sport

Ryan: Work brings results

Scotland have no right to expect a second RBS 6 Nations victory in as many games when they face Ireland, forwards coach Dean Ryan claims.

This month's 34-10 win over the Azzurri has raised anticipation amongst supporters that the Scots can mount a serious title challenge.

But former England flanker Ryan, brought in to partner interim head coach Scott Johnson following the resignation of Andy Robinson after the side were stunned by Tonga last November, insists their first Championship success in two years means little when held up against the nation's previously shabby record.

Before beating Italy, Scotland had lost four matches in a row as defeats to New Zealand, South Africa and Tonga were then followed up by a 38-18 loss in their Six Nations opener.

It is also 12 years since the team mustered back-to-back wins in the tournament and Ryan claims Scotland must first prove themselves as consistent performers before they can start talking up their chances.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow's Murrayfield meeting with the Irish, he said: "Just being here for two or three weeks, it's a hell of a roller-coaster ride when you win.

"We've been in every paper, on every news bulletin, and it's a new dawn and everything else.

"But we have got to work really hard and start again. If we can string two wins together it's two wins. And then we will build it on from there.

"I'm very wary about the word expectation being thrown around, because I'm not sure this group warrants it.

"We have got to work really hard to win Test matches. We have no history of winning Test matches regularly. We can't just turn up and beat Ireland.

"It has to be put in perspective. We have won a game against Italy and the two before that were not great.

"Suddenly we are this attacking side with Lions contenders. But we are not. We have got to understand that.

"We are a side that is starting something and we have to understand how hard they will have to work just to be in a contest."

The former Gloucester boss admits he can understand the desperation of the nation's rugby supporters to finally taste success but stressed the squad must be shielded from the intense pressure that puts upon them.

He added: "We have spent a lot of time making sure that the expectations don't filter into the squad.

"The media and everyone else in Scotland can be delighted with that win and are desperate for more. But we have got to be really careful.

"Three games ago we lost to Tonga and two games ago we were badly beaten by England. Now we have won a game against Italy. That's the state of affairs we have got to get used to.

"Until that changes there is not an expectation or assumption that we can enter any contest with a degree of confidence that we are going to win.

"We have got to start right at the bottom each time until we can start stringing them together. It's no accident that this nation has not managed successive victories for 12 years."