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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Scotland go back to back with tense victory over Ireland

Scotland achieved a famous 12-8 victory over Ireland at Murrayfield, making it the first time they've recorded back to back Six Nations victories in over a decade. With two matches left to play, they still have a chance of winning the tournament.

Greig Laidlaw kicked Scotland to an upset win over an Ireland side that had the majority of the possession. Scotland held out and yet again showed that they're capable of winning tight games at Murrayfield, as they have done with both Australia and South Africa in recent years.

Laidlaw slotted four second half penalties as they came back from trailing 8-0 after a Craig Gilroy try and Paddy Jackson penalty. With possession at almost 80% to the Irish, who had not lost at Murrayfield since 2001, Scotland tackled their hearts out and capitalised on opportunities.

Experienced Ronan O'Gara came on late in the game but an uncharacteristic moment of madness - a crosskick that almost gifted Scotland a try - led to a penalty for the hosts. With time almost up Ireland had a chance to snatch it, but the ball was fumbled and Scotland picked up the famous win.

Ireland coach Delan Kidney will now be staring down the barrel of a gun, while on the flipside interim Scotland coach Scott Johnson looks in a good position to possibly aquire the full time job.

Scotland are up to third place on the overall table behind Wales, who also have four points from their two out of three victories. England are unbeaten on top, while France occupy last place.

View highlights of Wales vs Italy | England vs France

Posted by Rugbydump at 4:53 pm | View Comments (36)

England stay on track for Grand Slam with win over France

Wales win in Rome with comfortable victory over Italy

Posted in Six Nations 2013

Viewing 36 comments

Facepalm February 24, 2013 7:34 pm

With Kearney playing average and Foden not getting any game time it seems like the Lions 15 shirt is a two way battle between Hogg and Halfpenny.

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dave February 25, 2013 9:19 pm

I dunno, Alex Goode is pretty Good, if england wins the slam it's in no small part to the trusty play of alex goode, he would have to at least be considered for the back up role

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DrG February 26, 2013 5:18 pm

Read somewhere that Halfpenny is not in the best position for the Lions because although he is brilliant under the high ball and a great kicker etc, Farrell is probably a sure in for the Lions and no doubt he will be handed the kicking duties... Although I'd pick Sexton over Farrell (personally)...

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browner February 24, 2013 8:35 pm

Irish Line breaks screwed up ...... doh !

R.O.G . . . . . . R.I.P !

Healyless scrum .....beep beep beep [reversing!]

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browner February 24, 2013 9:17 pm

with reams & reams of stats ....................... the Key pair are

Jock Kicker 80%
Paddy Kicker 25%

My memory says the law makers were trying to reduce the 'dominance' of kicks ......... hey IRB, you're getting it wrong !

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cheyanqui February 25, 2013 3:52 pm

The best way to reduce to the dominance of kicks is to punish infractions more severely.

Penalties are still PKs, but if whip out the yellow card sooner, the offending team will stop offending.

Instead, they want to make the punishment to the offending team (3 points to their opponent) less likely -- thus that makes the sanction for penalties even softer? If so, then bring back some productive boots and argy-bargy to clean up the breakdown.

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DrG February 26, 2013 5:21 pm

Exactly, they can't have it both ways.

You either make punishments harsher (so that the Champagne rugby stops flowing because teams are down to 13 men a piece by the 20 minute mark) or you bring back the boot WHILST still punishing STAMPING therefore those slowing the ball up decide its a bit too painful to do it often.

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Llyr February 24, 2013 9:23 pm

"...uncharacteristic moment of madness..."

Someone's not been watching ROG this season. Ian Madigan should have been on the bench; ROG has been awful for the last 12 months.

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Sankeor February 24, 2013 9:23 pm

I forgot his name but I found the irish number 12 convincing.

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Facepalm February 24, 2013 11:24 pm

Luke Marshall. He looked very sharp all game. Good debut although perhaps a result for him to forget.

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FatProp February 25, 2013 12:11 am

Yes Scotland finally playing upto potential good back three and back row aint too shabby either
Being a saracens fan im wondering when did Brown get so good !

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DrG February 25, 2013 1:42 am

I'm with Scott Johnson on this one, I think there could be the possibility of reading too much into this victory and seeing things that weren't particularly there. Don't get me wrong I tend to back the underdogs and thus was excited to see Scotland win, but I think one of the only things Scotland can take away from this is the resolve and heart to not have given up.

