HELEN Nelson believes that Scotland have nothing to lose against Ireland this evening and can therefore “have some fun” as they bid to end a four-game losing run in this season’s TikTok Six Nations.

Nelson’s team beat the Irish in a World Cup qualifier at the start of the season, but the confidence they showed in that match has been conspicuously absent in the Championship up to now. They need another win tonight at the Kingspan Stadium in Belfast to have a hope of avoiding the Wooden Spoon, and Nelson believes the key to victory will be remembering how well they can play when on top of their game.

“It has been quite frustrating, especially the games against Italy and Wales,” the centre said. “There wasn’t much in those games.

“We’re going to have some fun with it this week. We have nothing to lose, so we want to tie it all together for our last game.

“The main frustration is knowing that we’re not playing to our potential at times. We speak a lot about respect: we don’t always earn respect from other teams, because we’re not putting the performance in to gain it.

“When we know how good we can be, that’s immensely frustrating. That’s driving us on. Last time we played against Ireland, it was a great team performance. We want to go and do that again and get that fire back in our bellies.”

Both teams are missing key players through injury at the end of a gruelling schedule which has seen the five rounds of the Championship played over just six weeks. Ireland also have some players away on sevens duty, have a less experienced squad, and were thumped 69-0 by England last weekend. But they remain favourites with some bookmakers - something that Nelson is comfortable with.

“Being the underdog is something we’re quite used to,” she added. “When the odds are against us, I think that’s sometimes when we play our best rugby.

“There’s no better feeling than winning when you’re away from home. I think we’ll relish that challenge. We’ve got nothing to lose. We don’t want to finish the campaign off on a frustrating note.

“We will have to be very good to beat them. It won’t be an easy game at all - they are very strong up front. We need to get our set piece firing and get the ball into the hands of our back three. We need to be patient and clinical when we get our chance.”