Hamish Watson has challenged Scotland to turn a “mixed” Six Nations into a relatively successful one by signing off with a rare victory in Dublin on Saturday.
Gregor Townsend’s side have won two and lost two of their matches so far and go into the final weekend of the tournament knowing they can finish no higher than third in the table despite going in with high hopes of challenging for the title.
They face a formidable concluding match away to Ireland, where they have won only once – in 2010 – in the last 24 years.
However, Watson believes victory against the on-song Irish would help paint Scotland’s currently underwhelming campaign in a far more positive light.
“I think it’s been a mixed bag, with inconsistency,” said Watson, reflecting on his side’s performance in the tournament so far.
“It started really well, on such a positive note (against England), but we didn’t manage to back it up against Wales and that hit our confidence.
“We’ve worked hard this tournament but I don’t think we’ve played at our best so it’s about trying to put everything together and put in a performance against Ireland.
“I think if we got a win away in Ireland, which is going to be a tough task, it would be a nice way to top off the tournament.”
Ireland have a chance of winning the Six Nations, if France slip-up against England, and have beaten Scotland in each of their last six meetings.
“It’s a very tough place to go and play,” said Watson.
“It’s quite a hostile environment but we believe in ourselves and the last time we went there (in the Six Nations), it was decided within a try so it should be a tight game.
“Ireland are one of the in-form teams in world rugby so we’re excited to test ourselves against them.”
Much of the pre-match chat has centred around Townsend’s decision to replace Finn Russell with Blair Kinghorn at stand-off.
The former is deemed one of the top number 10s in the world, while the latter is relatively untried in the position at the top level having only converted to stand-off this season.
Watson is an Edinburgh team-mate of Kinghorn’s and has backed the 25-year-old to handle the responsibility of such a key role in the Aviva Stadium.
“I’ve been playing with Blair since he joined Edinburgh when he was about 18 so I’m really happy for him,” said Watson.
“It’s exciting for him. He’s similar in a way to Finn because he’s a very chilled-out guy, very calm, and I think that will help him against Ireland.
“I don’t think he’ll let the occasion get to him. He’s been great for Edinburgh this season, really exciting, so hopefully he can take that on to the international stage.”
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