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Ireland a ‘different beast’ for buoyant Scotland in Six Nations clash

Sean Maitland scored crucial tries in both the wins over France and England
AFP

Edinburgh (AFP) – Wing Sean Maitland says Ireland in Dublin will be a “different beast” despite the confidence generated by Scotland’s win against England as they seek to improve their miserable away form in the Six Nations.

Gregor Townsend’s side are on a high after their 25-13 victory over Eddie Jones’s team at Murrayfield last month, which lifted them third in the table.

But while they are formidable at home, Scotland are without a win away from home in the tournament, outside of Italy, since beating Ireland in 2010.

And Maitland, who scored in the win over England, understands how big a challenge they face when they travel to Dublin on Saturday, with table-toppers Ireland chasing the Grand Slam.

“We can take a lot of confidence from the last game, but we know it’s a different beast,” he said. “Everyone’s been talking about our away form but we’re not resting on our laurels.

“There was a bit of an edge to our training yesterday, from the whole squad, the whole 42 players. That’s going to help us massively this week.”

Scotland’s away struggles were harshly exposed in their opening 34-7 thumping by Wales, and the Saracens winger thinks that has given a false impression of the real situation.

“I wouldn’t say we struggle. Obviously we were really disappointed about that first game but this team went over to Australia and beat them away in Sydney and that’s not even a year ago, said Maitland.

“It’s more that our Six Nations away form is not the best, but it’s a fresh week, and there’s a real edge about the boys this week.”

Scotland skills coach Mike Blair welcomed the competition for places after 10 players joined the squad on Monday.

“Having that slightly larger squad enables you to look at different players and get a better insight,” he said.

“It makes a really interesting selection meeting when you have guys coming back from injury up against new guys in great form.”

Looking ahead to the prospect of facing unbeaten Ireland in Dublin, he added: “We need to put them under pressure, something we were able to do against England in different ways but it is a lot more difficult to win away from home.”

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