Six Nations 2019: Scotland defence not a concern - Mike Blair

Media playback is not supported on this device

Six Nations: Blair Kinghorn hat-trick seals opening Scotland win v Italy
Six Nations: Scotland v Ireland
Venue: Murrayfield Date: Saturday, 5 February Kick-off: 14:15 GMT
Coverage: Watch on BBC One Scotland; listen on BBC Radio Scotland 92-95FM & 5live sports extra; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website & app

Scotland's defence is "not a concern" despite the side conceding "soft tries" against Italy, says assistant coach Mike Blair.

The Scots were coasting 33-3 in their opening Six Nations game before the Azzurri ran in three late scores to reduce the deficit to 13 points.

Gregor Townsend's side continue their championship at home to Ireland on Saturday.

"There's nothing wrong with the system," said former scrum-half Blair.

"It's just guys making sure they are making those smart decisions under pressure.

"Obviously at 33-3 up before 60 minutes, we were really positive. But then that last 15 minutes, with the yellow card [for Simon Berghan], they got a lot of possession. For us it hits home that if you don't get things right, teams will expose you.

"A few decisions in defence, perhaps a bit of energy lacking, meant it was a disappointing last 10 minutes certainly. But we are aware of where our standards need to be to avoid that happening in other games."

'We expect a big showing from Ireland'

Media playback is not supported on this device

Six Nations: England beat Grand Slam champions Ireland 32-20

Defending champions Ireland lost 32-20 at home to England at the weekend and flanker Jamie Ritchie believes Scotland can match the physicality of Eddie Jones' side in Dublin.

Despite their opening-weekend loss, Blair expects Joe Schmidt's side to be a huge challenge for Scotland on Saturday.

Blair added: "I don't think it's going to be any different because they lost. Ireland are a quality team, one of the top teams in the world.

"Joe Schmidt is an incredibly intelligent head coach along with Andy Farrell [defence coach] as well.

"We expect a big showing from them, not just because they lost their game, it's something we would have been expecting anyway.

"We know we need to be right at the top of our game to give them a game."

Top Stories