Best: Ireland Is Not Looking Beyond The Scotland Game
Mar 10 2018 by Marjorie Miles
Ireland are top of the table, five points clear of England, after three wins from three.
The former Ireland great stoked the fires ahead of this weekend's crucial Dublin showdown by talking down the chances of Gregor Townsend's team clinching their first Championship triumph since 1999. More of the same saw them past Italy and Wales.
Scotland captain John Barclay says Brian O'Driscoll's description of his side as "homers" is "not unfair" until they prove they can win away from home. "I think it's going to be an exciting game to be part of again at Donnybrook". The record speaks for itself.
Ireland v Scotland kicks off on Saturday at 2.15pm at the Aviva Stadium. Editable versions of this graphic are available via PA Graphics or your account manager.
"We don't focus on home or away records, we focus on the threats".
"Ultimately the teams that do well in this competition have to do well away from home". We've had to look at ourselves. If you looked at that past year and said this is what the scoreline's going to be, people would have jumped at the chance and said "That's a great score".
"So for us it's about making sure we perform and play well, and get the result".
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Ireland now top the standings having won all three of their matches so far, and another victory against Scotland on Saturday would set up a showdown with fellow championship hopefuls England at Twickenham in the final game. Both teams now are completely different - new players, new coaches, new systems, especially on Ireland's side - but we're very similar in terms of the way that we play and the set-ups that we have.
"The guys are buzzing, they know how exciting it is, the opportunity that we have".
"It'd be rich if I sat up here and said you can't be caught cold at the start of a championship, it happened to us 12 months ago".
Ireland must be "bigger and stronger" than to fall prey to any unexpected setbacks against Scotland two years in a row, according to Rory Best.
"They certainly steer the ship in terms of the way they play".
Take this on Ireland's gain-line power against Wales, and whether they might seek to adopt the same tactics against Scotland: "It's ironic you say that, because I'd probably challenge people to do a little bit more homework. Johnny Sexton's pass for Jacob Stockdale's try, that's still one of the best passes you'd see in world rugby".