Ireland travel to Murrayfield in the penultimate round of Six Nations 2023, with the chance to wrap up the title this weekend should other results go their way, and take a step towards their first Grand Slam in five years.
Andy Farrell’s men top the table with a maximum of 15 points so far, whilst Scotland sit second with 10 having beaten England and Wales before almost making a magnificent comeback against the French in Paris in round three.
Confidence is high in both the Irish camp and the Irish media, with a vocal few believing Ireland will simply have too much quality for Scotland on the day.
Gregor Townsend has steadily shed Scotland’s underdog tag and his side are producing some of their best rugby in recent years.
The unbeatable always look unbeatable until they don’t and Scotland certainly have the arsenal to upset Ireland, and in doing so, clinch the Triple Crown for the first time since 1990 – the year in which they also won their last Grand Slam.
Scotland vs Ireland TV channel, kick-off time and live stream details
Scotland vs Ireland in the 2023 Six Nations kicks-off at 3pm on Sunday 12 March at Murrayfield. The TV channel for the match is BBC One, with coverage starting at 2.15pm. You can watch a live stream of the game on BBC iPlayer.
Two world class 10s
Johnny Sexton returns to the Ireland starting line-up after a groin injury ruled him out of the Italy match, with his Leinster understudy Ross Byrne standing in. Naturally, much of the discussion around the game will sway towards the battle between the fly-halves: Sexton and Finn Russell.
Sexton will be the focal point of Ireland’s structured attack, being the arrowhead for an Irish side who dominate opponents with quick ruck speed and constant variety.
Russell, in contrast, will act as the key for those outside him to flourish as he’s done so far in the tournament, as well as his ability to pull teams apart all by himself. Regardless of Ireland’s preparation and defensive structure, the possibility of the Racing 92 fly-half splitting them apart at times is entirely real.
Can Scotland’s pack disrupt Irish speed?
Ireland’s ruck speed is key to their success. Tries have become a natural byproduct of their front foot ball and flawless execution; they have become All Blacks-esque under Farrell and it can be near impossible to handle. The solution, albeit simple on paper, lies in sheer physicality.
Through Jamie Ritchie and Hamish Watson, Scotland can attempt to disrupt Ireland’s breakdown and slow down their ball. But they face a huge obstacle to that goal in the form of Josh van der Flier and Peter O’Mahony.
Irish midfield vs ‘Huwipulotu’
Centres Huw Jones and Sione Tuipulotu have performed so well for Glasgow and Scotland that they’ve been given their own nickname,
Tuipulotu, who is 14 games into his Scotland career, is proving to be an astute defender and excellent ball-carrying option and Jones has been reborn at Glasgow after a two-year absence from Test rugby. Their chemistry has been on show this year and with Russell inside them, their line-breaking abilities are being given the perfect platform to shine.
Against Italy, Garry Ringrose was a late withdrawal and a makeshift pairing of Stuart McCloskey and Bundee Aki took to the Stadio Olimpico. As burly as they may be, Italy found success in heading straight for the outside channels.
Ringrose returns to the side in place of McCloskey this weekend but with his calf issue Ireland could have a rough day against Scotland’s Huwipulotu.