“If we win a championship and it’s not a grand slam with a bonus point we’re all going to be gutted”.
It is eight years since Scotland last beat Ireland in Dublin, and since the Six Nations era started in 2000 the Scots have won just six away matches – and four of those were against perennial strugglers Italy.
Finn Russell believes if Scotland nullify the threat of Ireland playmakers Jonny Sexton and Conor Murray then they have a good chance of winning their Six Nations clash in Dublin on Saturday.
Eddie Jones insists England are negotiating an inevitable slump where the “game does not love you” after France handed Ireland the Six Nations title by prevailing 22-16 in Paris.
“France has gone through a tough time”, the 64-year-old Brunel said.
Ireland will be wary of their visit to Twickenham, especially as it was they who denied England the grand slam last season in identical circumstances.
“We’re very proud of how the team played but there is a realisation that we have more work to do”, Townsend said.
“We know if we do we’ll be there or thereabouts and everything else takes care of itself”.
Ireland blamed the bus arriving at Murrayfield 15 minutes late on their 27-22 loss to Scotland previous year – and captain Best insisted his side have learned the hard way how to clear unforeseen hurdles. “Rory Best [Ireland’s captain] has already spoken to the squad in the dressing-room to keep them focused”, he said in the Irish Independent.
Sexton, who converted all four of Ireland’s tries, said it was a huge achievement given serious injuries ruled out several key players during the campaign suc as flanker Josh van der Flier and centres Robbie Henshaw and Chris Farrell.
Dominated early when they were made to pay for their mistakes, the French turned things around in the second half thanks to ill-discipline by England.
Otherwise Ireland were able to see out a crucial victory rather comfortably. However, the throw-in wasn’t caught.
“Even if we had taken two of those opportunities, another 14 points would have changed the complexion of the game, and it could have been a lot tighter”.
The visitors threatened to hit back just over five minutes later, but after gathering his own kick ahead Huw Jones was unable to supply the scoring pass to Stuart Hogg. A nice flick-on by center Garry Ringrose, playing only his second match this year, freed fullback Rob Kearney.
But France would have the last laugh, as England fluffed two opportunities in the corner at the end to find a late try. Sexton’s conversion pushed Ireland into a 21-3 advantage.