Scotland Club XV coach Phil Smith has urged his players to go out and make history in Cork tonight by winning two out of two matches for the first time.
After hammering England Counties 57-27 at Netherdale last month, the Scottish club select now have their sights set on defending the Dalriada Cup against their Irish counterparts.
“It would be great and that’s what we are now going to focus on,” said Smith, who took charge of a training session early in the week before flying out to Ireland’s south coast yesterday.
“The motivation of the first game was that we were playing England and now it is can we get two from two because that’s not been done. I think we are in a great position to do it.”
Smith has kept faith with the bulk of the squad which performed with such panache in Galashiels, although Jason Hill misses out with injury and Melrose’s Edinburgh Academy prospect Lewis Carmichael comes into the second row, with Jack Turley shifting to back row.
“Lewis is a top player, a really good middle row,” said Smith. “He was unavailable for the first game as he was coming back from injury so, timing wise, with Jason dropping out, it has fitted in perfectly.”
The Scots won 23-18 at Netherdale last year and Smith is expecting a similar standard of Irish team tonight. He said: “It’s a lot of the same names in the Ireland team as last year. They’ll be abrasive and physical so we have to be prepared for that.”
If the Scots can reproduce the speed and tempo they showcased last month they will be tough to stop. “It would be as simple as that,” said the coach. “If we can get that same quality of ball and play at that speed, and our error count is as low, we’ll be dangerous.”
Scotland club XV (to play Ireland Club XV at Temple Hill, Cork, tonight, 7:30pm): F Thomson (Melrose); S Pecquer (Melrose), R Curle (Ayr, capt), B McGroarty (Glasgow Hawks), J Edmunds (Boroughmuir); L Armstrong (Hawick), P Boyer (Glasgow Hawks); G Hunter (Ayr), R Graham (Hawick), N Beavon (Melrose), R McAlpine (Ayr), L Carmichael (Melrose), J Turley (Heriot’s), W Bordill (Ayr), P McCallum (Ayr). Subs: M Liness (Heriot’s), A Hamilton (Heriot’s), J Bhatti (Melrose), R Nimmo (Heriot’s), N Irvine-Hess (Melrose), G Graham (Gala), C Ferguson (Heriot’s), H Elms (Currie).