Rugby

Scotland 12 Ireland 8: Title hopes go up in smoke as Ireland misfire badly

Carl O'Malley Sun, Feb 24
Six Nations
Scotland
12
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Ireland
8
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  • 12:44
    Ireland are fourth in the Six Nations table with today's game at Murrayfield in hand over their rivals but with a decidedly wet-behind-the-ears backline, the only thing guaranteed from today's encounter at 2pm is stern examination of those newcomers and, er, frostbite.

    It's been snowing in Edinburgh, apparently. Not a day for stiff little fingers, but Paddy Jackson (seen above explaining to Brian O'Driscoll that it was actually fellow debutant Luke Marshall that was giggling down the back earlier) has been backed by Declan Kidney to pull the strings at 10, ahead of Ronan O'Gara.

    What say you, oh wise punter, about that selection?
  • 12:44
  • 12:47
  • 12:50
    Reports of snow must have been exaggerated judging by that last video, or this one, for those of you on a mobile device.
  • 13:00
    We're an hour away from kick off so here's a preview, courtesy of Gerry Thornley, and analyis from the pens of Liam Toland and Matt Williams .
  • 13:16

    Championship head-to-head : Played 118, Scotland 58 wins, 5 draws, Ireland 55 wins.

    Scotland v Ireland How they line out

    SCOTLAND: Stuart Hogg; Sean Maitland, Sean Lamont, Matt Scott, Tim Visser; Ruaidhri Jackson, Greg Laidlaw; Ryan Grant, Ross Ford, Geoff Cross; Richie Gray, Jim Hamilton; Rob Harley, Kelly Brown (capt), John Beattie.

    Replacements: D Hall, G Welsh, M Low, A Kellock, D Denton, H Pyrgos, D Weir, M Evans.

    IRELAND: Rob Kearney; Craig Gilroy, Brian O’Driscoll, Luke Marshall, Keith Earls; Paddy Jackson, Conor Murray; Tom Court, Rory Best, Mike Ross; Donncha O’Callaghan, Donnacha Ryan; Peter O’Mahony, Seán O’Brien; Jamie Heaslip (capt).

    Replacements : S Cronin, D Kilcoyne, D Fitzpatrick, D Toner, I Henderson, E Reddan, R O’Gara, L Fitzgerald.

    Referee : Wayne Barnes (England)

  • 13:21
    McGurk has wasted no time cranking up the pressure on Kidney, asking whether it's too early to introduce two players (Jackson and Marshall) who are not even sure of their place with their provinces.

    Jackson's coach at Ulster Mark Anscombe has described his selection as a "surprise" today, apparently, which in itself is a surprise given the fact he had the opportunity to say, 'Absolutely he's ready, of course he is, he's deadly, he's the next Dan Carter', or words to that effect
  • 13:23
    Conor O'Shea: "We all hope this works, it is a massive risk".

    Here comes Popey ... and true to form he immediately refers to something that happened 40 years ago.

    "What we have is a lack of leadership in the captain at eight, a scrumhalf that can't make a decision ..... you have two players in the entire backline who can actually make decisions here"
  • 13:25
    Pope says it is "huge pressure on  Paddy Jackson to carry this team".

    The Kiwi is still concerned by Anscombe's comments, suggesting they indicate he knows something about Jackson's head that we don't.

    Maybe they're not actually his eyebrows.
  • 13:26
    Another talking point is Dave Kilcoyne's absence after being next in line to replace Cian Healy last week before seeing Tom Court parachuted in ahead of him. That must be a tough one for the Munster prop.
  • 13:29

    We're back to Jackson and Hook has resorted to some rather disturbing imagery.

    "If Paddy Jackson has a bad 40 minutes ... Kidney has to yank him off." 

  • 13:34
    O'Shea points to the three elephants in the room, referring to Scotland's dangerous back three of Stuart Hogg, Sean Maitland and Tim Visser.

    "They have a different ethos because of this back three, they look to play."

    "For the first time we are playing against a Scotland team that can actually finish."
  • 13:42
    Whatever happens today, we've already won a Triple Crown this year. Stand up for the girls in green.
  • 13:42
  • 13:47
    Just 15 minutes away from kick-off now and the optimism in the studio is conspicuous by its absence. "You're never ready," replies O'Shea when asked if the time is right for young Marshall to be dropped in at 12.

