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Kearney returns from injury for Scotland clash

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Greig Laidlaw and Stuart Hogg testing the winds at Murrayfield yesterday

However, injury has ruled the 25-year-old out altogether.

Scotland beat Ireland 27-22 at Murrayfield in 2017, but have lost five of their last six meetings home and away.

The former flanker added: "The Scottish coaching team and players will be well aware of that so Scotland have got to be ferocious and got to be in the face of Ireland. But Finn always seems to rise to the occasion".

The big challenge for Ireland now in 2019 will to be attempt to create history as the first side to lift the Webb Ellis trophy after losing the first game of a World Cup year.

Scotland survived a late rally from Italy to claim a 33-20 victory in their Six Nations opener at Murrayfield last Saturday in which they defended poorly in the final quarter, but Laidlaw says they will not stray from their attacking style of rugby. Ireland said O'Brien's workload was being managed. "The beast within you wants to put it right and that's what we have to go and do this week".

"Scotland are benefitting from Glasgow and Edinburgh playing confident fast-flowing rugby and if they can produce that tempo and play at 100% they have a really good chance of beating anyone on their day despite having a smaller pool of players to choose from", said Pountney.

"It's about the Six Nations at the minute". "We won't really deviate from that, but we've got to be smart about the times when we play".

The injuries have forced Schmidt into changes, with Rob Kearney starting at full-back and Chris Farrell coming in at outside centre, while Quinn Roux replaces Toner in the second-row and Jack Conan comes in at No.8 in Stander's place. "We can't be chasing things and trying to get instant results".

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