Scottish winger Simon Danielli has claimed Ireland are not a team of “supermen” and are “under pressure” ahead of their clash in Murrayfield this Sunday.
Danielli, who currently plys his trade with Ulster, also admitted he is surprised by Declan Kidney’s team selection as he expected more of his provincial teammates to make the Irish squad.
“There is pressure on them back home,” says the Scottish man.
“Even if, as players, we all know that winning in Rome is normally a lot harder than beating Italy on your own ground, there was still a lot of chat in Belfast that Ireland were expected to come through that opening Six Nations fixture with a little more to spare than they did.
“Also, for all that Ireland were unlucky not to beat France last time, in this game it is all about winning. Set those performances against the fact that Ireland are known to be a side with a Grand Slam on their CV from recent times and it is easier to see where the pressure they are under comes from. As an Ulster player, I’m disappointed for some team-mates who might have expected more honours this season.
“But one of these colleagues, Stephen Ferris is out injured and, while sorry for him on a personal level, there is nobody in the Scotland squad who would have relished facing this incredible athlete; his absence this weekend doesn’t do us any harm. As for the rest, Tommy Bowe returns and he is a class player, but we know from our Magners League experiences the Irish are good, but no supermen.
“I don’t think Ireland took us lightly last year. Back at Ulster nobody said we were lucky and it was recognised we won fair and square. Overall, they know we have beaten Australia and South Africa as well as Argentina in the past 18 months so to take us lightly would be foolish on their part. Those results have been more than sufficient to generate respect for Scottish rugby across the Irish Sea. Besides, in Ulster colours, I reckon I have lost more than I’ve won recent encounters with Glasgow and Edinburgh. Having said all that, the Irish players are a confident bunch; they are also confident in their own individual abilities.”