History of Celtic rivalry adds enough old spice to the showdown in Dublin

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Eoin Reddan insists pride alone ensures today’s fixture with Scotland will be contested as if the RBS 6 Nations crown was at stake.

Ireland’s hopes of challenging for the title vanished following Sunday’s draw with France and a disheartening mid-table finish beckons.

It is a disappointing return for a team that had designs on the grand slam and with two fixtures remaining, completed by England at Twickenham next Saturday, the best they can hope for is third.

Winless Scotland, who are engaged in a duel with Italy to avoid the wooden spoon, appear to have more incentive to succeed at Lansdowne Road.

Reddan, however, insists tradition will provide Ireland with all the motivation they need.

“I remember walking up to a Five Nations game with my dad when I was around 10,” the Leinster scrum-half said.

“I didn’t have a clue where Ireland were in the table that day, I didn’t know if they’d been winning or were going for a Grand Slam.

“Instead, I couldn’t believe I was going to this match to watch these guys play.

“It was just such a massive occasion in itself. For me and everyone else, that’s how it feels.

“You don’t need anything else to spur you on, you’re pulling on the jersey so you give it everything and the intensity levels will be huge.

“This weekend will be no different and there are no thoughts in our minds that there’s nothing at stake.

“We have to be honest and say we’re disappointed that we’ve lost two games. To say anything else would be wrong.

“We set ourselves high standards so we’d like to be winning those games.”

Head coach Andy Robinson maintains a fierce belief his Scotland side can realise their potential and claim victory over Ireland. Scotland have received numerous plaudits for their performances thus far but are without a win after narrow defeats to England, Wales and France.

Despite a run of five straight Test losses for the first time since 2004 and a record of two wins from 13 Six Nations matches, Robinson’s confidence remains.

“I focus on the next game and that’s all you can do,” said Robinson, whose side won 23-20 at Croke Park two years ago.

“I know that every single player has given 100 per cent in the way they’ve performed and this week has been exactly the same.”

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