Saturday 20 December 2014

Beattie targets more of the same against Ireland

Gavin McCafferty

Published 11/02/2013 | 15:11

SCOTLAND forward Johnnie Beattie expects to face a more subtle attacking force when Ireland visit Murrayfield - but sees no reason why the same defensive display cannot produce similar results to their emphatic win over Italy.

 

Beattie and his team-mates resolutely repelled spells of Italian pressure until Alessandro Vanni crossed for a late consolation try in Scotland's 34-10 victory on Saturday, when Sergio Parisse's reverse pass finally cut the hosts open following a scrum.

 

Scotland were generally on the front foot in the first half though and their 22-metre line was rarely breached.

 

And when questions were asked after the 50-minute mark, the Scottish defence found a compactness and determination lacking in the opening defeat by England.

 

The victory sent Scotland into second place in the RBS 6 Nations table behind the English and interim head coach Scott Johnson declared they were in the mix for the title following the game.

 

Beattie believes Scotland can mount a challenge if they repeat such a positive display against the Irish on February 24.

 

"Everyone is in it, it's a very open championship," the Montpellier number eight told Press Association Sport.

 

"So there is absolutely no reason why not.

 

"The next challenge is very different with Ireland around the corner, but we are looking forward to taking it on and seeing how far we can go.

 

"The Irish team's attack is very different, there is maybe a bit more subtlety.

 

"There will be different types of test but if we can get our line speed, get off the line and chop people the way we did against Italy, there is absolutely no reason why we can't replicate what we did on Saturday.

 

"The Italian forward pack is an absolute juggernaut so to defend in the manner we did and to hold them out was fantastic."

 

Scotland have been guilty of passing up try-scoring chances in recent years but they were clinical on Saturday with Tim Visser, Matt Scott, Stuart Hogg and Sean Lamont all crossing.

 

Beattie said: "A lot of things came from scraps and it was great to see Sean Lamont and Hogg run the length with the pace we now have in our back field. Any scraps seem to be getting finished off."

 

Beattie came back into the Scotland fold at Twickenham after an 18-month absence but to return to winning ways at Murrayfield was a huge lift for the former Glasgow player.

 

"There's no real replacement and when you get a reaction like that from supporters after a win like that, it's the best feeling in the world," he said.

 

"That's what you want to replicate every week. There is nothing more difficult than losing so the reaction we had was absolutely fantastic and we are looking forward to more."

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