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Saturday, 10 March 2012






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The big Celtic Clash Ireland vs Scotland

The two Celtic rivals Ireland and Scotland will clash out on Super Saturday amd the crowds are expected to witness a stunning exhibition of hard bone crunching tackless,stunning tries and breath taking skills. Ulster hooker Rory Best will captain Ireland in Saturday's Six Nations clash with Scotland, having overcome a rib injury to deputize for Paul O'Connell.The 29-year-old will lead his country for the third time - after taking the armband against the USA and Canada in 2009 - after O'Connell was ruled out for the rest of the tournament with a knee problem.

The lock's place in the side has been taken by his Munster team-mate Donnacha Ryan, with Connacht's Mike McCarthy stepping onto the bench.Leinster's Eoin Reddan has been promoted to start at scrum-half following an injury to Conor Murray, with Tomas O'Leary returning to the international fray among the replacements.Leinster flanker Sean O'Brien has also been named in the starting line-up despite some fears over his fitness, while Keith Earls and Donncha O'Callaghan will also be monitored after missing training with knocks following last weekend's draw with France.

Ireland: R Kearney (Leinster); T Bowe (Ospreys), K Earls (Munster), G D'Arcy (Leinster), A Trimble (Ulster); J Sexton (Leinster), E Reddan (Leinster); C Healy (Leinster), R Best (Ulster, capt), M Ross (Leinster), D O'Callaghan (Munster), D Ryan (Munster), S Ferris (Ulster), S O'Brien (Leinster), J Heaslip (Leinster).

Replacements: S Cronin (Leinster), T Court (Ulster), M McCarthy (Connacht), P O'Mahony (Munster), T O'Leary (Munster), R O'Gara (Munster), F McFadden (Leinster)

Scotland have made one change to their starting line up. Nick de Luca comes in to the XV with Sean Lamont switching to the wing in place of his injured brother Rory.Andy Robinson has opted to shuffle his pack on the bench with Euan Murray, Ruaridh Jackson and Max Evans coming into the replacements in place of Ed Kalman, Duncan Weir and De Luca respectively.

Scotland: S Hogg (Glasgow Warriors), L Jones (Edinburgh Rugby), N De Luca (Edinburgh Rugby), G Morrison (Glasgow Warriors), S Lamont (Scarlets), G Laidlaw (Edinburgh Rugby), M Blair (Edinburgh Rugby); A Jacobsen (Edinburgh Rugby), R Ford (Edinburgh Rugby, capt), G Cross (Edinburgh Rugby), R Gray (Glasgow Warriors), J Hamilton (Gloucester) J Barclay (Glasgow Warriors), R Rennie (Edinburgh Rugby), D Denton (Edinburgh Rugby)

Replacements: S Lawson (Gloucester), E Murray (Newcastle Falcons) A Kellock (Glasgow Warriors), R Vernon (Sale Sharks) C Cusiter (Glasgow Warriors), R Jackson (Glasgow Warriors), M Evans (Castres)

Referee: C Pollock (NZ)

Assistant Referees: G Garner (Eng), R Poite (Fra)

TMO: G De Santis (Ita)

Head to head

Celtic rivals Scotland and Ireland will meet for the127th time when they come face to face at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.The fixture dates back to 1877 and Scotland lead the all-time statistics with 64 victories to Ireland's 56 with their most recent meeting in Murrayfield last year going the way of the Scots. The last of the five draws was in 1994. The first of the two matches staged in 1885 was abandoned with Scotland leading, but the sides agreed to a replay a fortnight later, provided the outcome of the abandoned match should not stand as a win for Scotland. Both games carry Test status.

The two sides have met 61 times in Ireland with the home side winning 30 of the matches and Scotland 27. The last time the pair met was back in March 2010 with Scotland taking the bragging rights 23-20.Ireland's 44-22 win at Lansdowne Road in 2000 and Scotland's 38-10 Murrayfield win in 1997 are the highest scores recorded by the teams in this series. The best winning margin (30 points) in the matches was established in Ireland's 36-6 success at Murrayfield in 2003.

Ireland's David Humphreys set the record for the highest individual score in a match contributing 26 points at Murrayfield in 2003. Chris Paterson holds the corresponding Scottish record with 18 at Murrayfield in 2007.William Stewart, a Tasmanian-born wing who played for Scotland, scored a record four tries in the 1913 fixture. Three players have scored try hat-tricks for Ireland: Eugene Davy (1930), Sťamus Byrne (1953) andBrian O'Driscoll in 2002.

Ronan O'Gara is the leading overall scorer in the matches. He has scored 125 points for Ireland in 13 matches since 2000. Chris Paterson is Scotland's leading scorer in the series with 95 points in 13 appearances.

Scotland's Roy Laidlaw scored most tries in the matches: six in nine games between 1980 and 1988. Alan Duggan (1967 to 1971), O'Driscoll (2000-2011) and Brendan Mullin (1985 to 1995) each scored five for Ireland in this fixture.

Mike Gibson holds the record for most appearances in the series, playing 14 times between 1964 and 1979. He was capped eight times as a centre, five times as a fly-half and once as a replacement wing. Paterson has appeared 13 times for Scotland and currently holds that respective record.


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