48 thoughts on “Rate the match: Scotland v Ireland

    1. agree that some of the decisions were a bit strange. the yellow card was a bit harsh, although to the letter of the law it is understandable, and Grant knew what he was doing. but scotland were lucky Harley didnt pick one up for the tackle on O’Mahony in the air.

      massive effort from scotland though, and although Hamilton was a pretty good choice for MoM, i think Kelly Brown was outstanding, and an absolute Warrior.

      IMO K. Brown keeps getting one step closer to the lions every time he steps on the pitch. also credit to the scottish pack for being dominant at scrum and lineouts, a big way to upset the irish! especially at the lineout, where they have been so dominant for such a long time.

    2. yellow card easily deserved. Same as Cole’s yesterday. If there is a penalty and you deliberately step in the way of the tap and go then you are colossaly stupid and should be off the pitch for 10 minutes. No argument there.

      Some of the decisions were confusing to say the least, but I’d have to say that the strangest penalties benefited Scotland. Not a bad performance by Barnes though (though I start with low standards)

  1. Barnes had a shocker. Scotland were resilient and composed, they should be proud of the effort, but recognise how lucky they were that Ireland’s execution was gash. Did we deserve it? Debateable. None the less, a win is a win. Bring on Wales

  2. Scotland rode their luck a bit, but their set piece was great and that isa part of the game as well. I was very impressed with scotland’s line speed, they closed down the irish very well.

    If you defend that doggedly and have a good kicker, then there is always a chance.

    Ireland were suckers, should have taken their chances, however everybody talked about scotland’s speed in a attack but they shpwed in defense, the back three always had the gas to get back and make an extra tackle.

    Scotland’s problem is still confidence in their own ball retention, they need to trust themselves more, fly half is an issue, Jackson had another bad game, maybe Weor should be given a chance. When Scotland keep the ball in hand they look interesting, however they kick too much ball away.

    Confiedence will grow, bring on Wales, 2 teams on the up, should be a good one.

    3 wins will be considered a great success for the scots this year.

  3. dominating every aspect of the pitch is normally the road to victory not in this case, although the scottish was pushed to the end of the line they came out with a result which was not expected.

  4. I never begrudge our true Celtic brothers success so well done Scotland – a disciplined game but I would have liked it if you could have scored some tries against us and help nail the coffin for Kidney, whose days must surely be numbered now.

  5. Best game of the weekend. Not the best play but the best game.

    Luke Marshall was a great find for the Irish and it was good to see BOD having a go at Earls. Never really rated him and that was a glaring mistake.

    Good Scottish defence throughout. As a welsh supporter I’m a little nervous of the Scotland match now.

  6. Worst game of the weekend for me, Scotland only won due to Ireland’s poor decision making and a vastly inexperienced fly half.

    1. have to disagree, i thought it was a relatively entertaining game. i also think that your comment on ireland losing because of jackson was a bit harsh. after all, their vastly experienced flyhalf came on and put them in all kinds of trouble.

      jackson missed a few shots at goal, yes. but ROG did nothing when he came on. and at least jackson kept defenders honest in open play, and asked questions of the scottish, which created the space for guys like marshall. Earls also blew a chance to score.

      one issue ireland had is not having a 2nd kicker on the field. jackson’s play was better than what o’gara brought to the table, but he couldnt hit his shots at goal. if ireland had a second goal kicker on the field then heaslip should have made the call for them to start kicking from the tee.

      1. Erm I don’t think its harsh he missed two relatively easy penalties and a hard conversion which would of comfortably won Ireland the game, yes O’Gara stank like a 1 week old kebab but he has been the same for the last few games.

        1. clearly we are on a similar page regarding O’Gara, and i agree that the missed kicks did cost ireland when it came to the scoreline in the end.

          but the point i was trying to make is that jackson was the one who was making halfbreaks, putting marshall through holes and moving the ball around so that ireland had an 80% possession stat come half time. take his missed kicks out of the equation, and he was pushing ireland in the right direction. this is why i made the point that ireland needed a 2nd kicker, because with ball in hand jackson was pretty decent. after all, earls blew the scoring chance off a pass from jackson, similarly marshall threw a bad pass to gilroy, again off a move started by jackson.

          so i would agree that saying jackson lost the game is probably true, it is a bit harsh on a kid winning his first cap who actually did pretty well in other facets of his game.

          1. Agree about the breaks and link up play but points win games and if Earls would’ve off loaded to O’Driscoll again it would’ve been different.

            I’m just a bit annoyed about all the fan fare over Scotalnd beating Italy as turning a corner and fluking past Ireland when arguably they are one of the worst teams in the Northern Hemisphere!

