Ireland struggle to beat poor Scottish team

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Updated: February 27, 2011

Ireland struggled to beat a poor Scotland team in Murrayfield, Ronan O’Gara scored the try that won it for the away team.

The Irish scored three tries to none, with Jamie Heaslip and Eoin Reddan going over in the first half.
Ronan O’Gara scored and converted a try after the break to make it 21-9 to Ireland, but Scotland fought back.

Chris Paterson kicked 12 points while a drop-goal from replacement Dan Parks took Scotland to within three points.

RBS Six Nations
Scotland 18-21 Ireland – Murrayfield Result

71min (S) Parkes – Drop Goal
66min (S) Parkes – Penalty
54min (I) O’Gara – Conversion
53min (I) O’Gara – Try
40min (I) O’Gara – Missed Penalty
37min (S) Patterson – Penalty
29min (I) O’Gara – Conversion
28min (I) Redden – Try
20min (I) O’Gara – Missed Penalty
18min (S) Patterson – Penalty
16min (S) Patterson – Penalty
6min (I) O’Gara – Conversion
5min (I) Heaslip – Try
3min (S) Jackson – Missed Penalty

Match Tracker
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79min Scotland throw on Irish 22.
73min Scotland attacking on half way.
71min Parkes kicks a drop goal to leave three between the teams.
70min Scotland inside the Irish 22
69min Scotland win a scrum just inside the Irish half.
67min Leo Cullen & Johnny Sexton come on for Ireland.
66min Dan Parkes kicks a penalty to leave Scotland needing a try to win.
65min Scotland knock the ball on when they looked like they were in for a try.
63min Scotland attacking on half way.
60min Scotland throw five metres from their own line.
58min Patterson kicks a penalty , Scotland 12-21 Ireland.
54min O’Gara gets in under the posts and he also kicks the conversion.
52min Ireland still attacking inside in the Scottish 22.
50min Ireland attacking inside the Scottish 22.
45min Scotland down to fourteen men
43min Scotland scrum on half way.
41min O’Gara kicks the second half off
40min O’Gara misses the penalty.
38min Ireland brought back to half way but win a penalty.
36min Ireland attacking inside the Scotland 22.
31min Once again Ireland give away another silly penalty to let Scotland back in the match. Patterson kicks it
29min Redden goes over under the posts and O’Gara kicks the conversion.
27min Ireland win a 5 metre scrum, Should be a try coming.
26min Ireland attacking on half way.
20min O’Gara kicks it wide, Its a scrum to Scotland on half way.
20min This time Scotland give away a silly penalty, O’Gara set to kick it.
18min Again Ireland give away a silly penalty. Patterson again kicks it over
16min Scotland get a penalty, Patterson kicks it over.
14min Scotland still on the half way line.
11min Scotland attacking on half way
6min Heaslip gets over and O’Gara kicks the conversion.
5min Ireland get a break away and attack inside Scottish 22
4min Scotland on the attack inside the Irish half.
3min Silly penalty given away by Ireland, but jackson misses it.
1min Match kicked off by Scotland.
0min Its going to be a tough trip to Scotland for an Irish team who are very in and out.

TEAM NEWS
Scotland: 15-Chris Paterson, 14-Nikki Walker, 13-Nick De Luca, 12-Sean Lamont, 11-Max Evans, 10-Ruaridh Jackson, 9-Mike Blair, 8-Johnnie Beattie, 7-John Barclay, 6-Kelly Brown, 5-Alastair Kellock, 4-Richie Gray, 3-Moray Low, 2-Ross Ford, 1-Allan Jacobsen.
Replacements: 16-Scott Lawson, 17-Geoff Cross, 18-Nathan Hines, 19-Richie Vernon, 20-Rory Lawson, 21-Dan Parks, 22-Simon Danielli.

Ireland: 15-Luke Fitzgerald, 14-Tommy Bowe, 13-Brian O’Driscoll (captain), 12-Gordon D’Arcy, 11-Keith Earls, 10-Ronan O’Gara, 9-Eoin Reddan; 8-Jamie Heaslip, 7-David Wallace, 6-Sean O’Brien, 5-Paul O’Connell, 4-Donncha O’Callaghan, 3-Mike Ross, 2-Rory Best, 1-Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16-Sean Cronin, 17-Tom Court, 18-Leo Cullen, 19-Denis Leamy, 20-Peter Stringer, 21-Jonathan Sexton, 22-Paddy Wallace.

PREVIEW
Ireland -v- Scotland in Murrayfield. In years past the mere mention of this fixture would have sent shivers down the spine of many the Irish rugby fan. Alas, the current team has no such hang ups about the trip to Edinburgh.

Scotland led by the ever pugnacious Andy Robinson are a poor man’s version of the England 2003 side. That memorable English side had Robinson as their forwards coach and the game that the Scot’s attempt to play now is forwards oriented with the emphasis also on the outhalf to kick the ball at will.

It’s been a funny year for Scotland. The 2010 Six Nations campaign campaign ended encouragingly for them with victory in Croke Park against Ireland. They then followed this up with a positive summer tour of Argentina and beat the Puma’s twice which is no mean feat.

The Autumn test series then arrived and viewers of BBC were treated to a pre match prediction from Chris Cusiter that Scotland could beat the All Blacks. 80 minutes later, the Scots had been obliterated 49 points to 3!

They then followed that up with victory against the Springboks but it’s been all downhill since then. They started encouragingly enough against France in Paris in this year’s tournement but the performance against Wales was atrocious. It brought back memories of Robinson’s time in charge of England with players bereft of inspiration and seemingly straitjacketed by formations and systems ad nauseum.

Nevertheless, it is surprising that Robinson has seemingly panicked and diverted from his settled team. 7 changes have been made by the Scots here with the most eye catching being the dropping of Dan Parks in favour of the novice Ruairidh Jackson at fly half.

The danger for Ireland then this weekend is that the Scot’s will be hurt and angry at their displays to date and will know that a big scalp like Ireland could rescue their season.

Ireland for years struggled in Murrayfield and returned home a beaten docket time and again. In 2009 and the year of the Grand Slam, the Scottish fixture is often forgotten by fans. It was however a crucial game and Kidney managed it brilliantly by rejigging the team with 4 changes for that game.

The time was re-energised by the inclusion of Peter Stringer, Denis Leamy, Rory Best and Gordon Darcy and escaped with victory in no small part due to Jamie Heaslip’s crucial late try.

Thus, it is no surprise that the Corkonian has opted for change again here. O’ Gara deserves a game and has always played well in Murrayfield.Similarly Reddan has been a good contributor for Leinster whilst Tommy Bowe was always likely to start once fit.

However, it should not be seen that Jonathan Sexton has been dropped. Instead, I believe that O’ Gara had been chalked down for this fixture from the outset. I fully expect Sexton and O’ Leary to be the 9 and 10 combination for the final two games of the tournament.

Prediction

The prognosis then is that the backline will learn the lessons from the French match and will add more variety to their game by kicking occasionally to relieve pressure. The sluggish Scots won’t be able to cope with Ireland’s fast paced game plan.

If the men in green can bring the intensity from the previous game to Scotland, then they should win it with a score to spare. This game is fraught with danger and Scotland are primed for a big performance but I expect Ireland to emerge unscathed nonetheless.

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