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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 20 February, 2019
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Trimble hopes for clinical edge against 'Saracens' of the Six Nations

The 31-year-old wing scored his 17th Test try last weekend against Italy.

THERE’S MATURITY IN how Andrew Trimble reads situations, both on and off the rugby pitch.

His defensive work is hugely important to Ireland, as highlighted again last weekend against Italy.

Jared Payne may have picked off Edoardo Padovani’s telegraphed pass for an intercept try, but it was Trimble’s decision to join the frontline that gave the outside centre the final nudge he needed to burst onto the floating ball.

Andrew Trimble scores the first try of the game Trimble scored his 17th Ireland try last weekend. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Defensive pressure can lead to tries; Trimble knows that better than most wings. Think back to his brilliant turnover hit in Ireland’s World Cup warm-up win against Wales in Cardiff for one example, with Keith Earls gathering the ball brilliantly to score.

More recently, it was kick chase pressure from Ireland that allowed Trimble himself to benefit one ruck later against the Italians.

“They obviously made a little bit of a mistake in tapping the ball back and we capitalised on it,” says Trimble of his try against Italy last weekend, which stemmed from Leonardo Sarto’s misplaced attempt to find fullback David Odiete after a Johnny Sexton kick.

“But that happens if you put sides under pressure, put them in uncomfortable positions and turn the screw a little bit. You want to be clinical and there were a couple of defensive lapses from Italy’s point of view that they’ll not be happy with, but we got over the line, scored points and got on the board.

“That set us going and I think that’s the way this side needs to be – very, very clinical and we’ve lacked that at times. Hopefully that’s us showing signs they’re back.”

Trimble is always the ideal person to reflect the thought process of this Ireland team. At the age of 31 and with 62 caps behind him, the Ulsterman is mature and experienced in gauging the reality of each performance.

Happy with the nine tries against Italy, but “very aware that Italy will be very disappointed with their performance.” A big step up awaits against Scotland on Saturday.

“From my point of view, definitely,” says Trimble when asked if this is the best Scotland team he has faced. “They’ve strengths all over the park, they’re very well organised. Vern Cotter has done an unbelievable job with them and they’re a big, big threat.

Jared Payne celebrates his try with Andrew Trimble Trimble celebrates Jared Payne's try with the centre. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“Obviously they’ve got the big, big win over France last weekend and I don’t think that really surprised anybody, the rugby they were playing, they were more than capable of beating France and it was no surprise really.

“They’ll come to Dublin with their tails up and they’re going to be a handful so we’ve plenty of homework to do.”

Stuart Hogg has been the star turn for the Scots, but Trimble believes that the fullback is benefiting from the new-found organisation under Cotter.

“He’s playing out of his skin really, but even just their backfield mechanism with him getting up in the end of the line, wingers, nine, 10, everyone in the backfield just working really hard for each other.

Organisationally, I just think it reminds me a little bit of Saracens when Ulster played them, just how organised they are and how effective they are in everything they do.”

In the Scotland back three that Trimble rates so highly is a former Ulster wing and Ireland underage international, Tommy Seymour.

The Glasgow Warriors wing has grown and grown as a force since making his move to Scotland in 2011 and is now one of the most dangerous wide men in the Six Nations.

“I knew him a bit,” says Trimble, “he only played a handful of times. It’s hard to know how good he was then because he only had a few opportunities for Ulster, for the Ravens as it was back then, and I saw him playing for Ballynahinch as well.

Andrew Trimble Trimble is an important influence in the Ireland group. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

“It’s very difficult to tell how good he was then. He definitely looked quality, he looked dynamic.

“Now he’s just turned into this very well-rounded rugby player. He gets into the air well, his footwork is very good, he’s physical, he reads the game quite well. I think he’s a quality player. It’s just a shame we didn’t hold onto him really.”

Really?

“I’m saying it’s a shame but I’m happy enough!”

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Murray Kinsella

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