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Scotland vs. Ireland: Date, Live Stream, TV Info, Six Nations 2015 Preview

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistMarch 20, 2015

Scotland's Sean Maitland, centre, is tackled by Ireland's Cian Healy, left, and Peter O'Mahony during their Six Nations Rugby Union international match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland, Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014.  (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Peter Morrison/Associated Press

Ireland have positioned themselves well ahead of their trip to Scotland in the final round of the 2015 Six Nations, although they'll need to bounce back from last week's defeat against Wales with a big victory at Murrayfield on Saturday.

The Irish currently sit second in the standings, chasing England on points differential—the difference being just four points. The English host France at 5 p.m. at Twickenham, so it will be up to Ireland to pile on as much pressure as possible by racking up points when they start at 2:30 p.m.

Scotland have to win and hope Italy fail to pick up any points against Wales to avoid becoming the latest recipient of the Wooden Spoon, but with Ireland still battling for the Six Nations crown, such a feat won't be easy. Here's all you need to know ahead of Saturday's clash.

Date: Saturday, March 21

Time: 2:30 p.m. GMT/10:30 a.m. ET

Venue: Murrayfield, Edinburgh

TV info and live stream: BBC carries full coverage of this year's Six Nations, with mobile coverage available via the BBC iPlayer.

Preview

Ireland dominated possession at the Millennium Stadium last week but ran into a fantastic defensive performance from Wales, ending the defending champions' hopes of a Grand Slam.

The team had its chances but failed to capitalise, relying on fly-half Johnny Sexton to carry the scoring burden. Under Joe Schmidt, the team has played relatively mistake-free rugby, but their performance at the line-out against the Welsh was well below the expectations.

Speaking to BBC Sport, forwards coach Simon Easterby acknowledged Ireland will have to improve drastically ahead of Saturday's match:

The players are hugely frustrated and despondent about that [line-out] performance. We know we are going to have to be far cleaner and far better against the Scots. They are particularly effective in line-out attack and defence.

All the players are comfortable to catch and pass and make good decisions. That's the bottom line.

They are more than capable of producing the right things at the right time and sometimes under a bit of pressure, when the opposition are making it awkward to do certain things, you are going to come up with a few errors.

The kicking game was arguably Ireland's biggest undoing—Schmidt's men had dominated just about every team they had faced in that department up until their meeting with Wales, with the match against England in particular decided by the boots of Sexton and Connor Murray.

CARDIFF, WALES - MARCH 14:  Johnny Sexton of Ireland calls a move during the RBS Six Nations match between Wales and Ireland at Millennium Stadium on March 14, 2015 in Cardiff, Wales.  (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Leigh Halfpenny is one of the few who can match Sexton from the tee—Scotland don't have anyone who approaches the same quality.

The one key area of weakness Ireland do have is a general lack of creativity in attack, however, and Wales exploited this beautifully last week. The Welsh defence deserves tons of credit, but the way Ireland keep attacking in similar patterns is evident:

Scotland may be winless at this point, but Vern Cotter's men have shown plenty of positive signs so far. The side came within minutes of beating Italy and gave England an early scare after surviving a difficult opening quarter, forcing plenty of mistakes and showing plenty of resilience.

It's telling England dominated in just about every statistical category and yet came away with just a 12-point win. And on Saturday, backed by a fiery crowd at Murrayfield, the team will have plenty left to play for, as captain Greg Laidlaw told BBC Sport:

BBC Sport @BBCSport

Greig Laidlaw says Scotland picking up the Six Nations Wooden Spoon would be an embarrassment: http://t.co/lUV5bysQTj http://t.co/6cVXtqQnpy

But with so much on the line, experience could be a key factor, and as explained by Rugby World's Owain Jones, the Scots showed against England they will revert back to some of their poor habits in the heat of the moment:

With discipline the major issue of the tournament so far, Scotland fixed that to great effect, only giving away eight penalties to England’s ten.

Positional kicking and concentration were issues early on, so they fixed those and prospered.

Then after half time, Scotland inexplicably failed to retain momentum having worked so hard to wrestle it from England’s grasp. The old failings re-appeared: poor kicking, and playing too much rugby in the wrong areas of the pitch. As a result they were all but passengers in the second half, with nowhere near enough possession and poor use of territory preventing them from coming close to a first win at Twickenham since 1983, even if the scoreline was closer than many had feared.

Ireland have been here before, winning last year's title thanks to a win in the last round over France. Unlike England, who play later during the day, they won't have to look at a preset target of points and will be able to play free rugby, focusing on the win.

Scotland may wish to avoid the Wooden Spoon at all cost, but it's hard to see them getting past a well-coached Ireland squad gunning for the title.

Prediction: Ireland win.


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