Scotland v Ireland: Win or bust for Irish in Six Nations Championship defence against Scots

Disappointed Irish players
Disappointed Irish players

With the hopes of a back-to-back Grand Slam Six Nations success gone at the first hurdle, Ireland must win at Murrayfield on Saturday if they are to maintain hopes of retaining the Championship admitted scrum coach Greg Feek.

A 32-20 loss at home against England has left the Irish smarting and under pressure to produce a performance this weekend that gets them the win they need to get back on track.

“One hundred per cent it’s a must win (this week),” said Feek. “You don’t survive in this sort of environment if you can’t handle the pressure, you almost have to look at it, hold onto it and run with it and that’s all part of it.

“These guys can go through a lot of emotions and sometimes you don’t know what they’re thinking and you just try to help with that preparation as best you can but also that adversity side of things sometimes needs to be thrown in there as well.”

Murrayfield represents another psychological hurdle for Ireland, who have lost on two of their last three visits to Edinburgh.

Their 2015 victory was followed by a triumphant trophy presentation inside the half-full stadium several hours later after England failed to overhaul their points difference.

But Ireland’s 2017 championship prospects infamously unravelled in the opening round when their team bus was delayed on the streets of the Scottish capital.

“You do learn from what happened but you also learn how you handled that and there’s always going to be things in preparation for games that can come up,” Feek said of the bus debacle.

“It taught us a few things, ok we don’t want to let that happen again, but there are some things that are out of your control.

“That’s a matter of being able to stay calm and still try and hit the road running and mentally prepare to be in a position that, no matter what happens, we can still turn up and play the game we want to play,” he added.