Peter O’Mahony says Ireland’s defence will need to improve from their defeat to England last weekend if they are to stop Scotland causing an upset in Dublin on Saturday.  

Ireland have an impressive record over their Super Saturday opponents, winning the last nine meetings. It is 14 years since Scotland won in Dublin, and their last win at Lansdowne Road was in 1998, when current head coach Gregor Townsend was in the team.  

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Munster forward O’Mahony admitted his team’s performance will need to improve, and praised Scotland’s attack.  

He said: “It’ll be massively important tomorrow that we get our defensive intensity right because when Scotland are allowed to play, they are probably one of the best attacking teams in the world. We’re certainly very aware of that.” 

He said the team was disappointed with the result at Twickenham last weekend as their hopes of a back-to-back Grand Slam were ended.  

But he hopes they can use the defeat as a learning experience.  

"It’s about using those examples to fill up your toolbox to negate them and how to be better in those performances,” the Ireland skipper said.  

He added: “It's great it wasn’t the last game for us and that we get to come back home and put in a performance. That’s all the group has talked about." 

The Munster veteran knows a large part of Scotland’s threat will come from Duhan van der Merwe, the championship’s top try scorer who needs just one score to equal Stuart Hogg’s all-time Scottish record.  

O’Mahony said the big winger has a “hugely impressive strike rate” having scored 26 tries in his 37 caps to date.  

Scotland Rugby News: Duhan van der Merwe sprints to one of his three tries against EnglandDuhan van der Merwe sprints to one of his three tries against England (Image: SNS)

He added: “Every time we play them, he always comes up in our player profiles. He’s a difficult man to stop and I’m sure he’ll be a handful tomorrow. He’s someone we’ll have to keep quiet if we’re going to put in a winning performance.” 

The 34-year-old is determined to prevent the “torture” of another tense conclusion to the championship. He was involved nine years ago when Ireland, Wales and England went into the last day with a shot at the title.  

Wales kicked off the day with a 61-20 win in Rome, before Ireland dispatched Scotland 40-10 at Murrayfield. That left O’Mahony and his colleagues watching from Murrayfield as England – requiring a 26-point win over France at Twickenham to snatch the title – fell agonisingly short in a 55-35 success. 

This weekend is more straightforward. Andy Farrell’s men will retain the title with victory in Dublin. Losing bonus points are also likely to be enough for the hosts.  

However, if Scotland cause an upset and deny Ireland any match points, the hosts would again be awaiting the result of a England’s clash with France.  

O’Mahony said Ireland are focused on securing victory first and foremost.  

“We are going out to win tomorrow,” he said.  

“There’s a handful of us who might have to make a decision or need to know the permutations, but we want to put in a performance tomorrow that’s capable of winning. 

“It’s a huge game for lots of reasons. You’ve got to play the match, not the occasion." 

Scotland Rugby News: O'Mahony was at the heart of a scuffle between the sides at the Rugby World CupO'Mahony was at the heart of a scuffle between the sides at the Rugby World Cup (Image: PA)

Recent meetings between the two sides have been fiery encounters, but O’Mahony dismissed the notion of there being an added rivalry between the sides.  

“It’s a competitive game - both teams always get stuck in,” he said.  

“We’re not playing tennis or golf. It’s a physical game and you’ve got to get stuck in. You’ve got to be on the edge.”