WHEN Scotland lock Jim Hamilton sets eyes on the green jerseys of Ireland again this Saturday evening, it will reawaken painful recent memories he is desperate to wipe out.
The last time Scotland played was the Six Nations finale and Hamilton explained that witnessing the Irish players and fans turn BT Murrayfield into their own party palace still hurts. Paul O’Connell’s men inflicted a heavy 40-10 defeat on the Scots that day, which proved enough to keep a hold of the Six Nations trophy while inflicting on the hosts a perhaps harsh, but nonetheless inescapable whitewash and Wooden Spoon.
“The Six Nations still hurts me, the Ireland game especially,” said the experienced Saracens second-row forward.
“We’ve had to look back at clips in order to look forward. I don’t want to talk too much about it [Six Nations] because we have parked it and we have moved forward. But it’s still important to learn from your mistakes. To watch Ireland lift the Six Nations here and the manner in which they defeated us was pretty tough.
“If I was to say I wasn’t disappointed by the defeat would not reflect good on me.”
The message coming out of the whole squad is that these upcoming matches against Ireland, Italy (twice) and France may be “warm-ups” in name but are being viewed with the utmost seriousness. “There is huge emphasis on these matches,” said Hamilton.
“Yes these are warm-up games for the World Cup but the way I look at it and the way a number of guys are looking at it is we’re pulling on a Scotland jersey and playing a Test match against Ireland over there. When we put the jersey on we want to look at the here and now.”
The 32-year-old added: “We’re itching to get going, there is only so much training you can do. Ireland have had one hit out and showed what level you can be at after one game. We’re looking forward to putting what we’ve learned in training into practice in the game.”