Ireland v Scotland preview: Team news, kick-off time, line-ups and stats for the Six Nations clash
Ireland host Scotland in their RBS Six Nations finale on Saturday: 17:00 kick-off
Tommy O’Donnell replaces Josh van der Flier in Joe Schmidt’s only change from the side which beat Italy
Duncan Weir starts at fly-half for Scotland, deputising for Finn Russell, who was forced off early against France with concussion
For a Six Nations finale where neither the Championship nor Wooden Spoon are in play, there is a lot riding on Saturday’s clash in Dublin.
Scotland, fresh from ending their record-breaking run of losses with back to back wins over Italy than France, travel to Ireland to take on a team under Joe Schmidt, who need to bow out on a high.
For Vern Cotter’s men, the importance of this Aviva Stadium clash cannot be overstated, as they look to prove that their transformation from also-rans to genuine European heavyweights is real.
Tommy O’Donnell replaces Josh van der Flier in Ireland’s only change from the side which beat Italy.
Captain Rory Best will play after recovering from a minor calf problem.
Duncan Weir starts at fly-half for Scotland, deputising for Finn Russell, who was forced off early against France with concussion.
Peter Horne, who impressed after coming on for Russell, is again named as a replacement, while Ryan Wilson starts at number eight ahead of Josh Strauss.
Scotland’s third change sees Tim Swinson come in for lock Jonny Gray, who is sidelined by a torn pectoral muscle.
Ireland have beaten Scotland 13 times in 16 Six Nations fixtures.
Ireland’s 40-10 victory at Murrayfield last year equalled their biggest winning margin against the Scots (they won 36-6 at Murrayfield in 2003).
The Scots have lost eight of nine Tests away to Ireland since the turn of the century. Their sole victory was a 23-20 win at Croke Park in 2010.
Their last win at Lansdowne Road/Aviva Stadium was a 17-16 win in 1998.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Ireland: Jack McGrath
Since deservedly becoming Ireland’s first-choice loosehead, Jack McGrath has gone on to become one of Joe Schmidt’s most consistent performers.
Scotland: Stuart Hogg
Andy Nicol described Stuart Hogg as arguably the player of the Six Nations, and while that might be a stretch, he has certainly been a standout throughout the Championship. Playing with confidence, he is a lethal running threat, and with his long-range kicking, is crucial to the Scottish game plan.
2015: Ireland won 28-22 in Dublin
2015: Ireland won 40-10 at Murrayfield
2014: Ireland won 28-6 in Dublin
2013: Scotland won 12-8 at Murrayfield
2012: Ireland won 32-14 in Dublin
2011: Scotland won 10-6 at Murrayfield
2011: Ireland won 21-18 at Murrayfield
2010: Scotland won 23-20 in Dublin
Ireland: 15 Simon Zebo, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Jared Payne, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Tommy O’Donnell, 6 CJ Stander, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Donnacha Ryan, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Rory Best (c), 1 Jack McGrath
Replacements: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Nathan White, 19 Ultan Dillane, 20 Rhys Ruddock, 21 Eoin Reddan, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Fergus McFadden
Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Greig Laidlaw (c), 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 John Hardie, 6 John Barclay, 5 Tim Swinson, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Willem Nel, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Alasdair Dickinson
Replacements: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 Moray Low, 19 Rob Harley, 20 Josh Strauss, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Pete Horne, 23 Sean Lamont
Date: Saturday, March 19
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Kick-off: 17:00 GMT
Referee: Pascal Gauzère (France)
Assistant referees: Craig Joubert (South Africa), Alexandre Ruiz (France)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)