Six Nations

After wins for Wales and France, can Ireland hit the ground running when they take on Scotland

Carl O'Malley Sun, Feb 2
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  • Years, they've spent, bating him, booting him, berating him and in the end it was a chest infection that ruled Paul O'Connell out of commission.

    If you've not heard, the Munster monster has been laid low this afternoon, just hours before Ireland's opening exchanges in the 2014 Six Nations. A mere chest infection is the prognosis, though surely it must be something more akin to pneumonia.

    In his stead, Dan Tuohy will partner Devin Toner, and Ulster's Iain Henderson, unlucky to have missed out on the 23 in the first place, will offer cover for the DTs from the bench.
  • Ireland: R Kearney (Leinster); D Kearney (Leinster), B O’Driscoll (Leinster), L Marshall (Ulster), A Trimble (Ulster); J Sexton (Racing Metro), C Murray (Munster); C Healy (Leinster), R Best (Ulster), M Ross (Leinster); D Toner (Leinster), D Tuohy (Ulster); P O’Mahony (Munster), C Henry (Ulster), J Heaslip (Leinster, capt).

    Replacements: S Cronin (Leinster), J McGrath (Leinster), M Moore (Leinster), I Henderson (Ulster), T O’Donnell (Munster), I Boss (Leinster), P Jackson (Ulster), F McFadden (Leinster).

    Scotland: S Hogg (Glasgow); S Maitland (Glasgow), A Dunbar (Glasgow), D Taylor (Saracens), S Lamont (Glasgow); D Weir (Glasgow), G Laidlaw (Edinburgh); R Grant (Glasgow), R Ford (Edinburgh), M Low (Glasgow), T Swinson (Glasgow), J Hamilton (Montpellier), R Wilson (Glasgow), K Brown (Saracens, capt), D Denton (Edinburgh).

    Replacements: P MacArthur (Glasgow), A Dickinson (Edinburgh), G Cross (Edinburgh), R Gray (Castres), J Beattie (Montpellier), C Cusiter (Glasgow), M Scott (Edinburgh), M Evans (Castres).

    Craig Joubert (South Africa).

  • Jamie Heaslip, or 'Henderson' if you are Tom McGurk, will captain the side in O'Connell's absence.
  • "Guys have to step up," says O'Shea, who alongside Brent Pope at the Aviva reckons its impact on the Scottish side will be as big as on the Irish side.
  • It's catching in the studio, the trouble with the names, as George Hook, no stranger to getting himself in a muddle, suggests 'Andy Gray' rather than lock Richie Gray can come off the bench.


  • Brian O'Driscoll, of course, is on the pitch today. A firing squad wouldn't stop him from making his record 129th appearance today.  
  • When it comes to BOD, Irish Times rugby corr Gerry Thornley has seen it all. Here's his tribute to the great #13  
  • O'Connell didn't "sleep a lot during the night", according to Joe Schmidt, which really should balance things out, considering most of his opponents don't sleep that well on the eve of games either.  
  • Consistency after New Zealand "is a massive challenge, especially with a fair few changes in the group and losing Paul O'Connell and Seán O'Brien," says Schmidt.  
  • Scotland coach Scott Johnson says his side are on the up, and we should "hold on to our seatbelts". He's been talking up a big performance from his side this week.  
  • Shane Horgan and Ronan O'Gara on the touchline.

    Rog says it is a "monumental" blow to lose Brian O'Connell, Crikey, lads, names! He's practically your best mate for God's sake.

  • Anywho, ROG really is pretty down about the absence of O'Connell, admitting he's bias, but that Ireland will miss the big man's "psychotic eyes".
  • Bob Don't know if we can be too confident without O'Connell and O'Brien. Slightly concerned now.
  • Shaggy's looking increasing polished on the box here. He's leading the conversation with ROG, who says 'I think' a lot, well.
  • Hooky reckons 50 per cent of the games in this Six Nations will be affected by the referee. I reckon it's closer to 100 per cent.  
  • They're still coming to terms with the loss of O'Connell in the studio. Tom McGurk's senses the "mood has dropped".

