When Eddie Jones starts trying to unsettle you with mind games in the build-up to a pivotal 6 Nations test match, the chances are that you’re doing something right.
The last few seasons have seen a number of false dawns for this Scotland side. Despite a really energetic and talented squad, “This may well be Scotland’s year” is now something we seem to say and hear on an annual basis; we should probably be wary, then, of suggesting that their recent performance against the All Blacks could prove a real turning point for them.
In the wake of last weekend’s Six Nations fixtures, Italy’s controversial showing at Twickenham shared back-page headlines with the stellar performances of Ireland’s half-backs. The supremely composed Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton were worthy of the admiration heaped upon them against the French, and there were few arguments when both were named in the Championship’s official Team of the Week.
When Jared Payne was withdrawn halfway through Ireland’s plucky 27-24 defeat of Australia back in November, the signs were worrying for all present in Dublin. Even setting aside the fact that Robbie Henshaw was absent after a Same Cane hit against the All Blacks, Payne in many ways had become Ireland’s defensive general, and to lose him came as a blow.