RBS Six Nations: Scotland v Ireland
Venue: Murrayfield Date: Sunday 27 February Kick-off: 1500 GMT
Coverage: Watch on BBC One, BBC HD channel, Red Button and BBC Sport website; listen on BBC Radio Scotland, Radio Ulster & online; text commentary on BBC Sport website and mobiles
Ronan O’Gara has been picked ahead of Jonny Sexton to win his 106th cap at Murrayfield on Sunday, as Ireland travel to Scotland for the third round of the RBS 6 Nations. The veteran fly-half’s services have only been called upon in desperate times so far in the tournament, and he kicked the winning drop goal against Italy in the opening round. But after a disappointing loss to France at the Aviva Stadium two weeks ago, coach Declan Kidney has admitted his side is in need of a confidence boost, which he hopes will take the form of Munster’s No 10.
O’Gara is one of three changes made by Kidney. Tommy Bowe has bounced straight back into the side to replace Fergus McFadden on the wing after an injury lay-off, while an ongoing back problem sees Tomás O’Leary drop out of the 22 altogether, as he is replaced by Eoin Reddan, and Peter Stringer takes his place on the bench.
Meanwhile in Edinburgh, Andy Robinson has rung the changes in the hope that his side can claim their first win of the championship. An all-new half-back partnership sees Ruaridh Jackson (left) make his first start for Scotland, while Mike Blair partners him at scrum-half. Both Dan Parks and Rory Lawson drop to the bench.
Scotland’s seven changes are completed by Chris Paterson and Sean Lamont, who replace the injured Hugo Southwell and Joe Ansbro, Moray Low, Richie Gray and Johnnie Beattie, while Nick de Luca moves from inside to outside centre.
The Scots pulled off a famous win over Ireland 12 months ago in a game that sent the teams in different directions for the rest of the year – Ireland’s season crumbled as they had a miserable summer tour and mediocre autumn series, winning just two out of four fixtures, while the Scots enjoyed victories over Argentina, South Africa and Samoa.
However, Scotland are yet to win a game in this championship despite hosting a struggling Wales team two weeks ago, and will be desperate to win on Sunday to avoid a wooden spoon decider against Italy in the final round. Meanwhile Ireland are still chasing the Triple Crown, and hoping to regain some form and winning ways in the run up to the World Cup later this year.
Tickets for Scotland v Ireland are still available! You can purchase tickets in person from the Murrayfield ticket centre until 4pm on Saturday, or call 0844 335 3933/click here until midnight on Saturday. Prices start from £25, and no tickets will be sold on match day. Don’t miss this opportunity to catch the Six Nations action live!
Scotland: Chris Paterson; Nikki Walker, Nick de Luca, Sean Lamont, Max Evans; Ruaridh Jackson, Mike Blair; Allan Jacobsen, Ross Ford, Moray Low, Richie Gray, Al Kellock (c), Kelly Brown, Johnnie Beattie, John Barclay. Replacements: Scott Lawson, Geoff Cross, Nathan Hines, Richie Vernon, Rory Lawson, Dan Parks, Simon Danielli.
Ireland: Luke Fitzgerald; Tommy Bowe, Brian O’Driscoll (c), Gordon D’Arcy, Keith Earls; Ronan O’Gara, Eoin Reddan; Cian Healy, Rory Best, Mike Ross, Donncha O’Callaghan, Paul O’Connell, Sean O’Brien, David Wallace, Jamie Heaslip. Replacements: Sean Cronin, Tom Court, Leo Cullen, Denis Leamy, Peter Stringer, Jonathan Sexton, Paddy Wallace.
Referee: Nigel Owens
Can Gordon D’Arcy repeat this on Sunday? What a try!