Josh Strauss believes Vern Cotter's impending departure will provide added motivation for Scotland to have a successful Six Nations. Kearney will want to prove the punters wrong.
So what have their newspapers and pundits been saying about their own team and Ireland as the Six Nations closes in?
Despite labouring at times, Wales equalled their best autumn record by November's end with victories over Argentina, Japan and South Africa - but the disappointing defeat to Australia and the manner of those wins leaves many anxious that this could be a Six Nations campaign to forget. "Teams beat the All Blacks rarely but beating them with 40 points.that's something". "My first cap for Ireland was against Italy that year, and pulling on that green jersey is just an indescribable feeling".
November fifth 2016 was the greatest day in the history of Irish rugby.
Twice a World Cup victor and three times World Rugby Player of the Year, McCaw was in London to promote the Leicester Square premiere of the film Chasing Great, a documentary of his final season in the black jersey. This picture would leave you in little doubt why Ireland didn't have much territory or possession in the game. To be a truly great team, Ireland need to build on their performances and be consistent in their victories.
Despite those two key absentees, Ireland's win over New Zealand last November showcased their quality and when you have a back-row of CJ Stander's quality alongside a host of experienced Lions in your team, you are going to be optimistic of winning the tournament. I was training for the Six Nations in January 2010, so in the space of six months I went from playing for club, to province, to Ireland.
WATCH: Are Ireland genuine Grand Slam contenders? "I was lucky enough to sit down for a lunch with Joe and have a good chat, which was pretty beneficial". No Peter O'Mahony either, another hugely influential player for Ireland over the last couple of years.
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. Most of the Irish team can compete for a place, but Furlong, Jack McGrath, Toner, Stander, O'Brien, Heaslip, Murray and Henshaw are nearly confirmed a place, with Best one of the main candidates for captaining the tour. This will be the first Six Nations with bonus points for scoring four or more tries or losing by small margins (seven or fewer).
As for the players involved, those from the home nations have the most to play for with the spectre of the Lions looming on the horizon, particularly those on the fringes who can take advantage of the injuries suffered by front line stars. Wales should overcome Italy. They start against France on Saturday looking to make it 15 games unbeaten, 14 coming under Jones.
- Ireland have recorded more wins (61) and scored more tries (220) against Scotland than any other nation.
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