    I'm going to go out on a limb here and say these lads are going to have a stormer.

  • 13:55

    Teams are in the tunnel.

    O'Shea reckons Ireland will lose. Head over heart, he says.
    Pope picks Ireland ahead of a "tough afternoon"
    Hook opts for IRELAND, amazingly, but not without a crucial cameo from old man O'Gara off the (park) bench.

  • 13:56
    It looks a lovely afternoon in Edinburgh. Cold, no doubt, but lovely nonetheless. Here comes Ireland's Call. 

    Jamie Heaslip is looking less Great Gatsby-ish than usual today. That's a good start.
  • 13:57
    Jackson really does look like he's there on work experience.
  • 13:58
    The pipes are out for Flower of Scotland. Bagpipes: is there a more grating sound known to man?

    Discuss...
  • 14:01

    A countdown reminiscent of Gladiators (the awful 90s show) gets us underway. Jackson kicks away possession early and then drops his first pass. Should have caught that, the young fella.

  • 14:03
    Scrum Scotland halfway inside Ireland's half. Barnes blows against Scotland for early engagement. Jackson puts it high and Hogg knocks on and Scotland pinged for accidentally offside. Scrum Ireland
  • 14:03
    Full width of the pitch here and Ireland should have a setpiece ready, but the Scots win the penalty after getting their shove on.  Poor start for Ireland's scrum as the frontrow popped up
  • 14:05
    4 min:  Scotland claim their lineout and keep it in the tight. Donnacha Ryan is taken out of it and Barnes blows in Ireland's favour. Sloppy start from both sides, but good stuff from Ryan who was taken around the neck by Grant.
  • 14:07
    Jackson involved twice to good effect as Ireland move through the phases. Kearney's grubber is deflected out for an Ireland lineout and Marshall breaks though the cover and finds and Earls out wide.

    The winger could have offloaded to O'Driscoll but takes it into contact and Murray heads for the line.
  • 14:08
    He's held up and O'Driscoll has a go at the line but he's held up and Ireland have a penalty, just yards from the line. Ireland go for the corner.
  • 14:08
    That was Marshall's first touch and what a break it was.
  • 14:09
    Hamilton steals Ireland's throw in and clear, but Ireland pinged for offside and now they can do so again with a penalty. Well, was it the right option to go for the corner?
  • 14:10

    Jackson sets Marshall on his way again!  Lovely stuff from the two Ulstermen but Marshall's pass to Gilroy was forward and wayward. Very encouraging stuff, nonetheless.

  • 14:11
    Marshall's stats after 10 mins. Carries two, metres made 43, defenders beaten 2.
  • 14:11

    Scotland get their shove on again and Ireland concede another pen at the setpiece.

  • 14:13
    12 min: Gray claims the lineout and Gilroy claims the up 'n' under. Ireland try to run it out with Marshall but he's stopped this time. Ireland penalty in any case as the Scots come in on the wrong side. Jackson clears.
  • 14:14
    Ryan claims Best's throw. O'Brien peels off and takes a tackle before Murray feeds it out. Jackson spins and takes it into contact and Earls tries to make ground down the wing. Ireland almost at the Scottish 22 now.
  • 14:16
    Murray takes a quick tap and Ryan Grant is binned for not retreating 10. A shot at the posts for Jackson from the righthand touchline.
  • 14:18
    17 min:  Ooooh, no, he's sliced it. How he could have done with the easier one earlier.

    Still, more pros than cons for the him and Marshall so far. Ireland have had 90 per cent possession thus far.
  • 14:19
    Murray opts for a kick to the corner but it has gone long and Scotland will have a scrum on the halfway.

    Moray Low is on for Hartley to shore up the Scottish scrum in the absence of Grant
  • 14:20
    19 min:  Solid scrum from the Scots but Ireland have hte scrum after executing the choke tackle and preventing the ball from coming back. Marshall and Jackson involved in that, too.
  • 14:22

    Ireland return the favour in the scrum this time and win the penalty. Jackson finds a safe touch on the Scottish 22.

