Luke Marshall on the charge against Scotland. ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

As it happened: Scotland v Ireland, 6 Nations

Paddy Jackson and Luke Marshall made their Test debuts in a game of Irish possession and setpiece disasters.

TIME TO GET back on track after a battle with the English brick walls in Dublin?

Scotland were on the up after an impressive home win over Italy but Ireland should have had too much class for the hosts.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the match. E-mail, tweet @thescore_iepost a message to our Facebook wall, or leave a comment below.

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Scotland 12-8 Ireland

Good afternoon and welcome along to our liveblog of all the antics, near-catastrophes and heroic debuts by Ulstermen. We’ll keep you up to date with all the latest from Murrayfield over the next three and a half hours.

Ireland are not willing to give up the Six Nations title chase after one soggy mishap against England. Paddy Jackson, Luke Marshall, Donncha O’Callaghan and Tom Court are in green from the start today against a Scottish team that have rediscovered that winning feeling.

Sean Farrell was on Carton House duty for us this week and has a number of interesting and rousing articles to get you in the mood. To get into the match spirit you can read his interviews with Brian O’Driscoll, Keith Earls and Paddy Jackson.

Mr Farrell has also, very kindly, put together the three key battles that should decide today’s encounter in Edinburgh. You can read it here.

Over in our Open Thread, we asked for match scoreline predictions. Stephen McMahon believes Ireland will win 25-15, ‘Lashes’ says Ireland by 2 and ‘B Collins’ has called it Ireland’s by 5. Best comment so far comes from Philip Dolan:

If we lose to Scotland today the IRFU should be disbanded, all records of past involvement destroyed, and the fact we ever played the game erased from the national conscience.”

Let’s get the predictions going on the liveblog. How do you think Ireland will fare – Narrow win, Argentinean style romp or a Scotland victory?

RTÉ have put out their latest pre-match promo and makes an appearance. Go us. Check it out and let us know what you make of Jackson’s selection ahead of Ronan O’Gara [and Ian Madigan].

YouTube credit: rte

The last time these two sides met at Murrayfied was a World Cup 2011 warm-up game in 2011. The Scots won and only three Irish players from that matchday 22 will feature today: Rob Kearney, Tom Court and Donnacha Ryan. All change.

Headphones for Luke Marshall. Earls like headphones for Greg Feek. (©INPHO/Dan Sheridan)

“It’s a big task for the lad but if we didn’t believe in him, we wouldn’t pick him,”

- Declan Kidney on Paddy Jackson

The teams are running out at Murrayfield as bagpipers squeen [word?] music out from the roof. Good view of the action for them.

Here’s an interesting bit of pre-match news and an insight into the world of ROG:

Luke Marshall watched Brian O’Driscoll’s early forays in green as a nine-year-old. He partners BOD in the Irish midfield today:

KICK-OFF! Ruairidh Jackson and Paddy Jackson trade kicks and Ireland claim their first lineout. The Irish 10 then spills an easy Murray pass and the Scots have a scrum.

Early engagement from the Scots and Ireland get a free kick. Pumped up to Hogg, who spills and Ireland get their first attacking scrum. Tom Court pops up and the penalty goes to the home side. Newbies from Ulster not starting well.

Ross Ford grapples Ryan around the neck to scupper a dangerous Irish maul. Irish lineout claimed by O’Mahony and Jackson does well in a sweeping move off the back of that setpiece. Laidlaw blocks a Kearney grubber kick so Ireland get another lineout.

Stunning break from Luke Marshall as he snipes up the centre and eludes to Scots. His long, weighted pass finds Earls, who almost gets through in the corner. O’Driscoll then feints a pass to Marshall out left but is held up. Ireland get the penalty and Jackson goes for the line rather than the three points. It turns out to be a bad call as the lineout is lost. Ireland are then penalised at the breakdown and Scotland clear. Hamilton pinched that lineout.

CLOSE! Marshall the man again as he takes a Jackson pass, steps inside and sprints 30 metres clear. His pass to Gilroy just needed to be on target, rather than forward, and the winger would have been free.

Irish scrum collapses in the next phase of play [forward pass by Marshall] and Scotland hoof clear through Jackson. Worrying signs at scrum time.

