Key Matchup: Ireland vs Scotland

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Two of the most iconic teams in world rugby are lining up for battle like no other. 

There are so many weird and wonderful things that can come from this match; Ireland can crash out of the World Cup – depending on the result. Scotland can crash out of the World Cup – depending on the result. South Africa can crash out of the World Cup, depending on the result.

That being said we certainly have a most interesting clash on our hands. 

Scotland has shown the enterprising type of rugby they can play. 

Their inspirational captain Jamie Ritchie should be fit to play against Ireland and his input along with every single forward would have to be the catalyst for Scotland to have a chance. Their scrums are competitive and they have some of the best lineout athletes.

In the backline, Finn Russell will create opportunities with his sheer genius and he possesses a host of dangerous runners that he can set up to gain territorial advantage and produce a series of spectacular tries. 

The Scottish goal-kicking has also been solid throughout the tournament and they can bargain on picking up points if Ireland were to infringe in their own half. 

But then there’s Ireland. 

Ireland didn’t become the number one team in the world because they were lucky or other teams were bad – they’re there because they are brilliant. 

You can talk about their lineouts, scrums, ruck speed, goal-kicking, and many other facets of their game; in short, they are brilliant and almost flawless. 

There are three things that stand out for me: 

  1. They always put in a defensive effort that chokes the life out of any team’s attack.
  2. They are more disciplined than any other team by far. They have something to the tune of 2 yellow cards in 26 matches during a World Cup where yellow cards have been dished out like free candy at the fair.
  3. They are tenacious in their ability to adapt and find a way. This is often on the back of a change in tactics at halftime for most teams and I do believe that Andy Farrell plays a big part in this way. Their brain trust has the ability to adapt based on the situations presented at different times in a game.

Scotland remains to have a chance, but, sadly, they will need to get through Fortress Ireland for that elusive win.