What Scotland's press is saying ahead of the Ireland match

Two sides go head to head in the Six Nations opener on Saturday

BY Raf Diallo 15:38 Thursday 2 February 2017, 15:38 2 Feb 2017

©INPHO/Billy Stickland

If Jim Telfer's words are anything to go by, there is a burgeoning sense of confidence around Scottish rugby leading into the 2017 Six Nations.

Ahead of Ireland's opening game against the Scots on Saturday, the ex-Lions and Scotland head coach told Off The Ball that, "the press here have been very upbeat and it gets through to the players and the fact that we did reasonably well in the Autumn Series - nearly beat the Australians, but we didn't - the players have emboldened themselves, I think, that they can beat Ireland."

So what have their newspapers and pundits been saying about their own team and Ireland as the Six Nations closes in?

Edinburgh based daily, The Scotsman did a breakdown of the Scotland team and they believe that if the pack can gain some traction, then their talented back line could do damage to opposition sides. Indeed, they eloquently state that "the back line has more threats than a Mafia wise guy". 

And intriguingly they predict the Scots finishing third in the Six Nations which means that on paper they will finish above one of either Ireland, England or Wales. So what are they predicting for Ireland?

Well, they also did a breakdown of the Irish team and **drum roll please***, Ireland are predicted to finish first according to The Scotsman, with reigning champions England in second.

However, in terms of concerns, they feel Jared Payne will be a "big loss" and seem to question the merits of including Tommy Bowe, implying that it's based on past form. They also question the impact Keith Earls and Andrew Trimble may have. 

The Herald meanwhile highlights Scotland's increased depth, with senior sportswriter Stuart Bathgate lauding the extra options the team now has in comparison to some recent years. He concludes that, "The resources are there all right, and the potential is massive".

With Jonathan Sexton missing out for Ireland at Murrayfield, The Herald's respect for the Leinster man is evident by their consistent use of the word "linchpin" fly half or playmaker when describing him in articles

Elsewhere, The Daily Record's Gordon Parks feels this Six Nations is Scotland's chance for a "return of glory days" and he is cautiously optimistic about their chances of getting one over on Ireland based on a passage that runs thus: "Already the  optimists are believing a win over a side who beat the All Blacks three months ago isn’t beyond our reach. This time they may actually be right." 

But ultimately he does feel that Ireland are the most likely challengers to Six Nations favourites England when it comes to the championship.  

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