Officials at Strirling County RFC worked late yesterday evening to cover the pitch to protect it against sub zero temperatures ahead of tonight’s A international against Scotland.
Officials at Strirling County RFC worked late yesterday evening to cover the pitch to protect it against sub zero temperatures ahead of tonight’s A international between Ireland and Scotland.(7.30pm). The Scottish side trained at Bridgehaugh yesterday in glorious sunshine, but severe frost was expected again overnight and the pitch was covered to ensure it will be playable this evening.
It’s a game that has more than championship points at stake as players on both sides try to impress the selectors with the World Cup just over six months away.
Both sides field particularly strong line-ups with 10 senior international apiece while Ireland can include two Lions players – Rob Henderson and Eric Miller in their starting XV.
Playing in front of their home crowd, the Scots will hardly want for motivation but they might well be reminded of last year’s game when Ireland won 60-3 in Ravenhill.
Speaking in The Scotsman newspaper today, Manager Rob Flockhart admitted: “We haven’t spoken about last year’s game at all, because very few of the players in this team were involved then. Obviously, it was a game you want to forget as quickly as possible, anyway, but the thing about the A team is that it does tend to bring together different players each year with different reasons for wanting to do well.”
On the Irish side, captain Neil Doak and Gordon D’Arcy are the only backs who remain from last year’s winning side with Paul Shields and Simon Best the only surviving forwards from that game. Interestingly perhaps, the back-row last time was Alan Quinlan, Keith Gleeson and Victor Costello who will all be involved at senior level tomorrow.
Ireland A: J Staunton (Munster); J Topping (Ulster), G D’Arcy (Leinster), R Henderson (Munster), J Kelly (Munster); B Everitt (London Irish), N Doak capt(Ulster); J Fitzpatrick, P Shields, S Best (all Ulster), D O’Callaghan (Munster), M O’Driscoll (Munster), S Easterby (Llanelli), K Dawson (London Irish), E Miller (Leinster).
Replacements: J Blaney (Munster), P Bracken (Connacht), B Casey (London Irish), A McCullen (Leinster), B O’Meara (Leinster), B Cunningham (Ulster), D Quinlan (Leinster).
Scotland A: S Moffat (Glasgow), S Webster (Edinburgh), J McLaren (Begles-Bordeaux), A Henderson (Glasgow), C Joiner (Edinburgh), D Hodge capt(Edinburgh, G Beveridge (Glasgow), A Jacobsen (Edinburgh), R Russell (Saracens), C Smith (Edinburgh), I Fullarton (Sale Sharks), A Rennick (Borders), A Wilson (Glasgow), J Petrie (Glasgow).
Replacements: D Hall (Edinburgh), D Hilton (Glasgow), N Ross (Glasgow), A Hall (Glasgow), I Fairley (Borders), C Howarth (Glasgow), D Lee (Edinburgh).