A slick Ireland proved too much for Scotland in a Six Nations encounter at Croke Park, running out 34-13 victors.
Both sides had to win this one after lacklustre starts to their respective campaigns but the opening minutes saw lots of Scottish endeavour and lots of Irish lethargy. The Scots chose to take quick tap penalties and run everything but apart from a massive territorial advantage they had nothing to show for it. Ireland on the other hand, were a different story. Against the run of play they were awarded a scrum in front of the Scottish posts. No 8 Jamie Heaslip picked up, ran wide and flicked a simple inside pass to flanker David Wallace who scored through a hole in the Scottish defence. Flyhalf Ronan O’Gara converted.
That seemed to wake up the men in green. A couple of minutes later O’Gara took a great break and put centre Brian O’Driscoll clear. They don’t say “In Brian we trust” in the Emerald Isle for nothing: he burst behind the Scottish defence, drawing at least five defenders before throwing a long pass to winger Robert Kearney who scored in the corner. O’Gara converted again.
Down 14 points the Scots reverted to attack mode and two penalties by the dead-eye boot of flyhalf Chris Patterson gave them some hope before Ireland drew clear in the 35th minute. Again O’Gara was involved. Spotting an overlap he put a perfect chip kick to prop Marcus Horan lurking on the wing who only had to flop over. Within a minute of the start of the second half they had scored again â€“ this time through winger Tommy Bowe who rounded off a slick backline move. That put the game out of reach of Scotland who could only find solace in a single try by centre Simon Webster.
Ireland took their foot off the gas as the clock wore down but still scored (Bowe again) on full-time as a Scottish knock-on was gathered and simply moved wide.
Ireland: Tries: David Wallace. Robert Kearney. Marcus Horan. Tommy Bowe (2). Conversions: Ronan O’Gara (3). Penalty: O’Gara
Scotland: Try: Simon Webster. Conversion: Chris Patterson. Penalties: Patterson (2).