…and let’s go!
Johnny Sexton’s boot gets us going and we’re gone!
anthems in your pocket
The two teams belt out their respective anthems. The Irish rendition was great, though Flower of Scotland With bagpipes being played from the roof of Murrayfield, it’s fair to say it was rousing. Now that that’s done, it’s time for what we’re really here for, rugby.
Stuart Hogg emerges from the tunnel with his three children to a huge round of applause ahead of his 100th cap. What a moment for the Hogg family.
After that moment we see Gary Ringrose emerge to celebrate his 50th cap for Ireland, albeit to louder applause. Then the other teams follow. It is almost time!
Gregor Townsend on the terms
It’s warmer than Paris! What an occasion, both teams want dry weather and want to play rugby today.
Andy Farrell on the playing conditions
We expect it to be a little stormy outside and maybe a bit of rain, but we’ll be prepared for that.
Gregor Townsend tells the BBC how Scotland can win
You need to place yourself close to your best rugby level, you need to slow down the Irish ball, prevent them from getting into phase form and thereby gain confidence, and you need to play a fast ball.
Ireland deserved favourites
Ireland go into this game seven-point favourites, and it’s easy to see why Ireland have won 11 of their last 12 Six Nations ties between the two teams.
O’Gara record at stake
Johnny Sexton needs just four points this afternoon to break Ronan O’Gara’s record and become the top points scorer in the history of the game.
100 not for Hogg
Today is Stuart Hogg’s 100th Scottish cap, with the 30-year-old making his debut in 2012. He had a great career for Glasgow Warriors and now Exeter Chiefs becoming a British Irish Lion in the process, but reaching that milestone has to be one of his greatest achievements.
Long wait for Scotland
A Scottish win here would put them back in contention to win their first championship since 1999, back when none of us had heard of an iPod and the Six Nations were just a Five. A Scottish win would set us up for a stand seat next week and more importantly for Scotland it would be their first Triple Crown since 1990.
Irish fans expect
Charles Richardson at Murrayfield
In Murrayfield there is an absolute hurrah, the sun breaks through the clouds. Rain is later due, however, as the Scotland team have best-of-a-generation billing against the greatest Irish side of all time.
Is this reckoning fair? It is worth remembering that Scotland had a relatively mediocre autumn and lost in Paris without a bonus point. Their victories this campaign have come amid significant rebuilds against two teams. Although there is little doubt as to their offensive prowess, the Scots were often the near-team under Townsend. To clear all doubts, they must secure their first victory over Ireland since 2017 today. If the hosts can do that and thwart an Irish Grand Slam then they would undoubtedly be the best Scottish team since 1999 – maybe even since 1990. Another bonus point today and they could even be title favorites next Saturday.
As for Ireland, a win today and they would almost confirm them as Six Nations champions with a chance to go a step further next weekend when they welcome England to Dublin where Andy Farrell’s side have a Grand Slam could win.
Both teams have been involved in some cork matches in this championship – let’s hope that continues this afternoon.
Today is Stuart Hogg’s 100th cap for Scotland
He wasn’t bad, was he?
How the two teams line up
SCOTLAND XV VS IRELAND: 15-Stuart Hogg, 14-Kyle Steyn, 13-Huw Jones, 12-Sione Tuipulotu, 11-Duhan van der Merwe, 10-Finn Russell, 9-Ben White, 1-Pierre Schoeman, 2-George Turner, 3-Zander Fagerson, 4-Richie Gray, 5-Jonny Gray, 6-Matt Fagerson, 7-Jamie Ritchie, 8-Jack Dempsey
Substitute: 16-Fraser Brown, 17-Jamie Bhatti, 18-Simon Berghan, 19-Scott Cummings, 20-Hamish Watson, 21-Ali Price, 22-Blair Kinghorn, 23-Chris Harris
IRELAND XV VS SCOTLAND:15-Hugo Keenan, 14-Mack Hansen, 13-Garry Ringrose, 12-Bundee Aki, 11-James Lowe, 10-Johnny Sexton, 9-Conor Murray, 1-Andrew Porter, 2-Dan Sheehan, 3-Tadhg Furlong, 4-Iain Henderson, 5-James Ryan, 6-Peter O’Mahony, 7-Josh van der Flier, 8-Caelan Doris
Substitute: 16 – Ronan Kelleher, 17 – Cian Healy, 18 – Tom O’Toole, 19 – Ryan Baird, 20 – Jack Conan, 21 – Jamison Gibson Park, 22 – Ross Byrne, 23 – Robbie Henshaw Referee: Luke Pearce
No Irish nerves before the friendly
A win from a Triple Crown, two away from a Grand Slam, is it a case of squeaky time for Ireland? According to Andy Farrell, the answer is a definitive “no.”
They meet an impressive Scottish side in Murrayfield today with a lot of pressure and expectations on their shoulders. But such was their dominance that Farrell says his side can handle anything thrown at them. They have won 20 of their last 22 Tests and travel to Edinburgh on a seven-game winning streak against the hosts. Indeed, it can be said that they have the wood over Scotland, having lost just once in their last 12 meetings.
However, Scotland have impressed those six nations by beating England at Twickenham and narrowly overtaking France at Paris two weeks ago. They too can win the Triple Crown today, their first since 1990. So when the stakes are so high in the Irish camp, that would be understandable.
But Farrell is confident that Ireland will be able to deal with whatever is thrown at them today.
“I feel we’re in a good position, but the opponents always have a good word and we’re playing against a good team,” said the Ireland coach.
“To be able to win a Triple Crown for them is huge, Stuart Hogg’s 100th cap is another bit of emotion they’ll throw into the mix.
“[But] it’s in process, isn’t it? It’s in the preparation, and there’s only one way to truly believe without it becoming plastic. You can’t prepare half-heartedly and expect to walk out confident because when you’re in the cauldron, it’s squeezing your all out.
“Our preparation is absolutely key to that and how we feel about each other throughout the week and understand if everyone is on the same page and everyone is feeling the same, that’s absolutely key.
“What we’re really good at is making sure towards the end of the week there’s the right balance of switching on and off and being sufficiently relaxed and not too drained of the emotions of the occasion ) so you can be yourself be.
“It’s something that’s been in the mix for quite some time and it needs to be improved further. How does it get better? By putting yourself in situations like that over and over again, so it’s a good test for us at the weekend.”
Stay tuned in for all pre-game preparations and action in the Scottish capital.