IRELAND ARE DOWN, but they are far from out.
By the time Brian O’Driscoll begins his 123rd appearance on Sunday there may be no Grand Slam contenders left.
Ireland and Scotland can duke it out for the right to join two other teams on four points.
Much has been made of Scott Johnson’s newly inventive side; scoring six tries in their two outings so far – many through clinical attacks off turnover ball.
O’Driscoll, however, has the confidence of a man who has won in Edinburgh many times before. So rather than talk up the opposition, he stressed the importance of believing in Ireland’s own game-plan.
“We’ve combined looking at where we can improve, along with where they’ve been strong.” O’Driscoll said as he sat relaxed in the squad’s Maynooth base.
“There is a balance there, but definitely first and foremost: you have to play your game. It’s not about soaking up pressure and hitting teams on the counter-attack. It’s not like soccer in that regard.
“You have to be able to implement your own game in our sport, you have to be able to go after teams. It’s what we’ll do this week, it’s what we’ve concentrated on and it’s business as usual.”
The 2013 edition of the world’s oldest international tournament has already given Ireland a full spectrum of emotions and experiences. They have been, rampant, under the cosh, dominant in possession and gasping for air as they moved through a seemingly endless set of tackles.
Against England; they dominated possession, kept the try-line clean, but lost. In Wales, the defence rattled and shook, but there were enough bodies on the line to hold the red tide at bay. Just.
“Wales were flagging when we got on top of them in the first half and we vice versa in the second half.” O’Driscoll added.
“It’s about trying to play keep-ball, but at the same time play a smart game; balancing things up.
“If things aren’t on, kick for space or kick to contest. But play when you can play.
“Everything comes down to (this): It’s a very simple game when you get your breakdown right, So that will be another target this week.”