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Countdown To Murrayfield: One Day To Go

Countdown To Murrayfield: One Day To Go

…Thanks For The Memories Bill…Run-Out For Ireland’s Under-19s Against ‘Hinch…Did You Know?…Say What?…Numbers Game…

THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES BILL: Gloucester scrum half Rory Lawson could come off the bench at Murrayfield to win his fifth Scotland cap tomorrow, and make a certain 83-year-old Hawick native very proud.

Lawson is the grandson of former commentating great Bill McLaren, who was rightly regarded as the ‘voice of rugby’ during his 50 years-plus service with the BBC.

Lawson, who turns 26 on Monday, has a fond regard for his ‘Papa’ whose video library of rugby matches he used to regularly raid as a schoolboy.

Of course the talented number 9 remembers some nuggets of McLaren commentary…”Hika the hooker from Ngongotaha”…”As slippery as a baggy in a Border burn”…and our favourite, “Simon Geoghegan is all arms and legs in there. He looks like a strangled octopus!”…

A genius of a commentator, enjoy tomorrow Bill!

RUN-OUT FOR IRELAND’S UNDER-19S AGAINST ‘HINCH: As the build-up continues towards next month’s IRB Under-19 World Championship, which has Belfast as its host venue, the Ireland Under-19s will have run-out tomorrow against Ballynahinch.

‘Hinch, the current leaders in AIB League Division Three, will provide some stern opposition for Charlie McAleese’s Under-19s at Ballymacarn Park (kick-off 3.30pm).

‘Hinch have two players in the Irish squad – prop Matthew Nelson and scrum half Harry McAleese. The club’s first choice number 8 Jonny Graham was part of Ireland’s U-19 World Championship squad last season.

‘Hinch club President Trevor Johnston is hoping for “huge support” for both teams. Spectators will be able to watch the Ireland v Scotland Six Nations match in the clubhouse before lining the touchlines for what looks should be a very competitive friendly match.


Eddie O’Sullivan has never lost a fixture against Scotland as Ireland’s head coach. Since being appointed in November 2001, the Corkman has guided Ireland to six straight wins against the Scots – three at Lansdowne Road and three at Murrayfield

– The Ireland v Scotland fixture is the third most played match in international rugby history. Saturday’s meeting is the sides’ 120th – the Irish have won 52 of the previous 119 clashes, while the Scots have chalked up 61 successes

– 1989 saw the debut of the Quaich trophy which is the prize on offer for the annual contest between Ireland and Scotland. The Royal Bank of Scotland, the match sponsors for that ’89 clash at Murrayfield, presented the new trophy which was claimed by the Scots in a 37-21 victory

– Scotland’s Tasmanian-born winger William Stewart scored a record four tries in the 1913 fixture. Ireland’s current captain Brian O’Driscoll grabbed a hat-trick in 2002, with Eugene Davy (1930) and Seamus Byrne (1953) also collected three tries in a single game against the Scots


“The Triple Crown is still a huge piece of silverware for us and I wouldn’t turn my nose up at any silverware – it is huge. The more often you win, it becomes a habit, especially in the build-up to the World Cup.”

– Ireland’s assistant coach Niall O’Donovan gives his opinion on retaining the Triple Crown trophy

“You don’t know whether to take it as a compliment or what. This is four weeks on the trot that people are targeting our pack.

“In fairness to the Scottish pack they’re superb. Very athletic, very good set pieces, an exceptional lineout in fairness to them. They’ve taken 30% of everybody’s ball on average over the last five or six games and that includes Australia and the autumn Tests as well.

“So with the pack they have, you would expect them to target opposition packs.”

– Ireland defensive coach Graham Steadman answers his opposite number George Graham back, after the Scot insisted earlier in the week that Ireland’s pack will be targeted at Murrayfield on Saturday

“I was in Ireland to watch their game with England and there is a real effort going on there to back the club side, because they know the club game has taken a hit and the pro game gets the profile.

“But every player comes from a club somewhere and they’re reminding everyone of that. Hopefully, we can use this match to give our club game a boost too.”

– Ahead of tonight’s Club International clash in Edinburgh, Scotland Club XV coach Ian Rankin gives his opinion on the battle to give the club game a higher profile


14 – The number of successful place kicks, out of 15 attempts, that Scotland full-back Chris Paterson has landed so far in this year’s Six Nations. Ireland’s Ronan O’Gara has also succeeded with 14 place kicks out of 18 attempts

100 – The number of points that Ronan O’Gara has scored for Ireland in nine games since last June. That equates to 3 tries, 14 conversions and 19 penalties

9 – The number of matches Ireland lost against Scotland at Murrayfield, between 1987 and 2001, before they won 36-6 at the Edinburgh venue in February 2003