Preview: Ireland v Scotland
Scotland’s opponents in the first pool game are familiar Six Nations rivals Ireland. The teams have played each other 135 times, with Scotland winning 67 times, Ireland winning 63 (and five draws).
Ireland at a glance
Ireland go into the Rugby World Cup as the number one ranked team in the world.
A historic win against a full-strength All Blacks side in Dublin, a Grand Slam in the Guinness Six Nations and a first series win over Australia led to Ireland being awarded Team of the Year at the 2018 World Rugby Awards, with Joe Schmidt winning the Coach of the Year and Jonny Sexton the Player of the Year Award.
The side have struggled to replicate such dominant form this year, losing to England and Wales in the Guinness Six Nations and losing again to England - by a record margin - in the recent warm-ups.
Rugby World Cup record
Ireland have reached the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals stage on six occasions (1987, 1991, 1995, 2003, 2011, 2015) but have never progressed to the semi-finals. Of their 35 Rugby World Cup matches Ireland have won 21 and lost 14.
Scotland have only played Ireland once in a Rugby World Cup. This was at BT Murrayfield in the pool stages of the 1991 tournament, with Scotland winning 24-15 thanks to tries from Graham Shiel and Gary Armstrong and kicks from Gavin Hastings and Craig Chalmers. Ireland went on to lose their Quarter-Final by a single point at Lansdowne Road against eventual winners Australia.
What Chris Paterson thinks
“The thing that springs to mind with Ireland is how consistent they’ve been for the last 18 months to two years, up until the last few months. They’ve beaten the All Blacks twice, they’ve been winning Grand Slams, so they’ve been really consistent.
They’re an experienced team, but now it almost looks like they’re going to have to reinvigorate the team because their Six Nations results would have been disappointing for them and some of their Rugby World Cup warm-up results will have been disappointing.
They’ll probably go back to what made them so successful, which was a structured game. The threat that they pose is the physicality, the experience they’ve got and really big players in key positions.”
Chris Paterson, former Scotland captain and record points-scorer shares his thoughts on Scotland’s Pool A opposition in his World Cup Preview. Read the full article here.
Ireland can call upon multiple British & Irish Lions but there can be little doubt that their continued recent success has centred around Johnny Sexton, who will be participating in his final World Cup.
The Leinster playmaker, World Rugby Player of the Year in 2018, galvanises those around him with a mix of creativity and physical resilience and has only been on the losing side against Scotland twice in a 10-year international career.
Four European Rugby Champions Cup winners’ medals, as well as three Six Nations crowns, tells its own story and if he’s fully fit for the opener come September 22, Scotland will need to negate Sexton if they have designs on winning in Yokohama.
One to watch
The conveyor belt of talent coming out of Ireland never seems to cease, with exciting youngsters Andrew Porter, James Ryan and Garry Ringrose sure to feature prominently in Schmidt’s selections. However, a blistering start to his international career means winger Jacob Stockdale stands out above his peers.
The Ulster flyer made his debut a little over two years ago, in which time he has won a Grand Slam and Player of the Tournament thanks to a staggering 16 tries from only 21 caps. Stockdale has dotted down three times in two Tests against Scotland and also crossed the whitewash in Ireland’s momentous home win over the All Blacks in November last year.
Watching on TV?
In the UK the Ireland v Scotland will be shown live on ITV, kicking off at 8.45am (BST).
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