Scotland claim surprise win over Ireland in RBS Six Nations


Scotland overcame a torrid first-half to beat Ireland 12-8 in the RBS Six Nations at Murrayfield yesterday.

The visitors dominated possession and territory in the first 40 minutes but only had a Paddy Jackson penalty to show for it.

Craig Gilroy finally crossed for the Irish early in the second half but it jolted Scotland into life, with Laidlaw’s 100 per cent record with the boot proving the difference as Jackson missed three times from the tee.

Even at the final whistle Ireland had held 80 per cent of the possession, but Scotland held on to record a second victory in this year’s tournament.

The hosts were on the back foot right from the off, Luke Marshall and Keith Earls combining to smash through the gain line and press down on the home defence.

The visitors were held up, Sean Maitland bringing down Brian O’Driscoll yards from danger, while Marshall broke through two tackles before sending a wayward pass to Gilroy rather than going alone.

Ryan Grant was sin-binned after failing to retreat the required 10 yards as Conor Murray took a quick tap, however Jackson pulled the resulting penalty wide.

Maitland’s pace was once again to the fore as he pulled back Keith Earls after he had produced a dazzling 40m burst.

Rory Best’s erratic lineout throws continually let the pressure off the Scots but Jackson put his side in front seven minutes before the break after one of many infringements at the breakdown.

The Irish half had been territory that Scotland had barely ventured into, but with their last push of the opening period, they secured a penalty five metres beyond halfway.

It proved to be a tad too far for full-back Stuart Hogg, whose penalty was on target but lacked the required legs to make it over the bar.

Ireland came out in similar vein after the break and although Sean O’Brien slipped as he burst through the line, they kept their cool to send Gilroy over wide on the right.

Jackson failed to add the extras though, and Scotland’s first real drive gave Laidlaw the chance to get the hosts off the mark on 53 minutes.

Jackson pulled another penalty wide two minutes later and then Cross’ determined scrummaging for the Scots won them another penalty 30 yards out, and Laidlaw was just as accurate again as he cut the deficit to two points.

The tide started to turn as Ireland started to give up penalties at the ruck, and Laidlaw made no mistake with two accurate kicks to give the Scots a four-point cushion entering the final five minutes.

Still Ireland poured forward, replacement Ronan O’Gara kicking for the corner rather than taking the points to set up a gripping finale.

But despite winning two scrums inside the 10-metre line there was no weay through and Scotland remarkably claimed the victory.