Shane Horgan Reveals What He Thinks Ireland’s Key To Victory Over Scotland Is

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Shane Horgan believes the key to victory for Ireland over Scotland lies in the back row.

The former Leinster and Ireland winger doe however think that Vern Cotter’s side. “could surprise everyone”. Ireland take on Scotland tomorrow in their Six Nations opener, but do so without star playmaker Johnny Sexton.

Speaking to RTE Sport, Horgan believes losing Sexton is a blow, but has full confidence in replacement Paddy Jackson.

“There are huge expectations for all six nations – maybe none more than Ireland.

“Expectations may have been dampened this week with the loss of Johnny Sexton at 10, but an able replacement comes in with Paddy Jackson.

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While everyone may be focusing on the battle at ten between Finn Russell and Jackson, Horgan believes the game may be won for Ireland in the back-row with the devastating trio of Stander, O’Brien and Heaslip.

“I think if you take the number 10 situation out of it, that’s obviously going to be a key area.”

“But you’ve got to look to Ireland’s back row. There’s a huge amount of power and ball carriers.

“If you think Josh van der Flier, with the season that he’s had, not able to get in the team. No Peter O’Mahony either, another hugely influential player for Ireland over the last couple of years.

“But CJ Stander has been the best ball carrier for Ireland, or maybe anybody in the world, over the last six months.

“Jamie Heaslip is carrying very well and Sean O’Brien may be Ireland’s best carrier over the last five years – that gives Ireland a very strong platform to move forward from.

“Add on Iain Henderson who can carry the ball very strongly and is a phenomenal line-out option, I think it’s going to be like most games – won up front.”

When asked to predict the winner, Horgan was confident, but cautious.

“If Ireland can keep all their players on the pitch and keep the penalty count low then they should win – but if not, Scotland could surprise everyone”