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Scots fired up and raring to go: Cotter

By Andy Newport

Vern Cotter believes the butterflies in Scotland's stomachs can help his side soar when they take on Ireland tomorrow.

The Dark Blues head coach confessed his team may have to shake off some first-night nerves when they open their RBS 6 Nations campaign at Murrayfield.

But he believes the tension he has sensed around the squad means his team have their minds firmly focused on shooting down Joe Schmidt's men.

"It's an exciting start," said the Kiwi, who departs at the end of the tournament. "Ireland have just beaten the All Blacks, they've beaten Australia and South Africa. These are not one-off results.

"Consistently they're a good team, so we get the chance to measure ourselves against them.

"I can feel a nervousness within the group. They know it's a big game. They're ready to roll their sleeves up and have a go.

"I think being a little bit nervous means you're sharper and more on edge. You need that. You need to be wary of the opposition. Especially against these guys.

"We need to be sharp. We need to be able to adapt. They'll have plays we haven't seen, we need to adapt to them."

Cotter has taken a couple of gambles with his team selection.

Glasgow hooker Fraser Brown has been given the nod over 103-cap Ross Ford, while Stormers centre Huw Jones returns despite having sat out two-and-a-half months with a foot injury. Josh Strauss also comes in.

"It's a team that had a bit of time together in the autumn, although we're still without WP (Nel) and Ally Dickinson," he explained.

"Ireland move you around. They play a great game of chess."

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