably got to the 10-point mark that will make the final pool matches all the more interesting.
The Springboks handily defeated Tonga, on Sunday, to finish up their pool participation on 14 points. Ireland are on 14, right now, so just need two points to top Pool B - that could be through a draw or scoring at least four tries and securing a losing bonus point.
Of course, going out and beating the Scots, on Saturday, really just simplifies matters. The Springboks would appreciate that eventuality, too.
On House of Rugby, former Ireland stars Darren Cave and Ian Madigan looked ahead to Ireland vs. Scotland, and discussed what the Scots are getting so fired up about.
Darren Cave on Scotland finding motivation in platitudes
Following the big Scotland win over Romania, centre Cameron Redpath found himself getting amped about taking on Ireland in Paris, this Saturday.
"On our day we can beat anyone in the world," he said. "It’s about doing our stuff right and if we do that we really believe that we can turn over Ireland. We’re really excited."
The Scots can beat 'anyone in the world' but their record against Ireland, since 2013, is poor. They have beaten Ireland just once in their last 13 outings, and lost the other dozen. Ian Madigan commented:
"Our record against Scotland is really good over the last few years - I think we've won eight in a row. If you dive into the archives, you'll have to dive pretty deep to find the last time Johnny Sexton lost to any side. I don't think it has happened in the last 10 years, and I can't see that changing on Saturday."
What is getting the Scottish goat - aside from that Madigan prediction - is that World Cup quarter final talk has already commenced, with many predicting Ireland vs. New Zealand and South Africa vs. France.
"You can imagine what Scotland are saying," former Ireland centre Darren Cave reflected.
"I do think this fixture has developed a little bit of bite - more so, than ever, over the last five years. It's because we've seen a huge improvement in Scottish rugby, and in Irish rugby. Forget about the players for a second, with the fans, I do think the Scottish fans believe that Ireland don't really take them seriously.
"As Irish fans, we're like, 'We recognise that Scotland are good but you rock up every year and we beat you'. I do think that has added some extra bite. There will probably be Scottish fans giving off about this, listening in, and that is what Gregor Townsend will be trying to do - paint this picture, 'Oh, everyone has picked the quarter finals, nobody rates you, nobody respects you'.
"For Ireland, I'm not concerned about their tactical or defensive approach. We know that Finn Russell is key, but their defence is so good. They don't have to re-invent the wheel to beat them. It's just about getting the mind-set right."
Cave believes that Ireland will make changes for the Scotland game but 'there won't be huge rotations'. The down week, after beating South Africa, freshens up the bodies and Scotland could also latch on to a team with anything more than three XV switches as another sign of disrespect.
If there are changes, we could see Dan Sheehan start, Jack Conan come into the back row and possibly Robbie Henshaw and Finlay Bealham in from the get-go.
HOUSE OF RUGBY WITH DARREN CAVE & IAN MADIGAN
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