Ireland will attempt a return to winning ways in Edinburgh this Saturday with the challenge of handling the pressure that comes in the wake of their Guinness Six Nations mauling by England.
The 2018 Grand Slam winners and world number two side were handed a chastening reality check at the hands of a rampant English side in Dublin last weekend, with assistant coach Greg Feek yesterday embracing the experience as an opportunity to learn more about the character of the Ireland squad in the face of adversity by claiming the trip to Murrayfield was a must-win game.
“100 per cent, it’s a must-win,” scrum coach Feek said. “You don’t survive in this environment if you can’t handle the pressure. You’ve almost got to look at it, hold on to it and run with it. That’s all part of it.
“These guys go through a lot of emotions, you don’t know what they’re thinking. You just try and help with that preparation as best you can.”
That a confident and improving Scotland on home soil represents a considerable examination of Ireland’s credentials in their own right only heightens the size of the task, particularly for Feek’s set-piece unit.
“I think if you look at Edinburgh and Glasgow, they’ve been competing really well (at club level). Edinburgh’s forward’s have gone really well and they are a unit. They seem to be hungry to want to win. They are well drilled and obviously well coached, and that’s where we just can’t keep looking back. It’s like, ‘hang on a minute, we’ve got Scotland coming up’, and they’ve been going well and their teams have been going well.
“A lot of their combinations are a pretty easy fit as well, so we know what’s coming.”