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Cullen - Plenty at stake

Leo Cullen is determined for Ireland to avoid another sobering start to their World Cup build-up when they face Scotland on Saturday.

Four years ago they were despatched 31-21 in Edinburgh, initiating a disastrous run of form that culminated in an embarrassing group exit from the tournament in France.

"Everyone's familiar with the mindset of four years ago when the team went over there and really struggled to put in a decent performance," said the Leinster lock. "Scotland caught us cold a bit and that's something we've talked about this week. There are mixed expectations of the next month but everyone's looking forward to it."

He added: "It's a strange situation to be in where you're playing a pre-season game but with lots at stake.

"There's not a huge amount at stake on the outcome of the game, but for the individuals there's a lot at stake.

"It depends on what way you look at it when it comes to judging if performance is more important than results in this sort of match.

"Individuals want to perform well but that's a lot easier to do if the team plays well.

"We have to have realistic expectations starting off, but everyone seems to have an edge in training."

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