          2. i think the biggest issue for ireland is that 2 games in a row now ROG has been put in a position where he has had to go and win a test match. even in his prime this was not his strength. he was the type of guy to grind down the opposition and play in the right parts of the field while his forwards won the game.

            agree with you that it may be a bit early to say that this scotland team have turned a corner, after all, half of the irish 1st XV were missing. but the scots are producing a few good players now, which is nice, because its good to have them actually competing instead of being whipping boys.

            i guess the point i am trying to make is that its nice for scotland to have improved enough that they can beat a 2nd string ireland team. must give them huge credit for defending for pretty much the entire game and still coming away with a win, that isnt easy to do.

          3. Mr B on your comment that Scotland are arguably one of the worst teams in the NH statistically speaking they cannot be that bad since they have won their last 3 out of four games against ireland now, two of those games being fair contests wit all players available. So to be quite frank I think scotland deserved their win even if ireland were unlucky to lose because they showed great character and resilience in defence and they took all of their chances. RRD

  7. This weekend showed how important it is to have an established kicker in the team and to take your points when on offer. Even the AB’s take 3 when they have the chance.

    Have to say that I backed the winning team in this one, unfortunately they managed to come 2nd in points scored! No idea how that happened. Well done Scotland though, and it could be an interesting one against Wales, although I have to say that I still reckon Wales will win realatively comfortably. But then again, I thought Ireland would have this one in the bag……

  8. Ireland butchered about a half dozen chances (pity they couldn’t have treated Wales with the same courtesy in the first half ) .The line-out and place kicking were sub-standard but they dominated every other aspect .Scotlands sneaky come back made for an interesting game but there are many weaknesses for their coaches and opponents to mull over .

  9. O’Gara thought he was a cavalier Frenchman for a moment, with a potentially genius attack out of deep defence and if it had worked he would be regarded as a hero.

    1. Ah the fickleness of test rugby! A player can be a hero or villain but for the bounce of a ball.

      On a less sarcastic note, when has o’gara ever produced a piece of magic like this? The reason he had to go for the kick was because the pass was well covered, but the shallow chip that he attempted was not on in any way either.

      I almost get the impression that ronan wants to be dropped…

      1. As a Scot, I loved it when O’Gara went wildly optimistic and pushed it too far, leading to utter mayhem, but I also loved the opportunistic punt to try and turn defence into attack. It could have worked.

  10. That team and the management should be thoroughly ashamed, they let down the fans big time. but the wee boys from Ulster played their hearts out, apart from rory Best who needs to go home and practice

  11. It was a disasterious decision to bring o’gara on at all. I feel that we would have probably won if jackson had been left on he would have put marshall in at the end with that pass that o’gara flung out. If this defeat brings an end to the whole o’gara bandwagon in the irish rugby media then it will actually have been worth it. O ‘gara is 3 years past test standard and he has cost us now today and against england also with his shocking performance there. We will have a revolt in munster if o’gara continues at no 10 in the hein cup. as he will eventually cost us i fear.

  12. Dicko – Scotland are one of the worst teams in the Northern Hemisphere who else lost to a Tongan side recently who tried to hand them the game on a plate? Not Ireland thats for sure…..

    1. Irrelevant. Scotland beat Ireland so Scotland can now rightly call themselves the better team. It’s pointless one team trying to claim they’re the best while failing to actually win the match.

  13. Kidney has said he’s going to review why they didn’t win, how they didn’t come on top in the small margins, etc. Isn’t it obvious? Spurning nine kickable points. Was it hubris, stupidity or total lack of confidence in the kicker?

    1. I think a combination of those. I think Ireland spurned a kick at goal because all of he pressure they had should have been paying off in tries. I think that was kind of a fair assumption, it had to happen by accident eventually. Unfortunately, it just didn’t and it put extra pressure on themselves.

      I did wonder about the penalty at 75 minutes. Easy kick, slot it over and regain the ball at kick off and push forward and the pressure is on Scotland to not give away a penalty. Complete reversal of psychology. In the end, Scotland could afford to give away a penalty at the scrum to prevent a try scoring opportunity.

      1. Have to agree with you wookie, I was scratching my head a little when they didn’t take the 3 5 mins before the end. Issues like that had everyone up in arms about robshaw as a captain back in the autumn.

      2. I can’t put the initial refusals to take three points down as any sensible tactical decision? I take your point about Ireland dominance making them think they should have tries but any half experienced rugby player knows that counts for nothing when given a chance to get 3 points in the first ten mins. Build a 6 or 9 point lead if it is offered, let the opposition know they now have to make a move, then go from there and play for tries. I can’t help thinking that hubris was the dominant factor? As Simo says, puts real doubt into the idea of Heaslip being a Lions captain contender.

