Matt SCOTT believes regular jousts against Ulster, Leinster and Munster in the RaboDirect PRO12 League can help Scotland topple Ireland in their RBS Six Nations encounter at Murrayfield on Sunday week.
Since the Five Nations was expanded to include Italy in 2000, the Irish have won 45 out of 67 matches compared with just 17 victories for Scotland. They won one Grand Slam and four Triple Crowns for the Irish whereas the Scots have achieved none.
A defiant Scott, however, draws on the fact that two thirds of the Irish starting lined-up are home-based to declare: “Ireland are a class team but we won’t have any fear.
“We have played against the same Irish players at club level and while many of them can score from anywhere on the pitch, that is proving the case for us as well now.”
Scott, 22, scored his first international try on his ninth start in Saturday’s 34-10 win over Italy but there was another record that Scott was proud to maintain; namely, never having been substituted or leaving the field in a Scotland match he started.
It was touch and go late on, though, as the Currie-reared ace received treatment and momentarily drifted out from centre to wing to gather himself. “Jacko (Ruaridh Jackson) gave me a pass that was right on the gain-line and the Italian guy read it and absolutely creamed me in the tackle.
“I was winded after taking a sore one to the ribs but although there was a moment where I was a bit hazy I wanted to see out the win and was never going to come off the pitch readily.”
Recalling his try, Scott, right, said: “There was a heart-in-the-mouth moment while I was trying to bring the pass from Sean Maitland under control.
“It would have been horrible to knock on, but I soon saw the field open up.
“After getting run down by the cover earlier in the match, I was determined that it wouldn’t be allowed to happen again.
“I can’t put into words how good it felt to score for Scotland – especially with the try coming at a key moment in the match just after half-time.
“Then Stuart Hogg got a try and that gave us a bit of daylight which was a massive cushion allowing us to play for field position and squeeze the game.
“It was totally unlike the previous week at Twickenham where we finished searching for tries and a much better feeling.”