  • It's a grand day for it anyhow and kick off is just 8 minutes away. The teams are out on the pitch, the fireworks have blown the ears off everyone, and here's Micky D.
  • Pic fail from the SRU.
  • Michael D Higgins and IRFU president Pat Fitzgerald shaking hands with rugby players is like that scene in Lord of the Rings when the hobbits meet the ents.
  • That was probably one of the best renditions of Ireland's Call I can remember Ryle Nugent's rare nasal twang gets Ireland's 2014 Six Nations underway.

    Or, more accurately, Duncan Weir's boot does.

  • 1 min:  Sexton puts one high but Stuart Hogg fields well and Scotland go wide.  
  • Scotland patient and accurate but Ireland diligent in defence. Hogg doing some damage in possession as Ireland are gradually pushed back into their own 22.
  • 3 min:  But Scotland are pinged for holding on and Chris Henry gets the pats on the back from his team-mates for his work ar the break down. Sexton finds touch.
  • Healip  takes Best's ball
  • Ireland swamped and this time they are pinged by Joubert and Laidlaw has an early sight of the posts from the 10m line. Routine
  • but it's off the post!! And Rob Kearney taps it down.
  • 6 min:   Sexton fields and is rolled into touch. Scotland take it quick but Ireland turn it over and Kearney clears.

    Great work from Peter O'Mahony.

  • Scotland lose their first lineout and Ireland are on the front foot. Kearney and then Heaslip straightens the line. Sexton dinks in behind and Hogg hurriedly clears.

    Lineout Ireland well inside the 22

  • Ireland take and roll on towards the Scottish line but Ireland didn't use it, according to Joubert and Scotland can clear if there scrum holds up on the 5m line
  • 9 min:  They were inches from the line there
  • Still 0-0 here after 10 minutes
  • Scottish scrum under pressure but #8 Denton takes it fro the back and they clear through Laidlaw. Up to the 22
  • Lineout Ireland.
  • 12 min:  Overthrown by Best, Scotland take but Maitland kicks to R Kearney. Penalty Ireland after Scots did not roll away. Kelly Brown the guilty party.
  • First sight of the posts for Sexton. Just to the left of the posts, well inside the 10m line.
  • 13 min:  It's over. Ireland 3-0 Scotland  
  • Helmut Schmidt in Germany. Reading it online as I couldn't make it to Ned Kelly's pub in Munich for business reasons. Come on your boys in GREEN!!!
  • Ooooof, O'Driscoll's pass out of the tackle to Henry is just too low for the flanker. Almost a wonderful offload from the centre.
  • 15 min:  Scrum Scotland on halfway.  
  • The Scottish frontrow getting a talking to by Joubert. Ireland have looked dominant so far, but they're steadier this time.
  • Sexton takes a boot in the gop after lying on the wrong side. Scotland still have and giving it some width up to 10m line.
  • 18 min: Ireland done for not rolling away. Laidlaw levels it up. Ireland 3-3 Scotland  

    That Sexton incicent was a little more sinister than it seemed at first glance. Outhalf was nowwhere near the ball and Kelly Brown dished out a bit of a needless shoeing.

  • BOD dinks one in behind and it looked like Dave Kearney was tripped as he chased but nothing from the ref. Ireland penalty after Scotland called offside
  • 22 min:  Sexton steps up. Should be straight forward.
  • It is! Ireland 6-3 Scotland
  • 23 min: Weir restarts. Kearney's clearance knocked on and Ireland attack wtih Marshsall and then the fullback again. But Ireland lose it and Scotland retrieve and attack with duncan taylor.
  • The ball spills loose but Scotland hang on to it amid a flurry of ruck and counter-ruck before Kearney puts Laidlaw's dinked kick into touch.
  • Scotland take and maul, then go wide.
  • Joubert calls it back after Ireland (Cian Healy) collapsed the maul. Weir aims for touch and sets up a Scottish lineout just outside the 22.
  • Scott Johnson wasn't lying about this Scottish performance. It's not yielding much yet but they are ambitious.

    On this occasion they are forced back, however. On the halfway now.

  • Kearney does brilliantly to keep Laidlaw's kick in play and then horses a clearance down the line.
  • Magnificent skill to keep it in play but Scotland come again.
  • 28 min:  Hogg pushes a kick into the corner.Best steps up.
  • O'Mahony takes.  
  • saul Are we making them look good or are they just good ?
  • The maul collapsed and Scotland have the scrum 5m out. Danger here.
  • Ireland put a big push in but Denton takes from the back and is almost thorugh Heaslip and  D Kearney until, Murray and O'Mahony arrive to shove him into touch.

