Brian O'Driscoll

Ireland take on Scotland in their opening game of the 2014 Six Nations at the Aviva Stadium.

Where to Watch

Kick-off is at 3:00pm (GMT) and is live on BBC One, BBC One HD with live commentary avaliable at BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and online on Saturday 2 February.


Ireland's campaign will be centred on one man. Brian O'Driscoll will be appearing in his last Six Nations and will have extra incentive to make it a barnstorming finale after being dropped by Warren Gatland for the British and Irish Lions' final Test last summer. The Boys in Green enter as the most experienced nation in the championship led by Paul O'Connell and will be desperate to lift just their second championship to provide the perfect conclusion to O'Driscoll's 15 year career.

Joe Schmidt will be without wingers Craig Gilroy and Simon Zebo for Sunday's clash in Dublin and for the visit of Wales the following week with the pair having just returned to action after injury, but will be boosted by the return of Richardt Strauss, who is available just three months after undergoing heart surgery.

After an excellent championship last year where Scotland capitalised on the misgivings of Ireland and France, it's difficult to envisage Scotland replicating their third placed efforts of 2013. While their enigmatic head coach Scott Johnson may provide the spark off the pitch, where it will come from on it given the long term absence of Tim Vissier remains to be seen. The Scots do have Stuart Hogg returning at centre having missed the entire Autumn tests with injury, but will have to conjure something rather special to emulate last year's feats.


Ireland: 15 R Kearney, 14 D Kearney, 13 O'Driscoll, 12 Marshall, 11 Trimble, 10 Sexton, 9 Murray; 1 Healy, 2 Best, 3 Ross, 4 Toner, 5 O'Connell (capt), 6 O'Mahony, 7 Henry, 8 Heaslip

Replacements: 16 Cronin, 17 McGrath, 18 Moore, 19 Tuohy, 20 O'Donnell, 21 Boss, 22 Jackson, 23 McFadden

Scotland: Stuart Hogg; Sean Maitland, Alex Dunbar (all Glasgow Warriors), Duncan Taylor (Saracens), Sean Lamont; Duncan Weir (both Glasgow Warriors), Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh); Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors), Ross Ford (Edinburgh), Moray Low; Tim Swinson (both Glasgow Warriors), Jim Hamilton (Montpellier); Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors), Kelly Brown (Saracens, capt), David Denton (Edinburgh).

Replacements: Pat MacArthur (Glasgow Warriors), Alasdair Dickinson, Geoff Cross (both Edinburgh), Richie Gray (Castres), Johnnie Beattie (Montpellier), Chris Cusiter (Glasgow Warriors), Matt Scott (Edinburgh), Max Evans (Castres).

What the Coaches Say

Joe Schmidt: He's resilient and he's a little bit of an opportunist," (on Richardt Strauss' quick return.)

"We had a couple of other hookers in the squad earlier in the season. Mike Sherry unfortunately had a knee injury, then Damien Varley was named to come into the squad and he took a bit of a knock as well.So it just allowed the door to open for Richardt.

"I have to say, I coached Richardt for a number of years at Leinster, and know the quality of him and it's fantastic that he is back available.

"I'm delighted for him personally. He's a great man, and for him to bounce back and be available is a bit of a bonus for us."

"It is a massive tournament. I have been at most of Ireland's matches in the Aviva Stadium during my time in Ireland and there is a great atmosphere outside the ground, let alone inside it," said Schmidt.

"I hope there is all that colour this year, plus a little bit of something to celebrate. But it is going to be a very big ask."

Scott Johnson: There are parts of our game, when you think 'that's just brilliant'; that can put us on any level against anyone. We've got big mobile forwards and we've got a back three that can score from the length of the pitch.Those are pretty good starting points in modern rugby."

"We're up against some pretty formidable opposition and we only have two games at home. But we won't run away from that; we've picked a squad to compete."