Marshall has made 43 metres on his two carries so far. In the coaches box, Anthony Foley scribbles furiously. Is there a Plan B for Tom Court’s woes?

YELLOW CARD: Ryan Grant of Scotland impedes Murray from taking a quick-tap penalty and Jackson has a penalty attempt coming up.

MISS: From near the right touchline Jackson skews his 25 metre penalty attempt right an wide. Still 0-0 after 17 minutes. Bad miss.

Ireland still rocking at the scrum, but they have a quick confab and win a penalty on the next one. Jackson kicks Ireland up to the Scottish 22 – attacking lineout coming up. Best throws a shocker and another chance is passed up.

Smidge harsh on D’Arcy but Marshall is playing well.

Visser wraps up Gilroy on the wing as the Scots press up and starve Ireland of space. Scott Johnson and his coaching staff have made a quick study of Ireland and are cutting out the room in the backline. Gilroy with a fine take in the air and Keith Earls races free on a 50-metre break, beating three men before backing himself [rather than pass to O'Driscoll in support] and he is dragged into touch 10 metres out.

Scotland back to full strength as Grant rumbles back on. Ireland and Best blow another lineout. All sparkle but no finish from the visitors so far.

Maitland wins an aerial duel with Earls, who is leg to grasp the Kiwi’s ankle. Scots promising attack is spoiled by a forward pass and Ireland do well on their scrum put-in. 28 minutes gone.

Harley gives away a penalty for not releasing Ryan in the tackle. Another lineout coming up in the Scots’ 22. Harley poaches it. Best has lost his radar. Fourth lost lineout by my count.

Harley takes O’Mahony out mid-air. Looks bad in the replay but the blindside will not be cautioned any further than the penalty. ANOTHER lineout  in the Scottish 22 and this one is claimed. Solid, moving maul develops…

Maul is brought down illegally. Brave/stupid call as Ireland kick for the line. O’Mahony claims and the Scots use foul means [not spotted] to stop another maul. Constant infringements by the home side at the breakdown and another penalty is given. More cards sure to follow. Jackson will go for the posts.

PENALTY: Paddy Jackson (’35) Scotland 0-3 Ireland

The outhalf slots over from 20 metres out and just to the left of the posts. Ireland hit the front.

Scorers for Galway: Joe Canning 0-3 (3fs), Davy Glennon 1-0, Niall Healy 1-0, Damien Hayes 1-0, Aidan Harte 0-1.
Scorers for Kilkenny: Richie Power 0-4 (1f, 165), R Hogan 0-3 (3fs), Tommy Walsh 0-1, Lester Ryan 0-1, Aidan Fogarty 0-1.

O’Driscoll’s mind is working as he tries a grubber for Earls to chase but it skitters over the touchline. Earls then levitates to claim a high ball but is swamped by Maitland and Kelly Brown. Not releasing and Scotland get a pre-break kick at the posts. Hogg lines up a 51 metre effort. Just short but it was on target.


A commenter [below] has called that half “poo”. Hard to argue but there were some brighter nuggets through Marshall early doors and Earls [in attack]. Shame we can’t secure reliable ball at the lineout because our maul is trucking well.

Ireland have rectified their scrum in the second 20 minutes of that half. On-field tinkering helping Tom Court. Ireland have had 78% possession in that first half. Set pieces needed to make the Scots pay.

What change would reap the biggest benefit for Ireland?

Poll Results:

Kilcoyne for Court (184)
Fitzgerald for Earls (136)
O'Gara for Jackson (119)
Cronin for Best (99)

Here is what one of our Canada based readers, David Elkin, thinks of Jackson’s first half: “That nervous missed penalty aside, Jackson is looking good. Keep an eye out for his kicks to touch – he is making serious ground. As well as running the back line well.”

KICK-OFF! Scotland claim the restart. O’Brien and O’Mahony need to show for the ball and make some yards in this half.

TRY! Gilroy (’43) Scotland 0-8 Ireland

O’Brien takes the ball on the charge and gets into the Scottish 22 but trips on the scrappy turf. Kearney carries well up the right. Three phases before Gilroy gets the pop-up, spins and crashes over.

