Match report: London calling for four-star Ireland

Declan Kidney’s men will travel to Twickenham to face England next week in good spirits after seeing off a determined but one dimensional Scottish side.

Eoin Reddan gets over for a first-half try.
Eoin Reddan gets over for a first-half try.
Image: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

A FOUR-TRY performance and stand-out performances from Stephen Ferris, Mike Ross and Eoin Reddan saw Ireland beat Scotland 32-14 at the Aviva Stadium this evening.

Declan Kidney’s men will travel to Twickenham to face England next week in good spirits after seeing off a determined but one dimensional Scottish side.

Scotland were forced to make a late change to their line-up with Max Evans coming in at centre for the injured Nick de Luca.

The visitors got off to a better start when Ireland did not retreat enough following a penalty against the scrum. Greg Laidlaw had the simple task of slotting over a penalty in front of the posts.

Tommy Bowe and Rob Kearney were to the fore in the opening exchanges but there was no early repeat of last week’s heroics.
Rory Best’s suspect line-out throwing first surfaced against the Italians, carried over into Paris, and was the catalyst for Scotland’s second penalty, again converted by Laidlaw, on 10 minutes.

Jonny Sexton opted to kick for touch when Scotland were penalised three minutes later and Best found the stretched paws of Donncha Ryan to set up an attack five yards out. Ryan fed Peter O’Mahony who, in turn, delivered the ball back for captain Best to crash over in the corner. Sexton endured Sean Lamont’s diversionary tactics to convert and put Ireland 7-6 ahead.

Stephen Ferris continued his excellent form of late in scrambling for a penalty and nerves settled as further line-outs from Best were claimed by Jamie Heaslip and Ryan. Mike Ross then drove Allan Jacobsen downwards in the scrum on 24 minutes and Sexton made no mistake with the resulting penalty.

Forward momentum from a Kearney break down the right was squandered when Ryan knocked on in the tackle. A Scottish clearance was gathered by Best but he was dragged over the touchline and Scotland pressed for a try of their own.

Two conceded penalties were kicked for touch before Laidlaw opted to go for the posts. 10-9 on 32 minutes but Eoin Reddan was about to make his mark on the game. Heaslip barged up the centre and Ireland, with considerable zeal, worked the ball left. Reddan gathered the ball at the base of the ruck and feigned to pass before riding tackles from Laidlaw and John Barclay. He sprung from a kneeling start to snipe over for his third international try.

With Sexton converting as the clock ticked 35 minutes, Ireland led 17-9. An innocuous attack on the left flank was lit up when the ball found its way to Richie Gray. The giant lock fended off Reddan and Bowe before wrong-footing Kearney to score. Laidlaw’s conversion effort struck the post. There was still time left for the Scots to get themselves in further trouble with a botched clearance attempt. Ireland took full advantage when the Reddan and Ferris combined to set Andrew Trimble up for a tilt at the left corner. The Ulster winger powered over and, despite a missed Sexton conversion, Ireland led 22-14 at the break.

A slow start to the second-half was ignited by breaks from Kearney and Keith Earls. The Scots conceded a penalty for hands in the ruck and Sexton made a swift decision to take a quick cross-field kick to Bowe.  The right-winger writhed under the challenge of Graeme Morrison on the tryline but was denied his sixth tournament try for an adjudged double movement.

Substitutions from both sides and Scottish pressure dominated minutes 50 to 60. Gordon D’Arcy, who was underwhelming in the centre, was replaced by Ronan O’Gara and Tomas O’Leary returned from the international wilderness. The game was held up for five minutes when Andrew Trimble and Lee Jones clashed heads. Jones was pole-axed and required extended medical treatment before being taken from the field on a medical cart.

Ireland wrested the initiative back in the final quarter and starting to wheel the Scottish scrum. After the third instance in 10 minutes, New Zealand referee Chris Pollock awarded a penalty and Sexton duly converted to make it 25-14 with 10 minutes left on the clock.

A fantastic Kearney break took Ireland into the Scottish “22 and Max Evans was yellow carded for pulling back Earls as he chased down a grubber kick and a certain try.

Scrums wore down the last of the Scottish resistance and O’Leary went close before McFadden dived under the posts. Sexton’s simple conversion made it 32-14.


IRELAND – Best, Reddan, Trimble, McFadden try each; Sexton three cons, two pens

SCOTLAND – Gray try; Laidlaw three pens

IRELAND: R Kearney (F McFadden 73); T Bowe, K Earls, G D’Arcy (O’Gara 53), A Trimble; J Sexton, E Reddan (O’Leary 53); C Healy, R Best (capt) (Sean Cronin 53), M Ross (T Court 77), D O’Callaghan (M McCarthy 77), D Ryan, S Ferris, P O’Mahony (S Jennings 61), J Heaslip.
Replacements: S Cronin, T Court, M McCarthy, S Jennings, T O’Leary, R O’Gara, F McFadden

SCOTLAND: S Hogg; L Jones (M Scott 61), M Evans, G Morrison, S Lamont; G Laidlaw (R Jackson 55), M Blair (Cusiter 49); A Jacobsen, R Ford (capt), G Cross (E Murray 46), R Gray, J Hamilton (A Kellock 59), J Barclay, R Rennie (R Vernon 58), D Denton.

Replacements: S Lawson, E Murray, A Kellock, R Vernon, C Cusiter, R Jackson, M Scott

As it happened: Ireland v Scotland, Six Nations

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