  • 14:23
    Terrible throw from Best, Heaslip had very little chance of securing that. Scrum Scotland.
  • 14:24
    22 min:  Scotland's own outhalf Jackson clears their lines and a chance for Best to make amends here on the 10 metre line.

    He does with a ball to the front for O'Callaghan. It's worked out as far as Gilroy who tries to make ground down the line but flings a pass back and it bounces off BOD's shins and out fora  Scottish lineout. Hamilton takes.
  • 14:25
    Gilroy very breave under the box kick and takes possession back for Ireland and Earls breaks!

  • 14:26
    But he has butchered a chance for a try by not opting for BOD on his inside shoulder and is caught by Maitland and hauled into touch.

    Wrong option from the winger there. Not for the first time today.
  • 14:28
    Earls hesitates on a loose ball and Maitland robs it. Ireland concede but as the homeside make a rare foray into the Ireland half they are pinged for a forward pass. Scrum Ireland
  • 14:30

    Heaslip's taps and goes after Scotland engage early. All a bit scrappy but Ireland have managed to retain possession and win the penalty. Jackson finds a good touch inside the 22. Tight angle for him, but a good kick.

  • 14:31
    30 min:  Best fires it long this time and Scotland takes. Ireland's lineout is letting them down badly here.
  • 14:34

    Harley gets away with a tackle in the air on O'Mahony. Well, he gets away without a yellow, which he should have seen.

    Ireland have and the pack is rolling on into the Scottish 22. Barnes whistles after the Scots bring it down. Great work from the Irish pack there.

  • 14:34
    Jackson heads for the corner here. We need a good linout now.
  • 14:35
    Ryan takes this time.  O'Mahony has it at the back and heads into contact five metres out.
  • 14:37
    Ryan this time takes it on, it goes wide but BOD is tackled by Kelly Brown. O'Brien takes it on, then BOD again and Jackson. Murray comes to get it but Scotland are pinged for not releasing right in front of the posts.

    Jackson must kick this from in front of the posts.
  • 14:39
    He has.  Finally Ireland are on the scoreboard after 35 minutes of sheer domination.  That is the absolute least they should have had. Had they not sabotaged themselves through poor decisions and setpieces, they could have been out of sight by now.
  • 14:40
    Visser knocks on after chasing his own up and under. Ireland scrum, just shy of the 10m line. Great position to be in.
  • 14:41
    Heaslip makes some ground off the back of that scrum.  Court puts his head down and then BOD's grubber kick goes into touch.
  • 14:42
    Hamilton claims for Scotland. 30 seconds left as Earls takes the high ball but he is pinged for holding on and Scotland will have a shot at the posts to level it.

    Hogg steps up, the man with the big boot, because this is beyond the 10m line and very near the touchline.
  • 14:44
    It falls short and Ireland head into the berak with a three-point lead.
  • 14:49

    Jackson has done "fine".
    "Only a bare pass", adds Hook.

    Ireland had 78% possession in that half and with just three points to show for it Hook might have a point. Except that he doesn't. Jackson missed a pen but the bulk of the possession was wasted by the likes of Earls and Best, especially.

  • 14:50
    Earls coming in for a bit of a digging now. The phrase "frontal lobotomy" has been used. Easy, now.
  • 14:54

    All agree Ireland "should be out of sight", but all agree Scotland have to come into it at some stage.

    O'Shea offers a dose of reality, with the observation that Scotland are "abject".

  • 14:55
    Jackson "has to do something creative, rather than just shovelling the ball on", harrumphs Hooky as we return to the action.
  • 14:56
    We're back and Ireland have on the halfway as Gilroy and BOD break down the left and win the lineout.
  • 14:59
    Best finds Ryan this time. Marshall bursts through and Ireland break behind hte cover with O'Brien but he loses his footing in the 22. Ireland still have and Kearney makes ground, then Murray.
  • 15:00
    TRY GILROY!!!!  The 21-year-old Dungannon man scrambles over from close range after great build-up play from Ireland. That was coming all through the first half and Ireland have kept their foot on the gas in this second half.

    A bit of argy bargy prompts Barnes to give all in sundry a talking to.
  • 15:01
    Gilroy made it over courtesy of that NFL running back 360 twist (my phrase, not his) he is so fond of executing.
  • 15:01
    Jackson hits the post with the conversion. It wasn't easy.
  • 15:03
  • 15:05
    Ireland claim lineout ball on the ir own 10m line. Murray's box kick is caught Visser and R Jackson's kick finds Kearney, who runs it back and makes ground.