Jackson skims the post with his conversion effort. There was some afters following that try with Earls and Hogg mixing it in the middle of the forwards.

Penalties now coming at the scrum and some back patting for Ross and Court. Short lineout then won by Ryan and Heaslip shows for yet another carry. 49 minutes on the clock. Zero attacking intent from the Scots so far.

Kearney runs into a front row wall in the midfield and O’Callaghan gets penalised for trying to mop up after the fullback’s folly. Hamilton claims the Scottosh lineout and an attacking platform develops deep in Irish territory. O’Brien is whistled for offside and Laidlaw will go for the sticks.

PENALTY: Laidlaw (’52) Scotland 3-8 Ireland

Simple enough for Greig and he slots it over. Kilcoyne on for Court. O’Brien almost immediately wins back an Irish penalty and Jackson steps up for the three-pointer…

A poor miss right and wide as Jackson skews another penalty attempt. One from four for the 21-year-old so far. Ireland with 81% possession so far but another penalty coming Scotland’s way as Best does not release in the tackle. Should be out of range for Laidlaw and Hogg so Jackson goes for the line.

Gilroy dives over for his try. (©INPHO/Billy Stickland)

PENALTY: Laidlaw (’59) Scotland 6-8 Ireland

Geoff Cross and the Scottish scrum pile into the Irish front row and another penalty is awarded. Laidlaw knocks it over from straight in front. Luke Fitzgerald comes on for Gilroy.

PENALTY: Laidlaw (’63) Scotland 9-8 Ireland

Ireland are rocking. O’Driscoll needs to put in a big wraparound tackle on Brown as the Scots press for a try. Laidlaw knows there is a penalty coming so chips over the top. Brown claims the try but Jackson had hacked clear.

Here comes O’Gara and Jackson’s debut is over. “Then a hero comes along… “

Heaslip spoils good Irish position outside the Scottish 22 by going off his feet. 14 minutes remaining.

Good crossfield chip by O’Gara but a hesitant Fitzgerald spills forward. Some mid-game stats as Reddan comes on for Murray: Ireland have made 103 carries to 28 from the home side. They have gained 285 metres to 91. O’Brien gives away another penalty for going off his feet and Weir thumps the ball deep into Irish territory.

Nice steal at the breakdown, O’Mahony on Hamilton, and the penalty is won. Scotland get the ball back as Earls loses out to Scott in the air – should have been his ball. O’Callaghan and O’Mahony coming off for Toner and Henderson. Eight minutes to go.

PENALTY: Laidlaw (’74) Scotland 12-8 Ireland

OH MY GOD! Ronan O’Gara has a brain freeze. He miscues a dink in the midfield and Scott pounces. He knees it forward, Marshall dithers in defence and O’Driscoll has to swallow it up near his line. Somehow Ireland hang on but O’Gara can’t find touch. Kilcoyne goes offside and Laidlaw kicks Scotland further ahead.

“Self-destruct” from O’Gara says Tony Ward.

Scotland concede a penalty. O’Driscoll makes the call [where is Jamie?] as Ireland go for the corner. Three minutes to go…

Ireland piling into Scottish jerseys but Kearney runs straight into Ross in a ruck. Scots get a scrum with a minute on the clock. They need to pressure the Scottish scrum and NOW…

Penalty at the scrum. Irish ball…

Ireland need to keep it alive but O’Gara’s HIGH pass to Marshall is fumbled forward by the Ulsterman. The knock-on is a heart-breaking end for Marshall and Ireland lose.

Good grief that was woeful.


80% possession but Ireland manage to lose. Eight points missed from the boot of Jackson. Absolute disaster for Ireland.

George Hook on RTE believes Declan Kidney has taken Ireland as far as they can go. “He ought to go,” adds the irascible pundit.

Do you agree with Hookie? Should Kidney step down now or, which is more likely, be allowed to see out the Six Nations and step down before the summer tour to North America?

Thank you for your company today. Stay with us for player ratings, post-match reaction, video highlights and opinions. I need a chocolate biscuit after that.

6 Nations: 3 key battles Ireland must win in Murrayfield

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