Notable in Joe Schmidt’s post-match comments after the Six Nations defeat to England was that his team was "physically bettered" at the Aviva Stadium.

Ireland had more of the ball, but the game simply drifted away from the hosts as England opened their account with a thoroughly deserved and dominant 32-20 victory.

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"We probably didn't have the same physical edge that they did. We've got to make sure our solutions are that we get better pressure on the ball," the deflated Kiwi said afterwards.

"We didn't get a turnover on the ground tonight.

"There was quite a lot of volume with them stirring each other up and getting off the line. And they backed that up with a lot of physical intent."

Ireland beaten at their own game was the general consensus, and players and coaches all week have said they had to dust themselves down in camp this week in preparation for Scotland.

Indeed Schmidt said it wasn’t until Thursday that the players truly had a pep in their step, but that lack of physicality against England, or certainly coming out second best, has been addresses throughout the week.

Schmidt appears much happier with the picture that has been painted in training, and that some of their downfall against England was down to rustiness. Not that it can be used as an excuse.

"Yeah, there has been a better edge," he told RTÉ Sport. "I do think we had a few tired bodies coming in, we had a few guys who hadn't played a lot. It is hard to suddenly hit the ground running.

"Conor and Johnny haven't played together since Australia and hadn't played a lot full stop. There's no way we want to volunteer any excuses because there are none. You've got to get out and you've got to play well in your first game. We hadn't lost at home in over five years in the Six Nations, and that hurt for sure.

"We can't pass up a second opportunity to get our best foot forward."

Restricting Scotland to a single try – as they did last year at the Aviva Stadium – will require some Andy Farrell magic and clinical application in defence.

Ireland are braced for everything Townsend’s side will throw at them.

"I think we just got to be disciplined and try to manage their ruck speed," says scrum-half Conor Murray.  

"With Greig Laidlaw and Finn Russell they like to play a quick game, an expansive game. That's the challenge for us to do our damage in the tackle and in the ruck to slow it down and be accurate there."

Finn Russell makes a break during the 2018 Six Nations defeat to Ireland

The thrust of Scotland’s attacking game is likely to rest on the shoulder, or feet and hands, of the Scottish number 10.

The 26-year-old has flourished in France this season with Racing 92 and will looking to make a mark against the current World Player of the Year and opposite number Johnny Sexton.

Fans and the media may be focusing on the former Glasgow Warriors out-half, but publicly, Schmidt won’t be drawn into discussing plans to stifle one player.

"No, you can't afford to over-focus on any individual," he says. "Stuart Hogg comes into first receiver a fair bit. Peter Horne is on the bench, when he comes on he loves to get in at first receiver. He's got a great distribution game. If you start to look out there too often, Josh Strauss will put a hole through the middle of you.

"We've got to be conscious of whatever threat their throwing at us, that we can shut it down"

"Guys like McInally, he's very dynamic as a hooker, he's a very good ball-carrier.  Alan Dell carries well. Some of the front-row can be a real threat carrying. Ryan Wilson as well.

"Across the board, we've got to make sure that, as Conor said, we're really disciplined in how we stick to the task and be conscious of whatever threat their throwing at us, that we can shut it down."

Follow Scotland v Ireland (2.15pm) via our live blog on RTÉ.ie/sport and the News Now app, or listen to live national radio commentary on RTÉ Radio 1's Saturday Sport.