Stockdale double as Ireland claim bonus-point win over Scotland


Stockdale double as Ireland claim bonus-point win over Scotland

When quizzed on the chance of securing a third title in five years this weekend, Best added: "For us, it's only about the challenge that Scotland pose, if you look at how they've been evolving, they've put together some very, very good performances".

Scotland matched their hosts for much of the first half but Ulster flyer Stockdale went over twice in the first half, the second on the stroke of halftime as Ireland went in 14-3 ahead.

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend believes his side will have to improve on their impressive Calcutta Cup win if they are to spring another Six Nations surprise by beating table-toppers Ireland in Dublin on Saturday.

"We must make sure we don't let any distractions catch us", Best said after the captain's run at Lansdowne Road on Friday.

Scotland have won just two games outside of Edinburgh and Rome since the tournament was expanded to six team the following year and opened the current campaign with a 34-7 hammering from Wales.

Scotland has lost 16 of its last 18 away matches in the championship.

"I was talking to our physio the other day and he said he was ordering in more ice bags for Dublin".

Former Leinster boss Schmidt clearly expanded Ireland's gameplan in a busy autumn schedule however, where scrum-half Conor Murray often appeared in the fly-half channels, allowing Sexton to direct play from wider areas. France got the better of England in this respect, with openside flanker Camara winning some key penalties while also showing his athleticism and strong ball-carrying ability in open play.

"And then obviously defensively we're going to have to link up very well".

"Ultimately, the teams that do well in this competition have to do well away from home", he said.

Should England manage that feat, which given Ireland's struggles in Paris, if far from a guarantee, a huge amount would still have to go their way next weekend in Twickenham.

While a Grand Slam is the only thing that will matter this week, and a Championship will be little consolation in the short term should they fail, the achievement of another title should not be overlooked.

Joe Schmidt strongly defended his attacking blueprint after recent criticism about Ireland's style of play.

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