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Head Coach Declan Kidney during a press conference and media day at Jury's Hotel, Cork. Photo by: PA Archive/PA Photos

Irish rugby team aims to beat Scotland and leave Croke Park with Triple Crown

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Head Coach Declan Kidney during a press conference and media day at Jury's Hotel, Cork. Photo by: PA Archive/PA Photos

Irish rugby coach Declan Kidney sends his men out against Scotland knowing they are overwhelming favorites to win and clinch the Triple Crown.

The Irish side will be under as much pressure form themselves as from their opponents, as they know they do not want to end their playing tenure at Croke Park with a defeat.

Scotland comes into the match trying to win and avoid the wooden spoon in the Six Nations.

A disastrous loss to the Italians was redeemed a little by a draw against England last time round, and if they somehow caused a shock by beating the Irish in their home patch the some modicum of pride would be restored.

However, all of Ireland’s big players are available, and Declan Kidney keeps the same 15 for the third straight game.

Gordon D’Arcy will take his place on the team despite hobbling off last week, and Geordan Murphy keeps his place at full back.

If Plan A does not unfold for Kidney, then he can call on the likes of Rob Kearney, Ronan O’Gara and Leo Cullen on the bench.

“The priority now is to finish the Championship on a high but to do that we'll have to play very well because the Scots certainly won't be coming here to oblige us,” says Paul O’Connell on his blog.

The Irish team to play Scotland at Croke Park Saturday  is:

1 - Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster), 2 - Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster), 3 - John Hayes (Bruff/Munster), 4 - Donncha O'Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster), 5 - Paul O'Connell (Young Munster/Munster), 6 - Stephen Ferris (Dungannon/Ulster), 7 -David Wallace (Garryowen/Munster), 8 - Jamie Heaslip (Naas/Leinster)

15 - Geordan Murphy (Leicester Tigers), 14 - Tommy Bowe (Ospreys), 13 - Brian O'Driscoll (UCD/Leinster) (capt,) 12 - Gordon D'Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster), 11 - Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster), 10 - Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary's College/Leinster,) 9 - Tomas O'Leary (Dolphin/Munster)

Subs: Sean Cronin, Tony Buckley, Leo Cullen, Shane Jennings, Eoin Reddan, Ronan O'Gara, Rob Kearney

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