Josh Strauss: Scotland need to copy England’s approach against Ireland

Number eight knows first 20 minutes will prove key to outcome at Murrayfield

Scotland’s Josh Strauss catches Italy outhalf  Ian McKinley during the Six Nations game at Murrayfield. Photograph:  Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Scotland’s Josh Strauss catches Italy outhalf Ian McKinley during the Six Nations game at Murrayfield. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

 

Josh Strauss has pressed the case for Scotland to take on Ireland in the physicality stakes this Saturday after presenting the compelling evidence for a full-blooded approach.

The Scots will be looking to dish out a fresh serving of pain to Joe Schmidt’s men at Murrayfield this weekend after the 2018 Grand Slam winners were swiped aside by England in their Six Nations opener.

Eddie Jones’s side dominated in Dublin thanks to powerhouse performances from Manu Tuilagi and Mako and Billy Vunipola, running up four tries on their way to a bonus-point triumph.

Strauss was impressed by the tactics utilised by the English at the Aviva stadium as it sparked memories of Ireland’s last Edinburgh visit.

The Sale number eight was in the Scotland XV for that 2017 clash, a match that saw them lure the visitors into a series of early traps set inside their own 22 before applying the squeeze.

The Irish fought back but two late Greig Laidlaw kicks saw the Scots edge a thrilling contest 27-22.

And it is those two performances which have convinced Strauss that the Scots must take the fight to the Irish again.

He said: “I wasn’t involved last year in Dublin but we’ve watched a lot of the clips leading up to this year’s match trying to see what we did well and where we could do better.

“Physically we didn’t match them as a team last year but in 2017 we fronted up very well. We’ll need to take a similar step this week because we’ve seen what England have done.

“If you match that you will probably get something out of the game. That is something we’re focusing on.”

Losing last week means Ireland’s title ambitions are already on the line against Gregor Townsend’s men.

And Strauss hopes to exploit that make-or-break situation to his team’s benefit.

“If Ireland lose this one, it makes it very tough for them to get anywhere close to winning the competition.

“I don’t think they as a team will want to focus on it perhaps being the end of their tournament. They will just want to focus on it game by game.

“But if we can put a lot of pressure on them in the first 20, that changes their mindset. They might have to change their tactics if they end up chasing the game because we’re far enough ahead.

“The first 20 is always the focus in any game but there is a bit more to it with them losing the first game.”

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