Ireland focusing on revenge mission against Scotland


Andrew Porter insists Ireland’s desire to atone for last season’s defeat to Scotland will quell any Grand Slam talk.

Ireland dismissed Wales 37-27 in Dublin on Saturday for their third straight win in this year’s NatWest 6 Nations.

Victories over Scotland in Dublin and England at Twickenham would seal Ireland’s first Grand Slam in nine years – but front-rower Porter believes Joe Schmidt’s men will easily avoid any such thoughts.

Scotland toppled Ireland 27-22 in the first round of last year’s competition, where head coach Schmidt later bemoaned the team bus arriving 15 minutes late to Murrayfield.

Porter admitted the lingering frustrations around that loss will prove Ireland’s biggest motivation heading into hosting Scotland at the Aviva Stadium on March 10.

“We owe them one from last year,” said Porter, of Ireland’s loss to Scotland in Edinburgh in 2017.

“So we have to make these home games count, especially this one coming up.

“We’ll take our learnings from this Wales game and start to focus on that.

“We can’t be looking ahead to a Grand Slam, but that’s obviously the ultimate goal. We’ll have to take the game as it comes.

“And it won’t be too difficult to put any other thoughts aside when we look back on last year’s defeat to Scotland.”

Scotland’s 25-13 triumph over England in Edinburgh on Saturday evening has put paid to any chance of a Grand Slam decider between Ireland and Eddie Jones’ men in London on March 17.

Ireland can still set up a possible title battle with the English and move a step closer to the Grand Slam themselves, however, by seeing off Scotland in their next Six Nations clash.

Leinster prop Porter has only made the switch from loosehead to tighthead prop in the last two years, but has quickly excelled in his new task.

The 22-year-old performed impressively on his full Six Nations debut against Wales, stepping in for British and Irish Lions star Tadhg Furlong, who was missing with hamstring trouble.

“There were a lot of doubts at the very beginning,” said Porter, of his switch from loosehead to tighthead.

“But it’s a bit clearer now, so I’m happy with that.

“It’s been a bit up and down from the very beginning. The more games we’re getting, the more experience we get, especially getting my first start here.

“Even with Leinster, just getting more and more minutes is helping me with my development.

“That was a very physical game, but we knew what was coming from the Welsh and it’s great we got the win and the bonus point.

“Obviously it’s big boots to fill coming in for Tadhg Furlong but the coaches and players have given me confidence throughout the last few weeks.

“I thought I went all right and I’ll hope to build on that for the next game.”

– PA


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