  14. @Ken

    Rory had a bad game by his standards. The last thing u need with a string of injuries is key players not delivering. And Earls is useless. I’m now convinced he should never start instead of Trimble or even a half fit Fitzgerald – he’s a one dimensional player. I said O’Gara would be a mobile turnstile if he came on in place of the lowly Jackson but he was more a mobile liability.

    You are right. Ireland lost and so Scotland are the better team of the two right now. Well, stick to the IRB seedings guys – they make the most sense.. imo

    @Mr B

    Scotland are not a rubbish team. If you have injuries or let your guard down they can punish you. This is certainly not the best Scotland team you’ll ever see, but the beat Australia last year, and have now beaten us, I don’t think they’ll beat Wales however as they’ve come back into some form and are not plagued by injuries.

    Scotland are good at punishing mediocre performances. Take your chances against them or they sneak up on you, and it’s good for them that Robinson is gone too imo as he was awful..

    1. Point about Australia they beat an Austalian B/C team in a monsoon and you forget to mention a loss to Tonga since then.

      It IS a toss up between Scotland and Italy for the poorest team in the 6 Nations/Northern Hemisphere look at the wooden spoons shared between the two since the competitions inception and the IRB rankings.

      1. Funny though that when I look at the 6 nations table I don’t see Scotland down at the bottom with Italy?

        Massively ungracious of you after losing to Scotland to try and claim that Scotland are somehow a worse team than Ireland.

        As for the IRB seedings, yes, I do think they are irrelevant. Remember after the last world cup who was ranked by the IRB as the top UK nation? England. The vagaries of the computations meant that Wales were punished for playing two more games than England.

        1. I don’t agree here about the IRB rankings. They always tend to look accurate to me.

          And your reference to the last World Cup and England being ranked highly; well we won the 6 nations before the world cup so that was why. Surely that can not be argued with? (Please do not think I am suggesting that the England team under Martin Johnson was very good).

          1. At the end of the quarters the IRB rankings had it as Wales above England – makes sense given Wales got to the semis and England didn’t. Wales then lost their next two games, England didn’t play any, England moved above Wales despite Wales losing to two teams who were above them in the rankings – Fra and Aus. So Wales got penalised in terms of IRB rankings for playing more games in the WC than England. So that’s why I don’t put stock in this rankings.

            However, even if those rankings were perfect it’s still just a bad loser who comes on here and slags off Scotland, repeatedly saying they’re not as good as Ireland, when Scotland just beat Ireland. Scotland now have the bragging rights for 12 months – same as Eng have over NZ, Ire have over Wal etc. All of us losing teams just have to take it. If you’re the “better team” then you’d better win the match or you look even worse. I sympathise with Scotland – despite a similar record against Ireland before this years 6N (3 wins out of 4) we were still repeatedly told by the Irish that we are not as good as them. All of those HCs seem to have confused them about how international rugby works.

        2. Erm Ungracious of me, loosing to Scotland? My team actually beat Scotland in the first weekend so I know my team are better than Scotland (If you haven’t guessed i’m an England fan just to help you there Brighty) and yes I do class Ireland as a better team than Scotland you say it yourself if it wasn’t for the ineptitude of the kicker Ireland would’ve won.

          I am basing my opinion as a neutral.

      2. “It IS a toss up between Scotland and Italy for the poorest team in blah blah blub blub!!

        Oh, such SOUR grapes! Teams evolve. We have yet to see where Scotland evolve to but Ireland hasn’t evolved, that much is clear – where’s your new 10 after Sexton? Where’s the new BoD?

        The Under 20s Irish team lost too so the future isn’t looking good either. Scotland can only go up as they’ve fallen so low, Ireland … the way is only down?

        1. Gyro are you being deliberately obtuse let me spell it out for you I AM AN ENGLAND FAN so where are my sour grapes?

          Plus don’t try and be condescending have you noticed I have not tried to put anyone down who doesn’t agree with me as everyone is entitled to their opionion now go back and read my last comment again and get back in your box, stop being a prat and have a think about things.

  15. Scotland won. Simple as that. However I still rate Ireland a better team than Scotland. The IRB rankings generally mean a team higher up will win say 7, 8, 9 times out of 10 against a a lower ranked team. England beat the AB’s in the autumn but I still reackon the Ab’s are the better team. The IRB rankings are only indicative, and as Brighty has pointed out they are far from perfect but probably a reasonable indicator in my mind.

    1. Staggy, I agree. What I was objecting to was the use of the IRB rankings as some perfect impartial assessment, to support one bitter losers idea that no matter what the result on the weekend Scotland are still rubbish.

