Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Six Nations 2022: Defence and discipline must return in Dublin, says Matt Fagerson

Matt Fagerson was badly missed when injured against Wales.
Matt Fagerson was badly missed when injured against Wales.

Scotland will go back to the principles that made them the best defensive team in the Six Nations for the ultimate challenge of the 2022 Championship in Dublin, says Matt Fagerson.

The No 8 accepts that Scotland have slipped from their best defensive standards but pinpoints the team changes and a penalty count they believe they can clear up.

‘We’ve maybe come away from our defensive DNA’

“We need to work a lot harder, especially on defence and defensive penalties,” said the Kirriemuir-raised back rower.

“Our defence has probably been the best in the Six Nations in the last couple of years and we’re still trying to develop it even more. But by adding a few bits and bobs we’ve maybe come away from our defensive DNA in the last two or three games.

“That’s been one of the biggest things. That last game (against Italy) was okay penalty-wise, but there are still things to work on.”

It hasn’t been the championship that the squad or the Scotland fans hoped. But Fagerson still thinks the progress is being made into the World Cup – where Scotland will again face Ireland in the pool stage.

“We are massively disappointed in the way we didn’t back up our England performance,” he said. “And then France was really tough. We obviously lost Mish (Hamish Watson) the day before the game and there were a few other little things.

“Watching the games you can see that anyone can beat anyone. We’re still definitely growing as a team.

“Our DNA is still there and we’re quite cohesive at the minute. Some of the stuff we’re putting on the pitch is really, really good.

“With this Scotland team, the last two years especially there have been massive shifts in our defence. And when things click, our attack is really good. It’s about finding that consistency.”

‘They have a ruthless streak’

But as Scotland have developed, so have Ireland, with a much more positive style from Saturday’s hosts.

“They have a ruthless streak now. You saw against Wales and even when they played France and took them right to the wire,” added Fagerson.

“They’ve definitely added a whole load of new strings to their bow. Jamison Gibson-Park at nine brings a bit of tempo to their game which is huge.

“They are trying to play a more expansive and high-tempo game of rugby, and if you give them the opportunity to do that then they can be really dangerous. But hopefully our defence will be able to wrap them up and slow them down a bit.”

Going into Dublin on St Patrick’s Day weekend is a tough ask, and the Irish will have their tails up, he conceded.

“We knew it was going to be the final day and things would probably hang in the balance,” he said. “Obviously we were hoping to be in a different position but it is what it is.

“If you look into the occasion more it’ll take away from our roles and what we’re going to there to do. We need to focus on ourselves and what we can bring. Our own energy, that’s probably the best way for us to go.

“They’ve have all the Irish fans celebrating St Paddy’s weekend, which is obviously a big occasion for them. The less celebrations they get the better!”

Already a subscriber? Sign in