Wary Andrew Trimble seeks to swot up on Scotland

The smiles are back and the spring has returned to players’ steps but Ireland wing Andrew Trimble fears that Scotland might be in the mood to rain on his side’s end-of-season parade this Saturday evening.

Wary Andrew Trimble seeks to swot up on Scotland

The clouds that hung over the Ireland camp during a frustrating 2016 Six Nations campaign were lifted last weekend when Joe Schmidt’s side let rip to punish a woefully poor Italy with a nine-try show in a 56-15 hammering at the Aviva Stadium.

Yet with a victory finally in the win column, try-scorer Trimble is only too aware that the resurgent Scots could ensure it remains the only entry as they arrive in Dublin with optimism soaring following a first defeat of France in a decade last Sunday.

Ireland are not short of confidence themselves but they know a tough challenge lies ahead.

“Big time,” Trimble agreed. “There’s a little bit of a spring in our step. But at the same time we’re very aware that Italy will be very disappointed with their performance and obviously they had a good few injuries there that really upset their flow as well.

“So it’s going to be a big step up for Scotland. We’re just trying to get that balance of being pleased, getting our confidence back, and playing some rugby, but at the same time we have to increase our accuracy, defensively we have to improve a couple of things as well, and step up for Scotland.”

Trimble believes Vern Cotter’s squad, which were one bad refereeing decision from a World Cup quarter-final victory over Australia last October, are the best Scotland team he has faced in the 31-year-old’s decade as a Test player.

“From my point of view, yeah, definitely, they’ve strengths all over the park, they’re very well organised, Vern Cotter’s done an unbelievable job with them and they’re a big, big threat,” said Trimble.

“Obviously, they’ve got the big, big win over France last weekend and I don’t think that really surprised anybody, the rugby they were playing, they were more than capable of beating France and it was no surprise, really. They’ll come to Dublin with their tails up and they’re going to be a handful so we’ve plenty of homework to do this week.”

Trimble said he was daunted by the workload involved in trying to deal with Scotland’s threats.

“They seem a little bit more structured and a little bit more organised. They’re very, very physical at the breakdown, they compete for everything — we’re going to have to be very accurate there.

“They have a decent bit of (defensive) line speed as well. Going up on edge, any long passes, boys are just going to be smashed so we just have to be smart about how we do things.

“Their backfield cover is quite organised as well. I find it a little bit daunting how much work we have to do when Joe’s taking us through all the strengths they have and all the bullet points that we need to be aware of. There’s a lot of stuff there and we’ve a lot of work to do,” he said.

The anxiety levels indicate this is no meaningless game or Six Nations dead rubber as far as the players are concerned.

“I think there will be a lot of people looking on thinking it’s not that big a game, but certainly from our point of view, it’s the difference between coming third and coming fifth and that’s a pretty significant difference,” said Trimble.

“For us, really, coming fifth isn’t acceptable. Obviously, we want to finish higher than third but at this point that’s what we’re playing for and we’ve got to go out there and try and get that. So it is very significant, this game, even though to a lot of people it wouldn’t seem that way.”

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