John_s_version_3Teams were announced this afternoon for Saturday’s RBS Six Nations clash between Ireland and Scotland at the Aviva Stadium, kick off 17:00. 

Joe Schmidt has made only one change to the starting line up with Tommy O’Donnell returning from injury to replace Josh van der Flyer. Richard Strauss replaces Sean Cronin on the bench which also sees Eoin Reddan come in for Kieran Marmion.

Schmidt got something of a get out of jail free card last weekend with Ireland’s resounding win against Italy but his first choice selection faces a much tougher task this weekend against a resurgent Scotland who stand two places above Ireland in the table going into “Super Saturday”. 

Mens Six Nations Week 4 As they stand

As they stand going into the final week.

As hard as I try I’m finding it difficult to see beyond a Scotland win here and I think they’ll win it in their front five. The back row edges towards Ireland and the back five towards Scotland the great unknown being the respective form of Sexton and Weir in the half backs. 

Laidlaw is such an intelligent scrum half that Weir’s form might not matter so a lot will depend on Sexton and, worryingly, even against Italy, he sparked very little  beyond well known set plays.

These players know each other so well that defences will dominate so it may all come down to  the mavericks at fifteen. Both Zebo hand Hogg can mix the sublime with the ridiculous but unless one of them makes an absolute howler I see Scotland in a better position to capitalise on anything Hogg does.

I’ve also got a worrying niggle at the back of my mind that Rory tends to lose his arrows a touch when he’s up against Ford. 🙁

The FRU Predicts: A narrow win for Scotland in a tight game. Let’s hope I’m wrong!  😳 

IRELAND   SCOTLAND
Simon Zebo 15 Stuart Hogg
Andrew Trimble 14 Tommy Seymour
Jared Payne 13 Duncan Taylor
Robbie Henshaw 12 Alex Dunbar
Keith Earls 11 Tim Visser
Jonathan Sexton 10 Duncan Weir
Conor Murray 9 Greig Laidlaw
Jack McGrath 1 Alasdair Dickinson
Rory Best 2 Ross Ford
Mike Ross 3 Willem Nel
Donnacha Ryan 4 Richie Gray
Devin Toner 5 Tim Swinson
CJ Stander 6 John Barclay
Tommy O’Donnell 7 John Hardie
Jamie Heaslip 8 Ryan Wilson
     
Richard Strauss 16 Stuart McInally
Cian Healey 17 Rory Sutherland
Nathan White 18 Moray Low
Ultan Dillane 19 Rob Harley
Rhys Ruddock 20 Josh Strauss
Eoin Reddan 21 Henry Pyrgos
Ian Madigan 22 Pete Hornepoints
Fergus McFadden 23 Sean Lamont

#SUFTUM