The penalty count was appalling from them (as usual) which is saddening as they're often the death of themselves in a game by giving away so many penalties. The lineouts were brilliant actually (thats a good show) the scrums were good, but by no means mind blowingly amazing. A lot of power against the Irish scrum but the Irish pack was not in pieces...

But great resolve, great heart, and a nice win.

Interesting refereeing though... that yellow card was awful... (and the subsequent no card for the in air tackle was equally surprising)..

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Reality February 25, 2013 7:21 pm

Yeah, I'd be hesitant to say that Scottish rugby is on the rise. This match was essentially a repeat of Scotland vs Australia a few years ago, where Scotland won 9-8 with about 20% of possession. It was great for morale, but they were terrible in all their matches afterwards. One swallow doesn't make a summer. Although I hope I'm wrong.

Also, while it's crap to see them lose, there's actually a good side to all this. This looks to be the final straw for Kidney and O'Gara. They've been holding the team back for ages now, so at least in this disaster there's the hope for positive change.

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DrG February 26, 2013 5:29 pm

I think it's a crushing time of ROG. I think he has; in the not too distant past, been very instrumental in his play. He has often put Ireland in key winning positions, even though his tackling (or lack of) is suspect. I think it might be time to gently move him off the bench for a "standard match sheet" but bring him back in until he calls time himself (if he starts performing better at club level.

I think that "kick/pass" thing he did was sliced, I'm not 100% on that, but what he looked to be doing was definitely clever (if it works) but he looked as if he sliced it, and as such, all hell broke loose...

As for Kidney, I don't know what to make of him. As the pundits said though, "who is there to take over for him?"... I nominate Keith Wood. :D

Back onto the Scots. I think they have shown brilliant promise recently, they have juggled players into different positions (Lamont playing 13 is a good call), brought new guys onto the scene: Hogg, Denton, Gray et al, who all appear to be very hungry for the ball and for the attacking rugby, rather than the old Scotland of "come on lads, lets do what we can do get into their half and let Paterson's boot take over"..

One sliiiiiiight "thing" I am continually focussed on is the size of Stuart Hogg... he is a bit of a wee Jimmy, and I am concerned that against some of the bigger boys down South he will be severely man handled.

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SGS February 26, 2013 6:16 pm

Re:"wee jimmy"

I don't think he'll stuggle physically to be honest. He's really not all that small, roughly the size of Kearney, and I'll direct you to his run in the lead up to Maitland's try against England in which he puts the larger Goode on his backside.
And let's not forget that Halfpenny is smaller, yet nobody doubts him due to his size.

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DrG February 26, 2013 11:06 pm

Being an amateur at 6ft 6 and 19 stone.... I do doubt both Halfpenny's physical "Bashness" and Hoggs.....

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SGS February 27, 2013 1:04 am

I suppose since you're bigger than Jamie Roberts and Tuilagi you doubt their physicality too? Come on.

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DrG February 28, 2013 8:03 pm

My mistake, I mixed up Hogg with Laidlaw >.< who is definitely the wee jimmy lol..

For the record, no I don't doubt Roberts, or Tuilagi, and in some respect I don't doubt Halfpenny either, because I know that with Hogg and all the above mentioned, if there is a possible break then they will make it. All I'm suggesting is perhaps against some of the naturally bigger players down South (Islanders, Boks, Maoris'), they might struggle to make the same impact as they often do.

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themull February 25, 2013 2:05 am

Ireland simply not clinical enough..Just as in the England game, they butchered any good chances they created either through poor decision making or simple mistakes..

Marshall should be at inside centre for the remainder of the championship at least, whether Darcy is fit or not..Wouldn't mind seeing Jackson start the rest of the games if Sexton doesn't recover in time also..the game time would give him a chance to earn some valuable experience..if not him then madigan..ROG was an excellent outhalf but he doesn't seem up to it anymore and its time to give the younger guys some real game time to build towards the next world cup..

Great to see Scotland getting a good run of results at last, but unfortunately I dont think you can read too much into todays i thought with the England match it seemed that ireland lost the game rather than Scotland won it..I dont think I could pick any other top 10 nation in the world who could enjoy over 70% possession and lose the match...I would like to see some of the scottish boys go on the lions tour though..Jim hamilton and Hogg especially..

All in all, looking like another forgettable six nations for Ireland..I don't hold much hope for our next game against France..even with the French not playing up to their usual level I see their pack doing untold damage in the scrum and starving Ireland of possession..

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ConorL February 25, 2013 4:11 am

-Kidney's decision to strip BOD of the captaincy and give it to Heaslip has backfired spectacularly.

