Allan Dell says Scotland braced for backlash from wounded Irish

Scotland will be facing an Ireland side “embarrassed” about being strong-armed by England at the weekend and determined to regain wounded pride when they pitch up at BT Murrayfield for Saturday’s pivotal Guinness Six Nations clash.

Allan Dell admitted the aches and pains had started to kick in after Scotland's victory over Italy. Picture: SNS/SRU.

That’s the view of Edinburgh loosehead Allan Dell, who said that the champions’ 32-20 loss at their Aviva Stadium has, if anything, made the Scots’ task even tougher against the world No 2 side.

What was always going to be a ferocious physical battle, particularly up front, has now gone up a notch according to Dell’s insight into pack mentality.

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“They were outmuscled. What normally tends to happens from experience is that if you have been outmuscled at the weekend the emphasis in the build-up to the next game is that you know you can’t have that happening again,” said the 26-year-old prop.

“You would be embarrassed and licking your wounds from that. There will be an aftershock after what England did to Ireland. It was always going to be a physical game. When we played them two years ago it was a very physical game. I am expecting a tough, physical game regardless what happened to them at the weekend.”

Dell played in that match in 2017 when Scotland recorded only their second opening weekend Six Nations win, stunning the Irish 27-22.

“We executed well, took our chances,” he recalled. “We were 21-8 up in the first half and when we had options we took them.

“In the past we have been a bit guilty of not taking our chances and at the weekend there were two tries we could have had that would have taken us out of reach before half time.

“We physically matched them [Ireland] in that game. Our defence was on point, we were shutting them down and we took our chances back then which is the most important thing against Ireland.”

Scotland recorded a third winning Six Nations opener at the weekend with the 33-20 win over Italy but Dell knows this Saturday will be a different kettle of fish.

“Tadhg Furlong, Cian Healy, Rory Best are all very good scrummagers, very disciplined,” said Dell. “They know when to have a crack, they know when to manipulate a scrum and move players, so it’s going to be a tough thing. Set-piece is going to be a major part of the game I feel.

“We’re going to have to go about our business the way we normally do. Hopefully that will help us and we won’t miss WP too much. I’m sure he’ll be in giving us his knowledge in the next few days.”

Simon Berghan is likely keep it an all-Edinburgh front row at the weekend, though Glasgow lock Jonny Gray could break the capital grip on the tight five.

Of that quintet, Dell has played the least this season due to injury and the form of new boy Pierre Schoeman.

“All the [Edinburgh] guys have scrummed really well the last few months,” said the former Natal Sharks player. “The chemistry’s there and we’ve had one or two sessions to get introduced to each other again.

“I felt good at the weekend. I was nervous before. I think I played about 65 minutes in the autumn and since then I’ve played 89 minutes in the last two months for Edinburgh.

“So coming into a game of such massive intensity I was a bit nervous for that but actually I felt quite good. I felt fit and my body felt quite good. I enjoyed the game.

“This morning was the hard one, it’s two days after it you start struggling, it’s a weird one. You assume the next day, but today was the day I woke up start running around and everything feels tight. But it’s good, no injuries, and you can cope with stiffness and the bumps and bruises. I’m happy with the way I’m feeling at the moment.”

Scotland find themselves in the unfamiliar position of leading the Six Nations table, by a point from England, but Dell knows it is very much early days.

“If you want to win the Six Nations you need to win all the games,” he said. “We wouldn’t approach the game in any another way, just wanting to win it. I don’t think leading is going to play any part in it.

“That’s the third time we’ve won the first game, and it’s auguring well but Six Nations is a long tournament… I know it’s only five games but it’s over two months. You need to win every game you play in.”

Scotland assistant coach Mike Blair, meanwhile, said that the management team had been poring over the events in Dublin looking for ways they can follow in the footsteps of Eddie Jones’s side and topple Joe Schmidt’s me.

“We were really impressed with England,” said the skills coach, pictured left. “We thought they were excellent. They didn’t let Ireland play and put a lot of pressure on them. A lot of line-speed in defence, so definitely things we will be able to learn from that game.

“That’s something we look at each week so it’s not anything new – our target is to put teams under pressure and there’s some great examples of England doing that in the game at the weekend.

“Ireland are a quality team who’ve got a really consistent level of performance over the last couple of years, so we’d expect a really tough game whether they’d won or lost at the weekend.”