Six Nations: Scotland v Ireland

The 2017 Six Nations gets underway as Joe Schmidt's Ireland travel to Edinburgh to take on the Scots

Patrick Madden Sat, Feb 4
LIVE: Six Nations: Scotland v Ireland

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  • Good afternoon!

    The world as we know it might be steadily falling apart, but at least there remains one constant we can always rely upon.

    Today, as it does every year, the Six Nations returns to guide us out of the January doldrums and deliver us safely into the warm embrace of spring.

    Welcome back, old friend.

    And this promises to be a vintage edition of the competition, with all six sides vastly improved from last year, a new bonus points system in place and places on this summer's Lions tour to fight for.

    The action begins in Edinburgh at 2.25pm, as Joe Schmidt's Ireland take on Vern Cotter's Scotland - champions elect against the dark horses.

    We'll be bringing you every tackle, try and tear shed - from the Murrayfield opener all the way through to the tournament's final whistle on March 18th.

    So strap yourselves in - a six week rollercoaster starts here.

    Come on!!!

  • TEAMS:

    SCOTLAND: Stuart Hogg,  Sean Maitland,  Huw Jones,  Alex Dunbar,  Tommy Seymour,  Finn Russell,  Greig Laidlaw (capt),  Allan Dell,  Fraser Brown,  Zander Fagerson,  Jonny Gray,  Richie Gray,  Ryan Wilson,  Hamish Watson,  Josh Strauss. Replacements: Ross Ford, Gordon Reid, Simon Berghan, Tim Swinson, John Barclay, Ali Price, Duncan Weir, Mark Bennett.

    IRELAND: Rob Kearney;  Keith Earls,  Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw,  Simon Zebo;  Paddy Jackson,  Conor Murray;  Jack McGrath,
    Rory Best (capt), Tadhg Furlong;  Iain Henderson,  Devin Toner;  CJ Stander, Sean O’Brien,  Jamie Heaslip. Replacements: Niall Scannell, Cian Healy, John Ryan, Ultan Dillane, Josh van der Flier, Kieran Marmion, Ian Keatley, Tommy Bowe.

  • Just under an hour to go until kick off in Edinburgh, you can read Gerry Thornley's match preview  HERE.

    And he has interviewed Jack McGrath - a front runner for a starting berth with the Lions. You can read that HERE.

  • Today presents a very tricky first hurdle for Ireland as they look to wrestle the championship back from England - but if they can negotiate it safely then all bets are on.

    Any team in the world would miss an outhalf of Johnny Sexton's calibre but his long run of injury problems have allowed Paddy Jackson to get plenty of exposure at 10 - including three tests in South Africa - and he is well capable of steering Ireland to victory today.

    The Irish pack is stacked with big ball carriers and it will be exciting to see how the midfield partnership of Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose performs on its Six Nations bow.

    Scotland meanwhile are ever-improving under Cotter, with the core of their side supplied by Glasgow Warriors. Up front the Gray brothers, Richie and Jonny, are a world class secondrow pairing while the electric Finn Russel will marshal a backline which includes areguably the best fullback in Europe - Stuart Hogg.

    This is nicely poised.

  • The weather had been expected to play a big part in Edinburgh today but it looks nice and fresh in the Scottish capital and there's no sign of the predicted wind and rain.  

    Now I've said that expect it to start lashing down any minute.

  • Right then, here come the teams at Murrayfield.
  • Ronan O'Gara wants Ireland to dish out a hammering today - he reckons the Scots have been a bit too gobby during the week.
  • Anthems time.  
  • Flower of Scotland is one of the best.
  • Finn Russell has the ball in hand, we're off!!
  • 1 min: Murray fields the kick and Ireland set before Kearney makes a good clearance to touch on the left. Scotland win the lineout but good pressure from Ireland sees them force the game's first scrum.
  • 2 min: Big first scrum from Ireland, Furlong monsters Dell and the visitors have a penalty which Jackson sends into touch.
  • 3 min: Ireland win their lineout and look to build the phases for the first time, Heaslip and Stander looking to make big carries in midfield. The ball is worked back left but Henshaw doesn't protect the ball on the floor and Scotland turn it over.  

    They look wide straight away and make good inroads before Jones knocks it forward out on the right.

  • 4 min: Another Irish scrum and another Irish penalty. Good work from the big lumps.
  • 6 min: Loose set piece from Ireland, Toner knocking on in the air. Scotland straight on the attack and Hogg stretches his legs for the first time but he's closed down on the left and pops to Maitland who cuts inside. Very lateral attack from Scotland and Russell kicks in behind. Earls covers but he slices his clearance and the hosts have an attacking lineout.
  • 8 min: Good platform for Scotland on the 22, they move it right to Hogg who again finds Maitland and he dances up to the five metre. Scotland are camped on the Ireland line, the Gray brothers both trying to shunt their way over.
  • Scotland look to use the ball and Laidlaw feeds Russell who sees the space on the right and loops a big pass wide. Ringrose misreads it and follows the ball before slipping, with Hogg there to take the pass and cruise over.

