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Irish strength in depth gives Kidney options

The competition for places is pushing Ireland forward in their bid for a Grand Slam in this year's Six Nations, says Rory Best.

The competition for places is pushing Ireland forward in their bid for a Grand Slam in this year's Six Nations, says Rory Best. Despite winning all three games to date in this year's tournament, the Irish coach Declan Kidney has made four changes to his starting XV for today's clash with Scotland at Murrayfield, with Best, Gordon D'Arcy, Peter Stringer and Denis Leamy coming in respectively for Jerry Flannery, Paddy Wallace, Tomas O'Leary and Jamie Heaslip.

Best said: "With three wins from three there is that extra bit of competition for places now. "The guys who have been dropped were playing well and it was made clear to us that they were all very tight calls. Now there's that extra pressure that you put on yourself to perform because the team needs it." Scotland won their first game of the tournament against Italy two weeks ago, but back-row forward Simon Taylor is realistic about the task he and his teammates face against the only team with a 100 per cent record.

"They've been excellent so far," he said of Ireland. "They're going to hold on to the ball for a lot of phases, your defence has got to be rock solid, you've got to match them. "When you've got the ball, you've got to run harder than them. It comes down to a battle of wills. "They're obviously the favourites and it's going to be a tough match. * PA Sport