Wednesday 24 January 2018

Paterson calm ahead of Ireland clash

Full-back Chris Paterson will win his 102nd cap on Sunday and experience tells him Scotland are in control of their own fate in the RBS 6 Nations clash with Ireland.

Scotland are chasing a first win of the tournament after losses to France and Wales, the latter arguably the worst performance of head coach Andy Robinson's 18-month reign.

But victories over Australia, Ireland, Argentina (twice), world champions South Africa and Samoa suggest Scotland are capable of turning the momentum and upsetting the visitors at Murrayfield on Sunday.

"We all know how disappointed everyone was after the Welsh game, the players are more disappointed than anyone," Paterson told Press Association Sport.

"The feeling of deflation, the feeling of letting people down and that was seven days after an encouraging performance against France.

"We think about the last game - that has to be put right - but if you look over the 18 months there have been a lot of good results.

"If the performance is right, the result will be right."

The 32-year-old Edinburgh full-back will be making his first Six Nations appearance since suffering kidney damage while winning his 100th cap against Wales 12 months ago, having only featured as a replacement in the November win over South Africa in the intervening period.

But Scotland's most-capped player, who has scored 752 points, including 22 tries, continues to look to the future and experienced the same emotions on learning of his inclusion as he did on making his debut in 1999.

Paterson, who will resume kicking duties on Sunday, added: "It was important for me to get back into the side after that (the kidney injury).

"This is my first start but that's all in the past.

"It's a huge sense of pride, a huge sense of excitement and I'm looking forward to it.

"It never changes, in fact I think it only intensifies.

"I feel as I've always felt, which is a huge responsibility to perform and I'll commit myself totally and utterly to doing that."

Paterson was one of seven changes to the starting XV named by Robinson on Wednesday.

And he is the only member of the squad to have experienced Six Nations victory over Ireland at Murrayfield.

Scotland recorded their second win in 11 Six Nations meetings with Ireland in Dublin last season and Paterson hopes that will impact on the visitors on Sunday.

He added: "It was such a long time since we beat Ireland there will probably be a renewed respect for the guys that played in that game.

"Ireland are a quality side. They're used to winning at Murrayfield - they haven't lost here (in the Six Nations) since 2001.

"The spine of the team that has gone through the decade without losing here is the spine of the team that will be here on Sunday.

"It's a huge challenge, but we concentrate on ourselves.

"If we get our game right we're in control of it.

"It's deal with what's in front of you and commit yourself utterly to the performance."

Paterson believes the changes, which see Mike Blair and Ruaridh Jackson come in at half-back, Sean Lamont at inside centre and Moray Low, Richie Gray and Johnnie Beattie in the pack will have an impact.

He added: "We're not a bad side, there are a few changes which will make some difference.

"In training it was more disorganised at the start of the week as the guys found their feet, but that's the purpose of training.

"There's a new-look midfield (Jackson, Lamont and Nick De Luca), but that's what training is for and we're excited for the game.

"We're expecting a big performance on Sunday and to put right our wrongs from the Wales game."

Press Association

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