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Sunday in Edinburgh is expected to be dry with a mixture of bright spells and cloud cover, although there is the possibility of scattered showers. Temperatures are due to be 8 degrees Celsius at kick-off time with a moderate breeze.
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REFRESHED OR RUSTY?
Like all of their rivals, Ireland had their scheduled off-week last weekend but for Scotland, their stretch without a game goes back all the way to their 13 February loss to Wales due to the postponement of their round three clash against France.
But will having that long hiatus stand to the Scots or will it leave them somewhat rustier than Ireland?
Iain Henderson pondered that equation on Thursday with the Irish second row weighing up the pros and cons: "It's difficult to weigh up those two arguments because I've been in that scenario before where we haven't played in a number of weeks and you feel very fresh going into it.
"But then sometimes in the back of your mind, it crawls in, 'Is my conditioning up to standard here?' However, I feel we're in a good position personally.
"In the shoes I'm sitting in, I'd have preferred to have played two weeks ago and I'm glad that we did. A good few of their guys did get back and play for their individual teams so conditioning mightn't be at the forefront of their minds but the team closeness and how connected they will be will hopefully be playing on their minds."
While Ireland had a run-out as Scotland sat out the last weekend of February, that trip to face and expectedly beat Italy leaves as many questions as answers.
Yes, Andy Farrell's side overcame the hosts with ease and racked up a high try count. But on the other hand, the opponents were Italy.
Yes, there was more attacking intent but like the previous statement, the answer probably lies in the calibre of the opposition.
All of which makes it hard to know how Ireland will approach a team that are on a similar level and capable of beating England at Twickenham when performing at their best, even if the Scots have regularly fallen short in the recent head-to-head record during the Six Nations era.
For RTÉ Rugby analyst Donal Lenihan, who will be on radio co-commentary duty on Sunday, Ireland are likely to go back to the tried and somewhat trusted territorial strategy that has tended to keep Scotland at arm's length.
"We've won the last five in a row and I think we've won nine out of 10 and the vast majority of them have been based on dominating the set-piece, playing the territorial game and Scotland have improved in that area," he said.
And the weather is likely to play a role. If it does end up being wet - the aforementioned forecast suggests not - then prepare for a murkier style of play and none of the more free-flowing approach that emerged against an albeit weaker Italian side.
As captain Johnny Sexton suggested, the stylistic approach will be whatever gets the job done in the circumstances.
"If it's not on this weekend against Scotland in a wet Murrayfield, then we're not going to be doing it. We're not going to do it to crowd please, we're here to win rugby matches and we get judged on that," he said at Wednesday's press conference.
Ireland's changes are minimal with three changes seeing Cian Healy, Rob Herring and Keith Earls starting in place of Dave Kilcoyne, Ronán Kelleher and Jordan Larmour who all drop to the bench.
The most notable selection choice is Jamison Gibson-Park taking the nine jersey ahead of the long-term option at scrum-half, Conor Murray, following the latter's return from injury. He returns to the bench though ahead of Munster team-mate and understudy Craig Casey.
Scotland have made four changes from the side that lost to Wales after being reduced to 14 men a month ago.
WP Nel will make his first international start since the 2019 World Cup after being called on to replace the banned prop Zander Fagerson who was sent off against the Welsh.
The three other changes in Gregor Townsend's side are Sean Maitland replacing Darcy Graham on the wing, Sam Johnson coming in for James Lang at inside centre and Jamie Ritchie returning to the back row in place of Blade Thomson.
Ireland XV: Hugo Keenan, Keith Earls, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, James Lowe, Johnny Sexton (capt), Jamison Gibson Park; Cian Healy, Rob Herring, Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson, James Ryan, Tadhg Beirne, Will Connors, CJ Stander
Replacements: Ronan Kelleher, Dave Kilcoyne, Andrew Porter, Ryan Baird, Jack Conan, Conor Murray, Billy Burns, Jordan Larmour.
Scotland XV: Stuart Hogg, Sean Maitland, Chris Harris, Sam Johnson, Duhan van der Merwe, Finn Russell, Ali Price; Rory Sutherland, George Turner, WP Nel, Scott Cummings, Jonny Gray, Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson, Matt Fagerson.
Replacements: David Cherry, Jamie Bhatti, Simon Berghan, Grant Gilchrist, Nick Haining, Scott Steele, Huw Jones, Darcy Graham.
Before Ireland and Scotland lock horns, France will look to resume the momentum they would have gained from making it two wins from two in Dublin last month, prior to the postponement of their clash against the Scots due to Covid-19 cases in their camp.
The current favourites have a tough trip to Twickenham on Saturday to take on an England side licking their wounds after losing two of their opening three matches.
This is a French generation going places but will need to end a run of Six Nations games without a victory on English soil that goes back to 2005, while the sides' last meeting came at the London venue four months ago when Eddie Jones' side prevailed.
And in the first game of the weekend, Wales will be heavy favourites to move a step closer to a grand slam tilt when they take on Italy in Rome. Win that and Wayne Pivac's side can try and make it five wins from five in Paris next weekend in what won't be a winner takes all clash even if France overcome England as Les Bleus still must play the postponed game against the Scots which is set to be rearranged for 26 March.