Friday 14 December 2018

'Ireland are a different beast to England' - Scotland have upped training intensity ahead of Dublin showdown

Sean Maitland, Scotland
Sean Maitland, Scotland

Will Jackson

Taking on Ireland in Dublin will be a "different beast" for Scotland despite their Calcutta Cup heroics, according to Sean Maitland.

Gregor Townsend's side are on a high after a brilliant victory over England last time out proved their title credentials in the NatWest 6 Nations, showing they are capable of winning on the big stage.

Lots had been made of a perceived fragility in the big matches within the Scotland ranks and the win proved they are a side to be seriously considered, but they now must prove their mettle away from home.

BT Murrayfield continues to be something of a fortress for Scotland, but their away form has been far less impressive, with just six wins on the road in the entire Six Nations.

And Maitland, who scored in the win over England, understands how big a challenge they face when they travel to Dublin on Saturday.

"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."

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

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Maitland said: "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.

"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.

"We're working hard. We know the challenge ahead and we need to up every aspect of our game."

While the Scotland camp is still on a high after the England victory, they must guard against complacency and Maitland admits they have to up their game against Ireland, who still harbour hopes of a Grand Slam win.

"It was good to see the boys again and it (camp) was still buzzing, from the game," he said. "But yesterday (Monday) we did the lessons, saw a lot to improve on.

"We're still looking to get that extra five per cent, because it's an even bigger challenge this weekend."

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