/ Six Nations 2014

O'Sullivan wary of Paterson ploy

Updated: Wednesday, 20 Feb 2008 14:11

Eddie O'Sullivan is cautious after Scotland's team was announced
Eddie O'Sullivan is cautious after Scotland's team was announced

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Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan believes the selection of Chris Paterson at fly-half signals a tactical rethink by Scotland.

Paterson has replaced Dan Parks for Saturday's RBS 6 Nations clash at Croke Park as Scotland seek to breathe some life into their moribund championship.

Parks' strength lies in his kicking but after scoring a solitary try in their last five matches, the toothless Scots have been forced to exile the Glasgow stand-off to the bench.

Instead the mercurial Paterson, who has won most of his 82 caps on the wing, will attempt to spearhead a Six Nations revival - with the ball in hand.

'Putting Chris at 10 is probably a paradigm shift in Scotland's thinking,' said O'Sullivan. 'I've always regarded Chris as a fantastic footballer. He can run the game very well for Scotland and mix it up.

'Dan Parks brings certain qualities to the team and has a strong kicking game, but Chris offers a different dynamic. He can distribute and kick. We have to look at Scotland a bit differently when Paterson is at fly-half.'

With much at stake in Dublin on Saturday, O'Sullivan will be plotting the containment of Paterson in minute detail.

Defeat for Ireland would see the breathing space afforded by the second-half heroics in Paris replaced by renewed speculation over O'Sullivan's future.

But Scotland boss Frank Hadden is also beginning to feel the pressure after his side crashed to France and Wales, setting up a likely wooden-spoon collision course with Italy.

The difference is Ireland's battling 26-21 loss to Les Bleus has delivered a timely injection of self-belief, although O'Sullivan refuses to overstate its value.

'We've come off the back of a strong performance and feel better because of that,' he said.

'It's human nature that we feel better now and training this week has been better because of it. But I'm cautious at thinking that just because we played well in Paris over 80 minutes we will do the same against Scotland.

'Last year we played very well against England one week but then struggled against the Scots the next. We played so well against England and I believe we left something at Croke Park before heading up to Edinburgh.

'That's just human nature. We have to build on Paris against Scotland and get a big result.'

Ireland will monitor the fitness of skipper Brian O'Driscoll and substitute prop Tony Buckley today with an update on both players expected before the end of the week.

O'Driscoll is suffering with a tight calf from training yesterday and is a slight doubt while Buckley is to undergo a fitness test on his thumb problem.

Ireland have made two changes to the starting line-up edged by France with winger Tommy Bowe replacing Geordan Murphy and Mick O'Driscoll supplanting Malcolm O'Kelly at lock.