O’Driscoll wants players to inspire crowd

Ireland skipper Brian O'Driscoll has challenged his team-mates to ignite the Lansdowne Road crowd on Saturday by banishing the slow starts which have plagued their Six Nations campaign. [more]

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Ireland skipper Brian O’Driscoll has challenged his team-mates to ignite the Lansdowne Road crowd on Saturday by banishing the slow starts which have plagued their Six Nations campaign.

Victory over Scotland would set up a potential championship decider against England but with Frank Hadden’s side in the grip of a stunning revival, Ireland need all the help they can get.

Italy and Wales have been dispatched in Dublin already but a subdued atmosphere shrouded both contests, partly in response to the nervous openings which have hampered the Irish.

British & Irish Lions centre O’Driscoll believes his side must inspire home fans by racing out of the blocks in what is shaping up to be a memorable encounter.

"It’s up to us to create the atmosphere. We need to start well and give the crowd something to cheer," he said.

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"Getting the crowd behind us will feature in my team talk because sometimes they can be worth a couple of scores. We’ll try and start well and get the crowd geed up.

"We’ve been starting a little bit slower than we wanted to. In these close encounters it’s about getting hold of the ball and keeping it.

"Hopefully we’ll go from the ‘b’ of the bang and not the ‘g’ and the fans will weigh in behind us after seeing some good play."

Scotland’s transformation under Hadden has been remarkable, with few predicting they would travel to Lansdowne Road still in the Six Nations title hunt.

Heavyweights England and France have both been brought to heel at Murrayfield and Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan hailed the progress made since Hadden replaced Matt Williams last April.

"Frank has had a massive impact on the Scottish team since he’s taken over. They’re playing a well-organised, well-structured game," he said.

"They’re a well-balanced side, taking the ball up, sending it wide and kicking to the corner. Their defence has improved, they’ve forced teams into making mistakes and have capitalised on errors.

"They’re playing with a lot of passion and pride and are unrecognisable from the last few years. The difference is Frank Hadden.

"It’s pretty much the same squad and it’s not quantum physics to see Frank has had an incredible effect."

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