Kiss warns Ireland not to underestimate Johnson’s men

Ireland's assistant coach Les Kiss
Ireland's assistant coach Les Kiss
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Ireland assistant coach Les Kiss believes Scott Johnson will have carefully plotted Scotland’s RBS Six Nations assault in Dublin.

Kiss has warned Ireland not to underestimate the Scots, just because incoming head coach Vern Cotter does not arrive until the summer.

Kiss believes larger-than-life Australian Johnson has mapped out Scotland’s long-term plans, including spanning the season without Clermont boss Cotter.

Johnson will step into the rugby director role when Cotter arrives in the summer.

Former Crusaders coach Cotter was meant to join Scotland last summer, but the SRU would not finalise his early release from Clermont.

That led to suggestions Scotland’s plans had to be hurriedly rearranged, but Kiss has warned Ireland to expect a well-drilled, combative outfit at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday.

“Johnno’s planned it that way so he can integrate on a bit-by-bit basis,” said Kiss.

“But I think Johnno’s running the ship overall so it will be interesting to see how it comes out. What happens in the summer has no bearing on what happens now.

“You can’t afford to look at the big picture in this tournament. It’s the same with our players: they are too smart to know that if you start talking about the back-end of the tournament, that won’t really rub with them.

“The only future they are interested in is the week ahead of us. Scotland are a great scrambling team, they play with tenacity and aggression.

“It’s a great championship, but this is a Test match in its own right and that’s all that’s in front of us now.