    O'Brien barrels on and the pen is awarded to Ireland. Jackson will kick for touch.
  • 15:06
    But he misses!! Tried to get too much out of that kick adn Scotland have possession.
  • 15:06
    A penalty takes them into Ireland's 22 and this is their lineout.
  • 15:07
    51 min:  The Scottish pack keeps it tight and Gray then takes it on.
  • 15:08
    A penalty against O'Brien, who was offside, and Scotland have a kickable pen after Ireland wasted a golden opportunity at the other end.

    Dave Kilcoyne is warming up for Ireland.
  • 15:09
    The gap is five after Greg Laidlaw splits the posts. Not what Ireland wanted but they've won a penalty on the Scottish 22 almost immediately after O'Brien makes amends at the breakdown.
  • 15:10
    Jackson has another chance here. He's on the right touchline, more or less. It's not easy.
  • 15:11

    And he's sliced it wide. Ireland can't afford to keep doing this. That's one out of four for the youngster.

  • 15:12
  • 15:12
    Best pinged for not releasing and Scotland find touch with a penalty on the Ireland 22
  • 15:13
    Major Gould The Scots_irish concept is specious. Those scots could not score today if Eire missd the ferry. Pog Mo Thoin
  • 15:13
    I'm not quite sure what you mean, but dammit, man, I respect your right to say it.
  • 15:15
    Scotland passed forward after winning that lineout and it's an Ireland scrum just outside their own 22 and Scotland get the penalty! Here's a kick to make it a two-point game.
  • 15:16
    Laidlaw can't miss this and he doesn't. It's 8-6 to Ireland and they are throwing it away here.

    Luke Fitzgerald is on for Gilroy and Duncan Weir has replaced R Jackson for Scotland.
  • 15:17
    Luke Marshall of Ireland makes an early break at Murrayfield. Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images
    Luke Marshall of Ireland makes an early break at Murrayfield. Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images
  • 15:17
    Weir makes an immediate impact running at Ireland from deep and Ireland have conceded another pen on the halfway. Weir finds touch right on the five metre line
  • 15:18
    Nichole And once again the Irish team starting throwing the game away
  • 15:19
    Scotland take and Scotland drive. Beattie burst for the line, BOD tackles but they have a pen waiting.

    That's why Laidlaw tries a two metre garryowem. Knock on by the Scots but they have the pen and Laidlaw is about to kick them into the lead.
  • 15:20
    And kick it he does as Jackson is replaced by the bauld, auld O'Gara in an attempt to claw some points back.
  • 15:21
    Steven O Broin Carol Byrne Bell is willing her men over the try line!!!!!
  • 15:21
    Rene Scary times
  • 15:22
    Best finds his man in the lineout but they conceded another penalty.

    "Now, we are going to see what this Ireland side is made of," says Tony Ward.
  • 15:23
    Ireland steal possession and O'Gara's dink over the top for Fitzgerald just doesn't sit up for the Leinster winger. Scrum Scotland.
  • 15:24
    68 minutes gone now  as the scrum is reset. Ireland have 12 minutes to turn this around.
  • 15:25
    Eoin Reddan is readying himself to come on as Laidlaw feeds.  Beattie takes and then Maitland makes ground before O'Brien goes off his feet.

    "I wish he got a yellow card for that", says Ward.

    What?
  • 15:26
    Paul Marconi The Paddy Jackson experiment hasn't worked. Ireland are going to lose this match simply because Jackson has brought his Ulster kicking boots with him. Madigan has to be in the squad against France.
  • 15:27
    Scotland are on the Ireland 22 now but the visitors win the penalty at the breakdown and O'Gara finds touch on the halfway.
  • 15:29
    ROG's grubber through is gathered however and Scotland claim teh clearing un 'n' under. Reddan is on, and O'Callaghan and O'Mahony are making way for Toner and  Henderson.
  • 15:32

    Hmmmmm, how do I explain this? We might have to resurrect Hook's "lobotomy" slur for Mr O'Gara, who decided, presumably through some moment of clarity only he experienced, to chip across his backline on the 22 with a sort of scuttery effort worthy of an under 12s game. Ireland panicked, Scotland pounced, won the penalty and booted it over.

