Scotland believe rather than hope in 2017 Six Nations

Scotland believe rather than hope in 2017 Six Nations

Scotland believe rather than hope in 2017 Six Nations

He says himself and fellow Kiwi native Gatland discussed what the Lions tour will involve and some of the conditions they will play in.

If she can help Ireland to a World Cup win in August then her day job might just get a lot easier.

Ahead of Ireland's opening game against the Scots on Saturday, the ex-Lions and Scotland head coach told Off The Ball that, "the press here have been very upbeat and it gets through to the players and the fact that we did reasonably well in the Autumn Series - almost beat the Australians, but we didn't - the players have emboldened themselves, I think, that they can beat Ireland".

They are missing key players such as Chris Robshaw and Billy and Mako Vunipola through injury, but welcome back the likes of Maro Itoje, James Haskell and Jack Nowell.

So what have their newspapers and pundits been saying about their own team and Ireland as the Six Nations closes in?

The biggest concern for Ireland boss Schmidt coming into Round 1 is replacing No. 10 Sexton without much disruption to a back line that's come to rely heavily on the Leinster man's presence at times in the past.

Well, they also did a breakdown of the Irish team and **drum roll please***, Ireland are predicted to finish first according to The Scotsman, with reigning champions England in second.

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"I'm just having a look at the training session, the intensity of the session and how it ran and I was able to got to the team meeting before training. They'll have plays we haven't seen, we need to adapt to them".

"I thought the French were pretty good in November and obviously the Irish as well, and that is without even talking about the other three [teams]", he added referring to Wales, Scotland and Italy.

"When you come to a bigger squad, sometimes you are trying to finalise the last few players and you are looking at player personalities, characteristics and making sure that you pick the right guys in terms of fitting in". If we can get two wins, we'd consider that a pretty good Six Nations. Even Italy. But Ireland are better than them, in terms of results and performances over the previous year. The previous season, Ireland had 41per cent possession and 36 per cent territory at the half-way point, and led 20-10 en route to the 40-10 win which secured the title on Super Saturday.

Saturday's match will be a momentous contest in at least one respect as it will mark the arrival of the trial bonus-point system (extra points will be awarded to sides who score four tries and also who lose by seven points or less) in the Six Nations Championship.

"They (Ireland) only have strengths, with a very control-focused game plan". We're under no illusions that it's going to be a tough ask.

"We are still waiting for that game when everything clicks and we nail it, so it's a good opportunity against a team like Ireland to put in our best performance".

"New Zealanders are incredibly excited about the Lions". "They've been going really well".

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