    Touhy takes the lineout and Murray clears well.

  • 31 min:  Scotland lose a third lineout and Maitland looks to have badly hurt his right ankle
  • He limps off, which, considering the replay we just saw, is a miracle.
  • 32 min: Back on the pitch it's an Ireland scrum. They still lead 6-3
  • Saul, they are playing very well, far more accurate than Ireland at the moment, but their setpiece is letting them down. The opposite could be said for Ireland.
  • Ireland fling it wide but the pass to R Kearney is awful and Scotland steam through to reclaim possession.

    Weir considers a drop at goal but foregoes it. Lamont takes it into contact.

  • Fantastic offload from Hogg, the pick of the players so far, but Ireland win it back after Scotland hold on, thanks to Peter O'Mahony
  • 36 min: Ireland lineout, but it's not straight!! Very sloppy stuff from Ireland and Best.
  • Deirdre captiva Florida Come on Ireland settle down
  • Denton takes it on again. He's done well with ball in hand but Dave Kearney clears for Ireland after Laidlaw's kick is gathered.
  • Try Ireland ... maybe??
  • What a break form Sexton, stunning step and turn of pace and then a sumptious pass to Heaslip on the touchline.
  • But no try!!
  • Heaslip's foot was in touch it was the right call.  
  • Scotland lose another lineout and Ireland have a pen if they want it.
  • Sexton's cross kick is way off cue but it's called back.
  • Ireland go for touch, Best to throw.
  • Toner to Heaslip.
  • TRY IRELAND. Murray takes on, then Healy before it goes wide and Andrew Trimble is in in the corner!!!!
  • Ireland 11-3 Scotland  
  • Sexton lines the last kick of the half up.
  • Wrong side for him and not far off the touchline.
  • And he's pushed it left and wide.

    HALFTIME: Ireland 11 Scotland 3

  • Gearoid O Murchu Go neiri leis na hEireannaigh. Ni feidir feachaint ar an gluiche anseo i Ranong, Thailand
  • Maith an fear!
  • Patrick Dempsey Following this from my hotel room in Damascus; 80 channels on the TV here but (perhaps not too surprisingly) none showing the match!
  • It's hard to overtsate how good Sexton's break was in that half, he beat six players with two steps inside and a burst of pace, then looked wide and flung a 20 yard pass right into the arms of Heaslip running full pelt. It was magical stuff.  
  • Brian O' Nuanain Watchin' de match on the newspaper with Irish Times, down here on the Louisiana bayou. Superbowl me arse.
  • We're off again and Dave Kearney is hauled into touch after a good kick in behind him. Lineout Scotland metres from the Irish line.
  • Hamilton takes and Scotland maul.
  • Laidlaw goes across field with a high one and R Kearney fields and heads down the tunnel alongside the touch line with the momentum.  

    Play called back for a Scosttish penalty.

  • Laidlaw lands it and it's Ireland 11-6 Scotland.  

    Good start to the second half  from the visitors

  • Ireland into the 22, though, and Healy does well to spin out of a tackle and then make it available.  

    D Kearney hit hard but keeps it alive

  • Sexton's pass to R Kearney is poor and into touch.
  • Put in to Scotland just inside their 22 but Ireland win it against the head and Marshall finds D Kearney in space on the wing, but the Leinster man is smothered by the Scottish cover. But penalty Ireland and they go to the corner.

    Heaslip is over this time after an excellent setpiece. Unstoppable from out of touch.

  • IRELAND 16-6 Scotland
  • IRELAND 18-6 Scotland after Sexton boots the extras.
  • Ward reckons that#s a "big lead" in the context of this game and you would have to agree.  
  • 50 min:  Scotland won't roll over though and they have a scrum here in a good position to attack, Ireland 10m line.
  • But Ireland get the free for an infringement and Heaslip breaks before Ireland kick it away. Thankfully Taylor boots one out on the full.  
  • Marhsall makes ground into the Scottish 22 but just fails to get a pass away to his Ulster team-mate Trimble. Scotland knock on, however, and Ireland have a scrum  
  • Big setpiece for Ireland
  • Marshall and then BOD try to soften up the Scottish defence.
  • Sexton on the wrap around feeds R Kearney, O'MAhony takes on and goes to ground, yards away now, Murray has a go.
  • No advantage for Ireland and they have a choice of posts or corner here. Posts, it would seem, would be advisable.
  • Heaslip opts for the posts.
  • Relatively straight forward for Sexton -  off to the right of the posts, not too far, and on the 22.
  • IRELAND 21-6 Scotland

    It's over and Ireland have a 15-pt lead.

