Scotland need to get much tougher, warns winger Tim Visser ahead of Ireland clash
FREE-SCORING Scotland must brush up on the dirtier side of their game before they can claim to be true RBS 6 Nations challengers, wing Tim Visser has warned.
The Edinburgh back has been a key component of a Dark Blue attack that leads the way in terms of championship tries so far.
The Scots notched up two touchdowns in their opening-day defeat to England before running in another four in their 34-10 success over Italy last time out.
But both games gave cause for concern at the breakdown as Scotland struggled to develop quick ball to their pacy runners.
Now Visser has urged his team-mates to stiffen their resolve in the tackle if they are to mount a credible challenge to the Six Nations title.
The Dutch-born player, who has along with fellow wing Sean Maitland and full-back Stuart Hogg contributed four tries as part of a potent back three, said: "It's a vast improvement from where we have been in the past in terms of finishing.
"It's good to see that right across the back three but it is perhaps disguising where we are as a team.
"We need to look at the fundamentals of our game. We need to look at the tackle contests, our defence, our breakdown. Those are all important areas we need to improve on.
"We are making up for that by scoring tries, which is never a bad thing, but to become a more better side we need to look at those fundamentals.
"But the Italy performance was a good first step. We scored a lot of tries and the scoreboard looked brilliant.
"However, against some of the other teams in the Six Nations, we will get it a lot tougher and if we don't get these fundamentals right, we won't be able to score those tries."
Ireland visit Murrayfield this Sunday looking to extend a run of victories that stretches back to their only Edinburgh defeat of the Six Nations-era in 2001.
Visser, though, is unconcerned by what the record books say.
"The past is the past," he said. "We can't do anything about that. A lot of the players in this squad were not in those sides. Whatever happened in the past has nothing to do with what we can do in the future."
The Ireland side that runs out in the Scottish capital will, however, bear little resemblance to the team which pushed England close in a 12-6 defeat in Dublin.
Declan Kidney, the Irish coach, has made five changes to his starting line-up as a result of injury and suspension but Visser insists the quality of Scotland`s opposition will remain high.
He said: "Whatever Ireland side is going to be out there, it will be full of passion.
"Traditionally, they like Murrayfield. They like coming over here. They are a good team, no matter who plays, so we are not looking at it like a weakened side is facing us.
"Ireland will be very physical. The first 20 minutes will be hell on earth.
"They are going to unleash everything they have against us. If we can ride out that first 20 minutes then we are in with a chance. It's very important we get off to a good start."
Five defeats in last year`s competition earned Scotland the Wooden Spoon but the win over Italy has at least eased fears of another barren campaign.
However, with only France yet to register a victory after two rounds of this year`s event, Scotland could yet end up bottom of the pile, Visser warned.
Looking further up the standings, therefore, has become imperative.
He said: "Looking at the table, a lot of teams have now picked up a win, so the tournament is now winnable with a loss, but you can also end up bottom of the table with a win.
"It's very important that we now move on to the Ireland game.
"Do we believe the tournament is winnable? Well I do, otherwise I wouldn't play for Scotland.
"Most of us are very optimistic. We all believe in Scotland and believe in each other.
"Realistically we have not set any targets. Coming on the back of the Autumn internationals and those three losses (to New Zealand, South Africa and Tonga), we need to be realistic and take it one game at a time."