Mouth-watering Edinburgh showdown in store – Scotland v Ireland talking points

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There is plenty at stake at BT Murrayfield on Sunday as Scotland host Ireland in the most significant match of the penultimate weekend of the Guinness Six Nations.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some key talking points ahead of the mouth-watering Edinburgh showdown.

All to play for

A year ago this weekend, Scotland were in Rome playing a relatively insignificant match against Italy, with their victory meaning little in the grand scheme of things other than ensuring they would not finish with the wooden spoon. This time they go into their penultimate fixture knowing there are huge rewards potentially awaiting them. If they beat Ireland, they will claim a first Triple Crown since 1990. In addition, a home victory, especially with a bonus point, would take Gregor Townsend’s team into their final match at home to Italy with a real chance of winning the Six Nations title. The Irish are not short of motivation either, however. A win in Edinburgh will leave them on course for the title and a Grand Slam.

Can the Scots halt Irish dominance?

Scotland v Ireland head to head
(PA Graphics)

Irish bring back the big guns

Andy Farrell has selected arguably his strongest side of this year’s Six Nations so far by welcoming back a host of star names from injury. Prop Tadhg Furlong will make his first competitive appearance since early December following a calf issue after deputy Finlay Bealham suffered a tournament-ending knee problem in the round-three win in Italy. Sexton and Garry Ringrose also return having been sidelined in Rome, while Cian Healy, Jamison Gibson-Park and Robbie Henshaw significantly strengthen the bench as they await their first Test involvements since the autumn. Bealham and Tadhg Beirne are the only notable absentees from a fearsome matchday 23.

Hogg hits his century

Stuart Hogg
Stuart Hogg is a key man for Scotland (Adam Davy/PA)

Record-breaking weekend for Sexton?

Johnny Sexton
Johnny Sexton is fit again for Ireland (Andrew Matthews/PA)

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