DOOM AND GLOOM pervades the Scottish papers following their comprehensive loss to Ireland on Saturday.
The Daily Record reports that Scotland centre Graeme Morrison felt “numb” following the weekend’s match. He said:
“We let them score a couple of soft tries and when you play against a team such as Ireland you are not going to come back from that.
“The second half was a step back. The feeling was night and day compared with France a fortnight ago, it was really flat.”
Meanwhile, this sense of pessimism is shared by the supporters if an ongoing poll in the paper is anything to go by.
Asked where Scotland will finish in this year’s Six Nations Championship, an overwhelming 48.8% voted “last,” indicating they are far from confident about their side’s chances against Italy next week.
Meanwhile, The Scotsman reports that Andy Robinson’s job is on the line following their “horror show” against Ireland.
David Ferguson, a reporter from the paper, also expressed surprise at the low key atmosphere of the game, writing:
“The stadium was full, but when the final whistle sounded the atmosphere was strangely flat. Irish fans shrugged and Scots wandered out into the night, bemused, angry and struggling in vain to recall the memory of Croke Park. Even the picture of an improving team under Robinson was crumbling under the weight of a sixth straight Test defeat, and no amount of the fast-flowing black stuff on Baggot Street could alter that.”
Writing for the same paper, John Barclay described Scotland’s performance as “unacceptable,” while praising Ireland’s clinical finishing:
“Ireland defended well and took their chances, unlike us. They scored tries, and yes, we got one but there is no way that you can concede 22 points in a half of international rugby.”
In the Herald, Kevin Ferrie suggested Scotland had faced an Ireland side without their four best players, and lamented their inability to capitalise on the hosts’ misfortune:
“Had Scotland supporters been asked at the start of the season to name four Irish players they wanted to remove from their ranks they would probably have opted for Brian O’Driscoll, Paul O’Connell, Sean O’Brien and Connor Murray, all of whom were ruled out. In their absence the team was led by another injured player, Rory Best, having to battle with rib damage, just about the worst of problems for a front-row scrummagers.”
He also praised Ireland’s “excellent decision-making” and concluded: “In the end an 18-point winning margin surprised everyone in Ireland, whether local or visitor, but it did not flatter the home side such is the gulf between these teams.”
Meanwhile, writing for the same paper, Alasdair Reid praised the contribution of the understudies of Ireland’s missing men, writing:
“Donnacha Ryan, O’Connell’s understudy, won the man-of-the-match award. There was also a conspicuously effective contribution from Peter O’Mahony, who filled O’Brien’s place on the openside flank. Eoin Reddan, who took over from Murray at scrum-half, added more salt to Scotland’s wounds with a clever first-half try.”
Finally, Hamish Macdonell of the Caledonian Mercury summed up the media’s sense of disillusionment with the following sentence: “Let’s start with the positives because it won’t take long: Richie Gray.”
He added that Gray scored a try that “will have Ireland full-back Rob Kearney being ribbed about for years”.
He also criticised Ireland’s approach to the game, writing
“Ireland played the game very close to the edge of the laws all the time. There were at least two clear high tackles on Ruaridh Jackson and he was only on the field for the last 20 minutes. The Trimble tackle that put paid to Jones’ afternoon looked suspiciously lacking in any arms as the laws dictate and Ireland’s choke tackle worked occasionally in slowing down Scottish ball.”
Yet irrespective of this minor criticism, he ultimately echoed the view of the rest of the Scottish media in admitting that the best team triumphed on the day.