  • 57 min: As Ward points out that kick was pretty much from where he missed against New Zealand in the autumn. Nailed it this time.
  • Hogg makes ground as Scotland rally. Max Evans takes it into the 22 but after a bit of possession, Scotland hold on and Ireland can clear. Chris Henry doing great work at the breakdown.
  • Ireland up to the halfway with Best to throw.
  • Toner takes and Sexton feeds BOD, whose pass is a bit wild but it gets there. Trimble makes ground.
  • Healy bursts through the cover and makes great progress before a good tackle. Murray gets it and does well to retain possession before Heaslip takes it on but Scotland have it back.
  • Scotland win their lineout after a bit of confusion, not least from yours truly. Stuart Hogg does brilliantly to field a kick in behind and dodge three tackles before offloading to Lamont. Scotland still fighting for something here.
  • R Kearney takes Taylor's kick into touch deep in the Ireland 22.  

    Martin Moore replaces Mike Ross for his first international cap.

  • 63 min:  Tommy O'Donnell readying himself too.  

    Moore "a pocket battleship" says Tony Ward. Ross is under pressure.

  • Ireland take the lineout and Murray clears nearly to the halfway as Jack McGrath replaces Healy.
  • Lamont works off the back of the Scottish lineout and Ireland need to defend again here. Denton thubders on as he has done regularly today.  
  • Scotland afind touch in the Irish 22, but the homeside's setpiece holds up and Murray clears before Trimble fails to hang on to it. McGrath comes up with ball somehow and Trimble gets another chance to make ground.
  • BOD pinged for coming around on the wrong side but Scotland infringe again and Ireland have a scrum on their halfway. Seán Cronin  on for Best.
  • O'Donnell now on for Peter O'Mahony. Big game from the Munster flanker.
  • Apparently the Heaslip try was in fact a Rory Best try.

    Ireland make ground through Murray and Scotland pinged, Sexton goes for touch.  

  • Good lineout Ireland and McGrath takes it on again.
  • Great kick from Sexton and R Kearney goes up with Weir, who apparently called the mark, without full control of the ball, but gets the benefit of the doubt. A let off for Scotland.
  • Sexton finds the corner to peg the Scots back in.
  • Scotland clear but Ireland have it back on the 10m line.  Scotland beginning to tire here, it seems.
  • 70 minutes gone: IRELAND 21-6 Scotland
  • Tuohy and Henry combine to take Ireland into the 22 and ....
  • TRY IRELAND!! R Kearney on his 50th cap
  • The fullback finishes expertly after steping inside three Scots and driving over from 15 metres out.

    Sexton converts  IRELAND 28-6 Scotland

  • Sexton is replaced by Jackson, Murray replaced by Boss, BOD replaced by McFadden.
  • Iain Henderson on for Devin Toner now, as well.
  • Scotland have on the halfway but Ireland turnover! Great work from McGrath, I think it was.
  • McFadden pinged for holding on and Scotland have a chance to clear their lines here with under 5 minutes to go.  
  • Much improved performance from Ireland in the second half, they were always up for the fight but have been far more accurate in possession since the restart.
  • Tony Ward's MOTM is Jamie Heaslip.

    "He has been the man ... who has dominated the game."

  • Scotland come in at the side and Jackson's chip is too long. Called back for original foul nad Jackson finds touch  just outside the 22.
  • Scrappy from Ireland but it is snaffled up and McFadden brings Ireland deep into the 22.  
  • Boss tries to steal a march on the Scottish defence, Cronin then and O'Donnell. Last play of the game.
  • Cronis is just held up.
  • TRY????
  • TMO called upon as Dave Kearney gathers Jackson's chip in behind and finishes brilliantly, but the orginal kick hit the touchline before bouncing back inside.
  • FULL TIME:  IREAND 28-6 Scotland
  • We'll have a match report from John O'Sullivan shortly, and plenty of reaction.