Ireland will have an “aftershock” after being bullied against England and remain an enormous challenge for Scotland, believes prop Allan Dell.
The Scots stand atop the Guinness 6 Nations after one round admired the way England dominated the Irish physically, but are prepared for a backlash from a proud Irish side who remain the champions and are at BT Murrayfield on Saturday.
“They are going to be angry, and that is the problem,” admitted the Scotland loose head. “What normally tends to happen from experience is that if you have been outmuscled at the weekend the emphasis in the build up to the next game is that you know you can’t have that happening again. “You are embarrassed and licking your wounds from that. There will be an aftershock after what England did to Ireland.
“It was always going to be a physical game. When I played against them two years ago it was a very physical game. I am expecting a tough, physical game regardless what happened to them at the weekend.”
It will be a game without Dell’s Edinburgh clubmate WP Nel, who tore a calf muscle against Italy and will be ruled out of the contest.
“WP is a very experienced tighthead, but we have played in the 6 Nations without him before,” reasoned Dell. “Simon Berghan I assume will come in and fill the three jersey and he has played well for Edinburgh and he has played well for Scotland at tighthead.
“But yeah, that experience and aggression that W P brings to the front row will be sorely missed I feel.”
Ireland have a strong scrummage, but Dell feels Scotland have the necessary “chemistry” in an all-Edinburgh front row to combat them.
“Furlong, Healy and Best, are all very good scrummagers, very disciplined, they know when to have a crack, they know when to manipulate a scrum and move players,” said Dell.
“Setpiece is going to be a major part of the game, and we’re going to have to go about our business the way we normally do.
“If it is the same front row then we’ve all got the chemistry of scrummaging together. Hopefully that will help us and we won’t miss WP too much. I’m sure he’ll be in giving us his knowledge in the next few days.”
Ireland have their own injury issues, with Lions No 8 CJ Stander already ruled out with a cheekbone fracture sustained against England. There are also injury doubts about lock Devin Toner, centre Gary Ringrose and wing Keith Earls.