Scott Hastings has been on both sides of Triple Crown deciders and believes Scotland’s current crop have what it takes to emulate the Class of 1990 and scratch a 23-year itch this weekend.
The centre was an integral part of the last Scotland side to complete a clean sweep against Wales, Ireland and England, famously culminating in a 13-7 victory over the latter at a rocking Murrayfield.
That win secured a Grand Slam as well as the Triple Crown and while that particular double is no longer be possible for Gregor Townsend’s side following defeat in Paris last time out, Hastings is confident they can bounce back in style against an Ireland side looking for a fourth straight win.
“It is a fascinating match up between two sides of real quality,” he said.
“Ireland have wonderful ball carriers and they are a very polished team but Scotland can afford to concentrate more on their own game.
“Scotland have the ability to beat Ireland and they have to use that home advantage at Murrayfield to get that crowd behind them. Looking back to our last Triple Crown I was part of, that was what drove us to victory that day.
“If Scotland can thrive off that energy, it’s about them performing rather than worrying what Ireland can do.
“Records are there to be broken and Scotland winning a Triple Crown would be a massive feat in this professional age. It’s a marvellous opportunity.”
Hastings shone alongside brother Gavin in the Scotland backline in 1990, with Scott’s try-saving tackle on Rory Underwood in the win over England one of several moments from that campaign etched into folklore.
He pinpoints a focus on enjoyment as key to the feelgood factor which carried that side to a Championship title and recognises a similar freedom in the current set-up, not least in the midfield.
“The mood in our camp was pure excitement, there was a lot of fun had,” he said.
“We knew we had the ability to beat England so it was about keeping that pressure cooker under control so we could take on a side who were playing the best rugby in the Championship.
“There was an understanding that day was ours to be had and Murrayfield delivered an extraordinary atmosphere.
“This year, Scotland have played some breath-taking rugby, with Finn Russell pulling the strings and sprinkling magic dust across that team.
“The centre partnership of Sione Tuipulotu and Huw Jones has been spectacular, they have an intuitive understanding with Russell, and Jones has been in scintillating form. Russell is allowing him a freedom which he is using to carve up the Championship.”
The 1990 decider has since been immortalised by books and documentaries but as much as the 58-year-old enjoys his trips down memory lane, he believes it is time for this generation of Scottish stars to start writing their own stories.
“There is a little bit of embarrassment that it is only the third Grand Slam Scotland have ever won,” he said.
“For me, there were missed opportunities along the way to have more success – I was part of teams who lost Grand Slam deciders in 1995 and 1996.
“By the same token, when you get opportunities to talk about and watch the old footage – which seems so archaic, looking back now – it reminds you it was a wonderful time in our lives.
“We met up last year, the ‘84 and ‘90 Grand Slam sides, and each team paid homage to each other with Jim Telfer and Ian McGeechan very much part of those celebrations.
“Hopefully, on Sunday, we can have a few more of those celebrations on the back of a famous win.”