-Don't think Jackson should be blamed for the loss. Everyone knew he wasn't a good kicker going into the match, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that he only landed 1 all day. Thought he showed enough in general play to warrant starting against France.

-Marshall is the real deal at 12.

-Earls wouldn't pass a ball to save his life! I don't think I've ever seen a try so completely butchered due to such shameless gloryhunting in all my life. Honestly, how do you NOT pass to BOD in that situation?! Either that or he has absolutely zero peripheral vision at all. Either way, he shouldn't be anywhere near the starting team for the foreseeable future.

-ROG should be put out to pasture.

-BOD should be reinstated as captain for the final two games, with Jackson at 10 and Madigan on the bench, Marshall at 12 and McFadden on the wing instead of Earls, with McFadden taking over kicking duties.

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BestHookerInTown February 26, 2013 1:42 am

How can you not mention Best in this? This is the second week in a row we've lost a match because that man cannot hit a lineout! There is a young hooker in Sean Cronin on the bench, a man who adds depth in running plus can throw a lineout and I don't think he has been played at all this championship (correct me if I'm wrong).

And similarly I really don't see why Tom Court was started. Fine maybe have him on the bench as an old head to finish a game, but in his prime Tom Court was not an international, so why now?

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ConorL February 26, 2013 3:11 am

Are you honestly suggesting that Best's throwing is the reason the team lost the last two games?! Seriously?!!

A good lineout is an asset, but it's not all-important. For me, there numerous other more important factors that cost Ireland the game yesterday. Lack of a front-line kicker in the team, an inability to convert clean line breaks into tries, horrible decision-making, ill-discipline, a retreating scrum, ROG's quite frankly ludicrous cross-field kick etc. etc. I would rank all of these issues and more as reasons for the defeat ahead of Best's throwing.

Sure, Best had a poor game, but in his (slight) defense he was up against two giant 2nd rows who both had excellent games. Also, some (not all) of the missed line-outs were down to bad calls and poor timing/lifting, which is not his fault.

Court has had a fine season for Ulster, but i agree he shouldn't have started ahead of Kilcoyne who had been 2nd in line behind Healy for the opening two matches. But then again, the scrums didn't exactly improve once Kilcoyne came on! Healy can't get back quickly enough.

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DrG February 26, 2013 5:33 pm

I stopped reading further after "A good lineout is an asset, but it's not all-important."

Are you a back?

Is a scrum also an asset?

As a second row myself, I consider lineouts to be HUGELY important, just the same as ANY other part of the game where you have the ball.

Opposition kicks the ball down into your corner and you have an own throw line out.... you're telling me it's not important to win that?

If the second rows (or back rows) cannot keep hold of the ball, or the hooker can't throw it in then you might as well right off ANY penalties given to you that aren't kickable...

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ConorL February 26, 2013 10:35 pm

I never said line-outs weren't important, go back and read my post again. Of course they are important, but what I said was that they weren't ALL-important, i.e. that it is possible to win a match without them. A good line-out is rarely the deciding factor in a match.

To me, there are things that are of greater importance to a team eg. a quality goal-kicker. Do you really believe that Best missing a handful of throws had a bigger bearing on the result than Jackson missing all of his kicks or Earls not passing to a wide open BOD with the try line in sight?

"you might as well right off ANY penalties given to you that aren't kickable..." That is just straight up nonsense. There are a number of things you can do with a penalty, you don't HAVE to kick it to touch. You can opt for a scrum, you can tap and go, you can put up an up-and-under and let your big guys compete for it in the air etc. etc.

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DrG March 02, 2013 6:51 pm

There are plenty of things of greater importance, but if your hooker can't hit his mark, or your jumpers can't hit theirs, then its time for a re-think. They are SIMPLE things, and if you can't get the simple things right then yes I think they did have a bigger bearing on the result.

Put it this way: Let's say Irelands lineout was dominating all day. They were monstrous, took the ball, mauled it, penalties etc etc etc. all good. Then when Jackson steps up and misses 2 kicks, you know that with the third penalty you go for the corner. Your lineout will get you the points.

If you can't kick the goals AND you can't get the lineouts, then your ONLY option is a scrum or a tap and go.

A scrum is messy and you have all your fowards locked in. A tap and go is one of those things that is a bit like a "reset", you get the ball back and you charge it in.. wow... hardly a great twist there.

