Six Nations: Mike Catt implores Ireland to minimise Blair Kinghorn’s impact in bid for Triple Crown

Ireland host Scotland at 4.45pm on Saturday; in the earlier kick-off Wales face Italy (2.15pm) before France host England at the Stade de France to bring the Six Nations to a close; Ireland are bidding to win the Triple Crown and could still secure the title depending on other results

Last Updated: 18/03/22 2:03pm

Blair Kinghorn will start at fly-half for Scotland against Ireland

Mike Catt, Ireland’s assistant coach, has implored his side to minimise Blair Kinghorn’s impact as the team bid to win a first Triple Crown since 2018.

Ireland could perhaps take home more than a Triple Crown from this Championship, but that relies on England beating France at the Stade de France in the later kick-off on Saturday.

First, Ireland need to focus on their own task at hand which will be to try and win against Scotland, their match has a 4.45pm kick-off at the AVIVA Stadium.

Victory for Catt, head coach Andy Farrell and the Irish team would mean that Ireland lift silverware on home soil for the first time since 2004.

Six Nations title wins in 2009, 2014, 2015 and 2018 all came away from home for Ireland.

Guinness Six Nations – Round Five fixtures

Saturday at 2.15pm Wales vs Italy
Saturday at 4.45pm Ireland vs Scotland
Saturday at 8pm France vs England

Edinburgh man Kinghorn is a surprise selection for Saturday’s game in Dublin.

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend said that he has given Kinghorn “an opportunity” as a reward for his club form, Scotland appearances off the bench and work in training.

Having won the majority of his 30 Test caps at full-back or wing, the 25-year-old will make only his second start in his country’s No 10 jersey.

England World Cup winner Catt, who operated at full-back, fly-half and centre during his illustrious international career, believes Kinghorn is capable of doing some major damage to Irish hopes of clinching the Triple Crown.

“Listen, I’ve watched some footage on Blair and I think he’s a fantastic player,” Catt said.

“He’s got a running game, he’s very explosive, he’s got a hell of a passing game and, if he gets the time and space, his kicking game is exceptional too, he’s got a really big boot.

“We’d like to think we’re not going to give him that opportunity to sit back and play the game in a dinner suit, so it’s crucial that we do get after him.

“But, as a rugby player, I think what he’ll do for that Scotland team is massive. He’s a big threat for us.”

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We work through all the permutations in terms of who can win the title, and where each side can finish ahead of the Six Nations’ final day.

Meanwhile, head coach Farrell believes tales of past failures will focus minds as his men aim to create their own piece of history.

“There’s always an awareness of stories, people are always talking about stuff in corridors,” Farrell said. “Have we highlighted it as a group? This is a different team, obviously, we want to concentrate on ourselves.

“The stories are there. I’m sure those sorts of stories focus the mind a bit more.”

Guinness Six Nations – Standings

Played Won Lost BPs LBPs PDiff Points
1. France 4 4 0 2 0 56 18
2. Ireland 4 3 1 3 1 84 16
3. England 4 2 2 1 1 17 10
4. Scotland 4 2 2 1 1 -8 10
5. Wales 4 1 3 0 2 -27 6
6. Italy 4 0 4 0 0 -122 0

A seventh successive win over Scotland would lift Ireland to the top of the Championship standings, at least temporarily, and Farrell insists title talk will not be a distraction for his squad.

“Our lads won’t have one minute’s thought about what’s going on in Paris because there’s too much respect there for Scotland,” the head coach said.

“Scotland are a hard team to beat so we need to make sure we give our own fans something to shout about on this St Patrick’s weekend.

“We expect a good performance that helps the crowd to get into the game. We want the crowd to be happy with what they see their team do. We want to achieve.”

Team News

Ireland: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Mack Hansen, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 James Lowe, 10 Johnny Sexton (c), 9 Jamison Gibson-Park; 1 Cian Healy, 2 Dan Sheehan, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 4 Tadhg Beirne, 5 Iain Henderson, 6 Caelan Doris, 7 Josh van der Flier, 8 Jack Conan.

Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 Kieran Treadwell, 20 Peter O’Mahony, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Robbie Henshaw.

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg (c), 14 Darcy Graham, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Kyle Steyn, 10 Blair Kinghorn, 9 Ali Price; 1 Pierre Schoeman, 2 George Turner, 3 Zander Fagerson, 4 Jonny Gray, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 6 Rory Darge, 7 Hamish Watson, 8 Matt Fagerson.

Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Allan Dell, 18 WP Nel, 19 Sam Skinner, 20 Josh Bayliss, 21 Ben White, 22 Finn Russell, 23 Mark Bennett.

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