    Laidlaw converts.


  • 10 min: Great kick chase from Ireland and Zebo wins Ireland possession. They retain the ball and good hands from Henshaw and Ringrose and dancing feer from Zebo gets them back up to the 22.
  • 11 min: Ireland now have momentum and O'Brien breaks the line before putting one tackler on his backside. Penalty Ireland after Wilson has his hands all over it on the deck. Jackson goes for the corner and then Ireland have another penalty after the Gray brothers pull the maul down.  
  • 12 min: Ireland set the maul from the lineout and look well in control until three peel off and referee Poite blows his whistle awarding Scotland a five-metre scrum.
  • 13 min: Huge shunt form the Irish pack and Scotland will have another scrum to defend.
  • 14 min: Better from the Scots at the second time of asking and eventually Hogg releases the pressure with a booming clearance.
  • 15 min: Excellent take form Hogg above Zebo but Best is on hand to haul him into touch and Ireland have a good platform on halfway.
  • 16 min: Ireland struggling to keep the ball for long spells and again it goes loose on the left after Ringrose had wriggled his way up to the Scottish 10. Big pressure form the Scots at the breakdown.
  • 17 min: Wonky throw from Brown, Ireland scrum.
  • 18 min: Another scrum penalty for the visitors. Poite has a word with Laidlaw. Excellent touch from Jackson, Ireland will have a lineout just shy of the five. Brilliant kick.
  • 19 min: Another loose set piece from Ireland and Scotland clear their lines. The scrum might be firing but the lineout certainly isn't.
  • Stuart Hogg is a bit special. Scottish lineout on the right, they win it and move infield. It's a fairly simple play, they use the width on the left until Hogg, with Maitand outside him, sells opposite number Kearney a stunning dummy before stretching his legs and cruising over for his second try.

    Laidlaw converts again.


  • 23 min: Ireland have the chance to fire straight back. Jackson breaks into the 22 and nearly wriggles free before he's scragged. The visitors on the front foot, Stander trying to batter his way up the the five. Sustained Irish pressure - 17 phases and counting.
  • TRY IRELAND!!!!!!!!


  • Ireland camped on the Scottish five, keeping it in the tight. Eventually they look to move it, Jackson dropping it deeper to Zebo. Zebo throws a big ball which is nearly intercepted by Seymour, but he can only palm it to Earls who produces a trademark finish to score in the corner. Great response.

    Jackso can't make the touchline conversion.


  • An instant response from the hosts. They attack from the restart and win a five metre lineout. Fraser throws short to the unmarked centre Dunbar - an extra man thrown into the lineout - and he goes over for the score. Clever from Scotland but that is very dull from Ireland, nobody picked him up.

    Another Laidlaw conversion.


  • 31 min: Ireland looking for a response of their own and they have possession in the Scottish half, but they seem short of ideas other than asking their big ball carriers to hammer away from first or second receiver.
  • 33 min: Eventually Ireland force Scotland into a mistake and Jackson can try and reduce the gap from the 10-metre. Lovely kick.


  • 34 min: Scotland looking far more dangeorus with the ball in hand, using the width far better and running more incisive lines. Great work on the floor from Stander forces a penalty on the left and Jackson nudges it up to the Scottish 10.
  • 36 min: Quick ball off the top and Stander makes a good carry in midfield. Ireland are protecting the ball and building the phases again but not making many inroads. It's all very lateral and more dogged work on the deck from Scotland sees them turn it over. Scotland are really doing a job on Ireland's big ball carriers here.
  • 38 min: Scotland win their lineout on the right and sweep it left, Hogg combining with Maitland again. They're up towards the Irish five metre - critical Ireland hold out. Russell finds Hogg who has Maitland free outside him but Kearney makes a great read and Ireland survive.
  • 39 min: Frantic end to the half. Russell moves it right but Zebo picks off the pass and looks to accelerate. He doesn't have the space and launches it upfield and the chase is on. Scotland scramble back and just about secure it before Laidlaw says enough is enough and lumps it into touch. Looked like Ringrose was hauled back off the ball as he gave chase.
  • Time to change that.
  • Here come the teams for the second half. A big 40 needed to say the least.
  • We're back underway.
  • 41 min: Solid take from the restart and Hogg clears but skews it, Ireland lienout inside the Scottish 10. But again it's loose and Scotland win the ball.
  • 42 min: Good work on the floor from O'Brien and Scotland are pinged for coming in from the side. Jackson finds touch inside the Scottish 22.  
  • 43 min: Better Irish lineout, Stander claiming it, and they set the maul. It runs out of steam but Stander peels and makes good yards on the short side.  
  • 44 min: Ireland racking up the phases and they work it up towards the five metre. Jackson darts and is wrapped up but Ireland have a penalty coming. Zebo tries to dances his way over on the left and the ball goes loose. Good numbers from Scotland in defence but Ireland have a penalty under the posts and Best goes for a scrum.
  • Russell off for a HIA, Weir coming on.
  • 45 min: Frontrows collapse at the first scrum so it's reset.
  • 46 min: Heaslip nurses it at the back and Murray feeds Henshaw on a big line but he's held up. Ireland go wide and Kearney is hauled down. Stander carries back infield and Ringrose is just held up.
  • TRY IRELAND!!!!!
  • Ireland hammering away and Murray is held up inches short after trying to snipe over. And then Henderson picks and forces his way over from inside a yard.