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psweene2 February 25, 2013 1:42 pm

I don't like to focus on one position as being the fulcrum of a game but I felt that if Johnny Sexton was playing we would have taken our chances better. Despite that, I still think our back line had some shortcomings, some of them seemed to be getting a bit of white line fever when the possession was good.

Kudos to the Scottish pack, they were dominant in several scrums and won more than a few lineouts against the head. I sincerely hope that Scotland can take the positives from this game and Ireland can learn a few lessons.

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ConnachtMan February 25, 2013 2:03 pm

Hope Kidney gets fired.

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Facepalm February 26, 2013 1:39 am

When you have a group of outstanding individuals who can't string together any consistency of form, the blame can only turn on one person. I've never been a part of the Irish coaching set up but it seems to be pretty toxic at the minute. Time to change from the bottom up me thinks.

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macmurchu February 26, 2013 6:50 pm

I don't think this can all be squared at Kidney lads, I reckon in general he shouldn't be there long much longer but this loss was nothing to do with him. His setup wasn't far off but the team's execution was pretty shocking. 80% possession, line breaks achieved etc and you lose a game? That's the players' fault. Kidney had nothing to do with Earls going alone for the corner marked by Hogg & Maitland (hardly tortoises) with O'Driscoll inside him, or with a malfunctioning lineout. The players have a lot to own up to for this one.

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AndyBoy February 25, 2013 11:50 pm

This game showed Ireland's weaknesses.

1) Their lack of a decent starting kicker (a previous commenter is right - until sides get penalised severely slowing ball down, penalties will decide matches).

2) Lack of strength in depth - Ireland had nothing on the bench that could change the game.

3) Kidney's ineptitude in sticking with O'Gara who, frankly, doesn't even deserve a place on the bench, and playing O'Driscoll but taking the captaincy from him.

With Sexton on the pitch and Scotland's penalty count in the first half, Ireland would have been out of sight by the end of the first half.

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EggsAndBacon February 27, 2013 12:09 pm

I don't necessarily think strength and depth is that much of an issue. Any team in world rugby would be pretty thin on the ground with nearly 10 potential starters missing with injury/suspension. So obviously the bench was always going to be lacking. In fact, I think Ireland has lots of depth everywhere aside from the props.

I think picking Earls over McFadden was a terrible decision. And why on earth were all the easy kicks passed on, and the more difficult ones attempted? McFadden is a solid kicker, and a much better defender and team player than Earls.

On the two debutantes, both were very promising in open play. Jackson plays such a flat game, exactly what the Irish backs need. Luke Marshall is certainly the heir apparent to D'Arcy, who has looked sluggish the last few years. The defense of both players was strong also.

As a life long Munster fan and worshiper of ROG, he has to go. He isn't even the top flyhalf in Munster anymore, so why does Kidney pick him? I would say Sexton, Jackson, Maddigan and Keatley are all ahead of him at this point, and I'll give it a year until JJ Hanrahan also passes ROG.

As for Ireland, we haven't strung together consistent performances since the group stages of the World Cup, hammering everyone and then narrowly beating Australia before getting beaten up by Wales.

Kilcoyne, Best, Ross, O'Callaghan, Ryan, O'Mahony, O'Brien, Heaslip, Reddan, Jackson, Marshall, BOD(C), McFadden(K), Gilroy, Kearney
Bench: Court, Cronin, Fitzpatrick, Touhy(fit?), Henderson, P.Marshall, Maddigan/Keatley, Earls/Fitzgerald

That would be my ideal team to play France. I think that since we have already lost the championship, we may as well experiment a bit with the likes of Paul Marshall and Maddigan/Keatley.

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Frenchie February 28, 2013 9:24 pm

What do you think of this 6N? I personally think the level is low.

Being French i am obviously disappointed by my team but also overall i think this is a boring tournament.
It seems most teams except England are struggling finding their rugby: after beating France in a great game, Italy gets pumped twice. Same goes for Ireland loosing twice; France is making a mess of their rugby. Wales only beginning to play a decent rugby.
I dare say even England as the "in form" team is not showing great rugby, this is my opinion. I was not impressed by their victory over Ireland, and the ref gave them a massive help against the French.

I hope the last 2 rounds will show a better rugby. I can't wait for Ireland vs France.

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browner March 01, 2013 3:20 pm

If you're french then 'surrendering' possession & only showing a 'resistance' is le typical

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browner March 01, 2013 3:18 pm

Scotland with back2back victories, i'm gonna have £10 on shergar in the grand national

cos anythings possible now

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Oggy Yarrow March 03, 2013 8:09 pm

Thank god SCOTLAND won that won

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