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New-look Ireland still strong - Johnson

Scotland interim head coach Scott Johnson has promised his side will not underestimate an inexperienced Ireland team in this Sunday's RBS 6 Nations showdown.

Johnson has made just one alteration to his starting XV following their 34-10 victory over Italy, replacing tighthead prop Euan Murray - who refuses to play on Sundays on religious grounds - with Geoff Cross. And the Scotland coach is confident the players coming in for the Ireland clash will be of a similar level to those they replace.

"We know the players coming in. Their form regionally has been superb and these kids are good players," he told Press Association Sport.

"Sometimes what happens is that (people) expect the 'known names' to be a massive, massive loss. But what (people) probably don't know is the 'no names' and how good they are.

"Us coaches see them every week and know that these so-called lesser-known names are quality players. This is a genuine Test match, a quality Test match against a formidable opposition who will come here buoyed by years of achievement here.

"We understand what we are up against - we are not deluding ourselves - and we understand that what was good enough against Italy won't be good enough against Ireland."

Ireland last tasted defeat in Edinburgh back in 2001 and since then have racked up five successive victories on Scottish soil. But the win over Italy has raised confidence - if not expectations - in the Scottish camp.

Johnson believes his side can continue to improve following last year's Wooden Spoon campaign under predecessor Andy Robinson, but will not be taking anything for granted.

He said: "Continuity of selection is important up to a point. We had a good look at the team after the Italy game because we're not just going to take the win. It shouldn't take a loss for us to make changes. We really did take a good look at the whole personnel and there was enough there to say we had made a bit of progression and we will take it again.

"It was a win and we did some good things. But it's not the end result. We have got the ability and potential in this side to hurt some teams but we have got to do it consistently. It was one win but let's not get carried away with it."


From Belfast Telegraph