Six Nations: Scotland plan to focus on the basics for Ireland clash

Last Updated: 19/02/13 6:12pm

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Sean Lamont runs in one of Scotland's four tries in the win over Italy

Sean Lamont runs in one of Scotland's four tries in the win over Italy

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Scotland will focus even more on getting the basics right when they face Ireland, according to coach Duncan Hodge.

Scotland ran in four tries in a clinical win against Italy in their second Six Nations encounter to kick-start their campaign, following a crushing defeat by England in the opener.

Head coach Scott Johnson emphasised that it was a 'back-to-basics' approach that paid off so handsomely against the Azzurri.

And Hodge, who is now a full-time member of Scott Johnson's backroom staff, believes the rugby fundamentals will be even more important when Ireland visit Murrayfield on Sunday.

The former Scotland fly-half said: "It makes a big difference to get a win in front of your home crowd and score some tries and defend well.

"There is a lot of things that we have put in place over the last few weeks, pre-England game as well, that came to fruition in that game.

"By no means are we saying that is perfect, no question, because there was a lot of deficiencies there that we need to improve on if we are going to beat Ireland.

"We are trying to identify the key components of winning Test-match rugby. A lot of the times we go back to possibly very basic things. The higher the level you go, the basics become even more important. That's been the common theme."
Duncan Hodge

"We are trying to identify the key components of winning Test-match rugby. A lot of the times we go back to possibly very basic things. The higher the level you go, the basics become even more important. That's been the common theme.

"It's putting a whole load of things in place and everything goes into one melting pot. If you get some aspects right, it helps other aspects of your game."

Irish crisis

Ireland face a selection crisis with Gordon D'Arcy, Simon Zebo, Mike McCarthy and Jonathan Sexton all ruled out on Sunday through injury.

Paul O'Connell, Stephen Ferris and Tommy Bowe have been missing all championship, while Cian Healy has been suspended for stamping on England's Dan Cole.

But Hodge does not expect the challenge to be diluted despite the Irish absentees, adding: "Ireland are a very direct side and they will come at us really hard.

"They have a great set of forwards and some world-class backs so they are a very good all-round team. We have got to respect Ireland, they are an incredibly good team."

Scotland appear to be building an exciting team of their own, with Tim Visser notching five tries in his first seven internationals and fellow wing Sean Maitland scoring one and setting up two in his first two caps.

Hodge said: "We've got some really good players and if we get chances, hopefully we can take them.

"We have got to make sure we get the basics right and we get possession and we are all individually doing our jobs so that we can give some of these guys the chance to show how good they are.

"We have been lucky so far that we have taken a couple of chances and scored a couple of tries."

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