  • 15:34
    GUBU from ROG.

    If you added all the things Jackson did wrong over his 60 odd minutes, you would come nowhere near the bizarre contribution O'Gara has just made to this game.
  • 15:35
    Ireland are up to the 22, despite standing around chatting about the weather while the ball sat idle at the back of a ruck. Penalty green after Scotland offside.
  • 15:35
    Fergus McDonald Give Paddy Jackson a chance, this is just the start of his Ireland Career, he has a lot to learn.
  • 15:35
    Lineout Ireland and Heaslip takes! Five metres out.
  • 15:36
    The captain takes it on again and Marshall goes for the line.
  • 15:37
    This time BOD is held up and then Kearney takes, but he runs back into his own players and accidental offside is called. Another chance butchered by Ireland.
  • 15:38
    Scrum goes down and it will be reset for Scotland. Jim Hamilton is named man of the match.
  • 15:38
    Paolo Kidney must go
  • 15:39

    Scrum collapses and it's an Ireland penalty!!!

  • 15:39
    O'Brien takes and goes.
  • 15:41
    It goes wide and O'Gara's pass to Marshall is awful. The Ulsterman can't hold it, despite a second attempt and Barnes ends a contest that Ireland should have ended almost an hour ago.

    There'll be a painful post mortem on this one.
  • 15:42
    Charles Murray Renal Failure ! AgAIN !
  • 15:42
    And so it begins...
  • 15:45
    Here comes Hook.

    "At this point DK has proven he has taken Ireland as far as he can take them and in the interests of the game and the interests of Irish rugby, he should resign," he blusters.

    "His reputation is in tatters," adds the man who said O'Gara would come off the bench and win the game.

    Oddly, Pope seems in complete agreement.

    O'Shea, a contender for the job should it arise, is a little more restrained, predictably.
  • 15:48
    "A confident AIL club side would have given that Scotland side a run for their money," addes Hook. "The failure of leadership was awful."

    He makes a very valid point about the choices to go for the corner early on and not settle Jackson with an early kick at the posts.

  • 15:52

    Ok, I'm all for a little indignation at this stage of the day, people should be allowed to let it out, but George Hook has just referred to Wales as a "rubbish" side, having yesterday claimed he was bucking the trend by saying he actually rates this Welsh team. 

  • 15:54

    All agree Jackson should start against France after being backed by Kidney in  the first place. Dead right. He can't be dropped after being brought in.

  • 15:56

    Hook brings the conversation back to Ireland "neophyte" captain. Testify.

    The difference today, however, is that his cohorts support him. Where's Shane Horgan when you need him?

  • 15:58
    Paolo Dead wrong. Don't compound a bad decision by ignoring it. Madigan should have played today he should certainly play against France. Any other decision is just madness. PJ will come good in a year or two.
  • 16:00

    I don't disagree. Madigan would have been my choice on form. BUT, after you have put your faith in a young player who, let's be honest wasn't all bad today, you have to stick with him. Bring Madigan on to the bench, indeed, but a pressure debut against France for another outhalf?

  • 16:00
    Gar Woegeous. We scraped a grandslam and are barely able to play at this stage. #anyonecouldcoachireland better
  • 16:16
    Paolo So Madigan is told, "We made a mistake but now that we've made it, we're not going to fix it." I wonder how that will make him feel.
  • 16:16
    Not too bad if he's brought on to the bench, I imagine.
  • 16:18
    I'd be more concerned by how it would feel for Jackson being blamed for a completely inept performance from some of his more experienced team-mates, like Best, Heaslip, Earls, Court et al.

    Madigan, I'd say, feels vindicated as we speak and is optimistic for the future, whether that begins immediately or not.
  • 16:52
    Apologies for the glitch in the Matrix there, we're trying to sort it out.

    In the meantime, here's a match report, audio reaction and highlights
  • 17:21
    Jamie Ease off jackson lads. Remember sexton had a dubious boot in his early days. Poor display today from the Irish team as a whole. With that much possession it was suicidial not to convert to points.
  • 17:44