Kidney hopes O'Brien's absence will hurt Scots more than Irish

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The Independent Online

Declan Kidney yesterday said that his Ireland team could benefit from Peter O'Mahony's unexpected participation in this afternoon's Six Nations match against Scotland in Dublin. O'Mahony was promoted to the starting XV after a foot infection ruled the openside flanker Sean O'Brien out of the match at the Aviva Stadium.

The 22-year-old O'Mahony is far less experienced – this will be his third cap and his first start – but Kidney said that could hinder Scotland.

"The benefit of the change is that Scotland won't have been able to analyse him as much as if he'd several caps under his belt," Ireland's head coach said of the Munster flanker. "You can look at this as a disruption to us, but maybe it's a disruption to Scotland. Perhaps they'll have been anticipating a different type of challenge. They may have to adjust to us now."

After three losses, Scotland's players have been forced to field questions about the future of their coach, Andy Robinson, and the team's inability to deliver on its potential. Robinson's pre-tournament vow that he would quit if he did not get his side winning games is being tested to the full after defeats by England, Wales and France.

Dublin is no easy place to reverse that run of form, especially given that Ireland are coming off a draw in France last weekend. Scotland's captain, Ross Ford, says the squad are behind the coach. "There is pressure to get results but I think the team is going in the right direction," he said.