'If you stand still you're gone!'

Duncan Hodge was a second-half substitute the last time Scotland beat Ireland at Murrayfield in the RBS 6 Nations Championship, nearly twelve years ago.

Now the Scotland specialist coach is looking for the new crop of players to step up and prove the result against Italy was no one hit wonder.


Hodge declared: “Historically we’ve been up and down and we’ve got to perform in front of the home crowd. We need to do the same stuff that we did last week (against Italy) but we need to do it better. We expect the players to step up a level, one game isn’t good enough.

Every game is tougher than the last, if you stand still you’re gone.

“We’ve got good players and we are trying to work out what makes test matches tick and what are the fundamentals of unlocking the best in our players. And on the back of that we have scored tries which is great and breeds confidence but what we’ve got to do is back that up week after week.”

The former stand-off knows what the Ireland team are about and believes the players will not focus on the injury absentees among the visitors to Murrayfield on Sunday..

“We’ll prepare for Ireland like every other team. Ireland have lost a couple of players but they’re still an excellent side. We’ve got to back up how we perform and whichever side Ireland field they will be an extremely good side.

“We’re not after playing well for one game. We’ve got to keep moving on, we want to play better than we did last week and keep improving.

“It’s not about highs and lows, as coaches we’re picking up on bad points and reinforcing the good points.”

Hodgey knows a few things about kicking, scoring 93 points from his boot for Scotland in 26 matches. He has been working closely with Greig Laidlaw and the other kickers in the squad.

“Greig is doing great, he kicked seven from seven the other night and is nine from ten in the championship. I’ve stood out there and I know what it feels like to take a kick. There are four or five guys practicing goal kicking and they should all want to be number one for taking them during matches.

“Our game can’t just be about kicking. If you set your team up to play one way then you’re limiting your options and giving your opponents a distinct advantage.

“In the past couple of years Ireland have had the upper hand but that could change depending on how well we play on Sunday.”