Andrew Trimble wary of threat posed by a resurgent Scotland

Stakes high with every reason for Ireland to finish campaign on a good note

Andrew Trimble scores Ireland’s first try of nine against Italy in last week’s Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium.  Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho.

Andrew Trimble scores Ireland’s first try of nine against Italy in last week’s Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho.

 

Much like last week’s supposed “dead rubber” against Italy, only even more so, there’s plenty at stake again in Ireland’s 2016 RBS Six Nations finale against Scotland at the Aviva. Aside from the potential €1 million difference on the line, there’s simply the feel-good factor and self worth that comes with finishing potentially third or fifth.

If Ireland lose, they will finish fifth, and the IRFU’s cut of the prize fund will be around the €1.5 to €1.6 million mark. Were they to win, they would jump to third, and would stay there if England subsequently beat France to claim the Grand Slam, thus earning a dividend of around €2.6 million.

Anti-climactic campaign

None of that though is a concern to the players, for whom a win would maintain a three-year unbeaten Six Nations record at the Aviva and salvage a slightly anti-climactic campaign. By contrast, a defeat would ensure they equal Ireland’s worst finish in the Six Nations of fifth in 2013. None of them want that indignity, Andrew Trimble admits.

“There will be a lot of people looking on thinking it’s not that big a game but certainly from our point of view it’s the difference between coming third and coming fifth and that’s a pretty significant difference. For us, really, coming fifth isn’t acceptable from our point of view.

“Obviously we want to finish higher than third but at this point that’s what we’re playing for and we’ve got to go out there and try and get that. So it is very significant, this game, even though to a lot of people it wouldn’t seem that way.”

While last week’s nine-try rout of Italy has given the players “a little bit of a spring in our step” according to Trimble, they are acutely aware that the injury-hit Azzurri were far from their best and accordingly there is “going to be a big step up for Scotland”. This, says the Irish winger, will demand that Ireland sharpen their accuracy and improve defensively.

Trimble has no qualms admitting that this is the best Scottish side they have faced. “From my point of view, yeah, definitely, they’ve strengths all over the park, they’re very well organised, Vern Cotter’s done an unbelievable job with them and they’re a big, big threat.

“They’ve got the big, big win over France last weekend and I don’t think that really surprised anybody, the rugby they were playing, they were more than capable of beating France and it was no surprise really. They’ll come to Dublin with their tails up and they’re going to be a handful so we’ve plenty of homework to do this week.”

Compared to previous Scottish sides, Trimble says this team “seem a little bit more structured and a little bit more organised. They’re very, very physical at the breakdown, they compete for everything – we’re going to have to be very accurate there.

“They have a decent bit of line speed as well, going up on the edge. Any long passes, the boys are just going to be smashed so we just have to be smart about how we do things. Their backfield cover is quite organised as well. I find it a little bit daunting how much work we have to do when Joe’s taking us through all the strengths they have and all the bullet points that we need to be aware of. There’s a lot of stuff there and we’ve a lot of work to do.”

Eight-pass move

“Yea, it was a nice try to be involved in. Johnny (Sexton) afterwards, he was thinking he might just have shown again and gone for the corner but I don’t think he would have made it to be honest, get the old knees up again,” says Trimble with a smile.

“But yes it was a big emphasis Joe made, that when someone makes a line break that we get up and support and don’t get too bogged down in what is around the corner, what the next phase is. If we get a line break, all bets are off, just try and go towards the ball and play. We just want to play rugby at the end of the day. That’s why we’re here. We played when we were youngsters because you got the ball in your hand and played a bit of rugby. That’s what we did and Jamie got over so we got the reward.”

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