    Good conversion from Jackson. Game on.


  • 49 min: Hogg tries to run the ball back from deep and is scragged excellently by Toner. Ringrose then makes a great read and tackle on the far side and the ball goes loose but the hosts recover.
  • 51 min: Defensive lineout for Ireland on the five - they can't muck this up. And they don't, they set the maul and Murray clears Irish lines.
  • 52 min: Fraser hits Richie Gray who pops down to Laidlaw and Scotland have lightning ball from the lineout. It's worked as far as Hogg who wriggles free of one tackle but is quickly hauled down. Scotland keeping it tight and building the phases on the Irish 22.
  • 54 min: Brilliant counter-rucking from Ireland and Stander picks and charges at the short side. It's moved right to Ringrose and then Earls who breaks as far as halfway. Ireland have the momentum and O'Brien breaks the line and carries up to the 22. This is much, much better.
  • 55 min: And then as Heaslip is held up on the 22 Scotland spoil it brilliantly and Scotland have the penalty.  

    This is a brilliant game.

  • Change for Ireland in the frontrow, Healy on the McGrath.
  • 57 min: What a chance for Ireland. Russell tries to kick through but Murray reads it and collects the loose ball. He finds Murray inside brilliantly and Heaslip doesn't quite have the legs or muscle to get up to the line and sees his offload picked off.
  • 58 min: Stunning effort from Kearney on the right, engineering the space and dancing down the touchline before finding Earls inside who crosses the line. Kearney was well tackled by Maitland though and it looks like his foot was in touch - which the TMO confirms.
  • 61 min: Ireland into the Scottish 22 and getting clean, quick ball. Heaslip makes a good carry from a static start on the right and Ireland continue to probe the shortside.
  • TRY IRELAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Brilliant brutality from Ireland. They hammer away, now their ball carriers making more inroads than they were before. Eventually it comes for Jackson who runs a lovely line and wriggles free before reaching to touch down.

    He duly converts his own score and Ireland have the lead for the first time.


  • 64 min: Ireland have the bit between their teeth now. Hogg makes a great claim in the air but loses it on landing and Jackson picks up the pieces. Ireland move it left and Stander straightens up as he charges into the 22. It comes right again and the ball goes loose and Scotland hack it upfield.


  • 66 min: Ringrose puts Russell under pressure and the Scottish outhalf does well under the high ball but Jackson - who is having a stormer - nicks it off him when he lands. Moments later Jackson reads the space and grubbers in behind and Earls puts the pressure on and hauls the Scottish wing into touch. Big chance.
  • 67 min: Good Irish lineout but the ball goes forward at the next ruck. Scotland steady the ship somewhat and clear as far as new man Tommy Bowe. Josh van der Flier also on.
  • 69 min: Scotland have a lineout on their 10 metre and Toner pinches it. Ireland possession in Scottish territory.
  • 71 min: Scotland win lineout ball on the Irish 22. They keep it in the tight, working it short and looking to force their way into the 22. They move it right and the ball is slowed down - which way will Poite blow? Ireland get pinged, Jackson not releasing the tackler.  

    Chance for Laidlaw to score Scotland's first points of the half and to put his side back in front. He makes no mistake.


  • 73 min: Scotland gather form the restart and Russell clears. Kearney runs it back and Ireland are inside the Scottish 10.
  • 74 min: Stander carries and Scotland strip it on the floor. It's cleared long and Ireland must attack from deep again. Heaslip makes good yards but Ireland are only up to halfway and a loose pass sees them lose even more ground.
  • 75 min: Scotland back in possession and Bennett kicks deep where Murray collects and pops to Zebo who clears long. Hogg runs it back and Scotland have possession on the Irish 10. Ireland running out of time.
  • 76 min: Scotland move it left to Dunbar who carries up to the 22 and is caught high by Bowe. He went for the ball and his arm slid up. Under the new tackling regulations that's a penalty, and Scotland have the chance to go five ahead. But instead of the kick, they're going for the corner.
  • 77 min: Scotland win their lineout through one of the Gray brothers and set the maul. They're inching forward and Laidlaw tries to snipe down the blind and keeps the ball alive with a pop to Maitland.
  • 78 min: Scotland keeping it in the tight and looking after the ball well. Eventually Poite blows up and Scotland have a penalty. There's a minute left on the clock and Laidlaw has 90 seconds to take this shot at goal. Game over.
  • Hogg man of the match - no surprises there.
  • 80 min: Laidlaw nails the kick.
  • Darren Score is wrong way round
  • I'm still in denial Darren.
  • Right then, a disappointing start for Ireland but there's still a championship to be won. Gerry Thornley's match report from Murrayfield will be live shortly.

    I'm nipping across to bring you all the action from Twickenham as England take on France.