Ireland captain upbeat ahead of finale - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ireland captain upbeat ahead of finale

By Julian Guyer 20/03/2010 07:34:53 AM Comments (0)

Ireland rugby captain Brian O'Driscoll insisted their last match at Croke Park would have no inhibiting effect on his side as they aimed for a Triple Crown against Scotland on Saturday.

Ireland, the defending Grand Slam champions, may only have a slim mathematical chance of retaining their title, with unbeaten leaders France gunning for a clean sweep against England in Paris on Saturday.

But a fifth Triple Crown (the prize when one of the Home Nations of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales beats all the others in a single Six Nations campaign) in seven seasons is in sight.

Saturday's match marks Ireland's final fixture at Croke Park before they return across Dublin to their redeveloped Lansdowne Road home.

Ireland's temporary stay at the home of Gaelic sports has coincided with the most successful era in their history and another capacity crowd of 80,000 plus is set to ensure an emotional farewell.

O'Driscoll, asked if that meant "losing was not an option", told reporters on Friday: "There's no point in contemplating defeat. You just have to think about the process of winning and, hopefully, the result will take care of itself.

"I think for the most part we have some fantastic memories and part of us will definitely be sorry to say goodbye to here," added the centre, who won his 100th Ireland cap at Croke Park in last weekend's 27-12 win over Wales.

Scotland are still searching for their first win this Six Nations but last Saturday's 15-15 draw with England was the third time they'd come desperately close after narrow defeats away to Wales and Italy.

"There was nothing in those matches," said Ireland coach Declan Kidney.

"We really just need to concentrate to get the better of what I believe is a very good Scots team that has improved no end.

"I think they have three or four forwards who were unavailable to them this time last year when we played them and we only managed to break them down once (during a 22-15 victory at Murrayfield) in scoring a try.

"The Scottish team are on the verge of something. We just have to make sure it's not tomorrow (Saturday)."

O'Driscoll paid tribute to the work Scotland coach Andy Robinson, the former England boss, had done since taking over at the start of the season and warned the Scots 9-8 win over the Wallabies in November was an example of how they could yet cause an upset this weekend.

"Perhaps they've been a bit unfortunate with a few results but you only have to look back to November, when they managed to beat Australia."

Ireland will be unchanged after centre Gordon D'Arcy, who went off against Wales with a dead leg, passed a fitness test on Friday.

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