      For Scotland to be ranked above Ire they do need to be more consistent, but claiming that because Sco lost to Tonga and Ire didn’t that this weekends result is somehow irrelevant is a bit lame.

      1. have to agree that the rankings are far from a perfect measure of the class of some teams.

        what i will hasten to point out, to both sides of the argument, is that scotland won and are not a “rubbish team”. BUT, ireland were missing 8 of their first line players, and a number of others, where as that was pretty much the strongest scotland side available, minus Rennie and Murray (because it was a sunday?!?! this frustrates me)

        to name a some irish names missing from the teamsheet; healey, strauss, o’connell, mccarthy, ferris, henry, sexton, bowe, d’arcy, zebo.

        all of these names have at some point been linked to the lions (if not already played for them) which shows just the quality of players that were missing. combine that with the selection of players like O’Gara and Earls (who are not on form) and you have a pretty weak irish team.

        therefore what we can see is that this is not a fair judgement of scotland being better than ireland, but it is also not fair to call scotland rubbish, because after all, they managed to win a game with roughly 20% of possession!

  16. Look you can’t really judge who is better than who on one performance but over a long period od time i.e. 4 or 5 seasons . I am not to worried about the future prospects of irish rugby as we have some very talented players coming through the ranks ,like our u 20 s last season and even this year, results are not really relevant at u 20 level but decision making and skill level and ireland have good underage sides. Ireland are actually pretty solid at the moment and are not conceding soft tries at all which is a good sign. And with connacht really developing now in to a top class unit i feel that irish rugby perhaps needs a foreign coach to harness the talent being developed and manage it properly . Kidney ‘s been a great coach and got us a grand slam what o’sullivan couldn’t do in 7 seasons but kidney needs to perhaps go back to the youths teams where he laid such foundations over a decade a go. The future has never been as bright in a long while though and everything now should focus on winning our group at the w cup next time out and then potentially getting ourselves a semi spot and these players would be at their peak then.

  17. Just managed to catch up with this match, and I was tickled pink by an early comment by Phil Matthews about clearing out by the neck by a Scottish player
    “it’s not in any way dangerous here, but it shouldn’t be any part of the modern game”.

    this was the same Phil Matthews who commented about the Healy stamp
    “well, if you will lie on the wrong side you have to expect it”

    Very funny.

    1. Interesting that clearing out by the neck is wrong, but a choke tackle (where a player is essentially in a head lock) is fine…

      As long as neither is dangerous (as Matthews said in that instance) then they are fine. But consistency is key! If one is wrong, both are wrong!

      Also love that he tried to justify the stamp, and then Healy went on to be banned, sometimes commentators need to take a step back and keep the odd opinion in.

  18. arriving late to this forum i nevertheless have to comment
    Mr B English you may be andwith a stated impartiality however, i believe your glowing respect for ireland and not scotland is no doubt based on how theyve performed against england in recent years, after all that,s the only benchmark peoplelike you recognise.
    Scotland teams for years in the 6 nations have propped up the table with the best stats for possession, carries,territory etc. to no avail, we had to get a rub of the green sometimes.
    The national press pre match was full of stories of how few scots would make a combined scot/Irish team, im not so sure now.Id take the Scottish front 5 anyday both wigs and full back andWeir and laidlaw.
    The Irish provincial system is working best of all the home nations at producing quality and this will prevail to ensure Scotland lose more than they win against Irelandin future.

  19. Well, pundits are fans too. I just love the juxtaposition of those.

    I think the rationale is that although often the choke does involve headlock, it is essentially a preventative thing (ie. you are stoppping the player moving) while clearing out by the neck is an active one, and the twist can be quite brutal. So it’s the danger element.

    And now having finished watching the game, anyone who is trying to blame poor Paddy Jackson for the loss is crazy. By his use of delayed pass to runners from deep he created 4 or 5 clear line breaks and at least 2 of those should have been tries. It’s not his fault Earls didn’t pass (twice) and Marshall’s pass went forward. Two of the kicks were wide right and tough ones I don’t think you can blame him for missing.

    I thought he controlled the game well, got his backs moving and looked like a decent prospect. To blame him for the loss would be just plain mean.

    1. Agree with your point on the choke vs clear out. Also to be fair to the Irish, the amount if actually “choking” (ie holding a player up by wrapping your arms round his neck) has reduced, and they simply hold a guy up any way possible.

      Also have to completely agree with your analysis of jackson. I said it before, his open play helped Ireland get in their most dangerous positions. If only they had had another kicker to be able to take the burden from Jackson (who someone rightly pointed out doesn’t even kick for his club) then the story may have been different, but his all round play was exceptional.

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