Ireland’s win over the All Blacks in November gave them the name of ‘favourites?’. That question mark has become ever so slightly bigger after a determined Scotland snatched victory at Murrayfield. It was obvious that Scotland would challenge from the first play. They stretched the men in green instantly and after some strong carrying, they found themselved camped on the Irish line. Greig Laidlaw spun the ball out to Finn Russell who in turn floated the ball out. It missed everyone and Garry Ringrose spotted the oportunity for a potential intercept. He flew out the line and slipped so Stuart Hogg scooped up the loose ball and dashed in from 10 metres out. Laidlaw converted amidst the celebrations.
They backed that up a few minutes later when Huw Jones fired the pass out to Hogg who danced his way past Keith Earls and Rob Kearney with one dummy and scampered in. Yet again, Laidlaw with the conversion.
Ireland realised they were in trouble and started to get some momentum but still could not get past the Scottish defensive wall. They kept battering away and it wasn’t until the 19th phase that they finally worked the ball out wide. They used the hands and Simon Zebo nearly threw the intercept pass but Tommy Semour could not hold on and the ball found it’s way out to Keith Earls, who exploited the space Semour had left and ran in. Paddy Jackson’s conversion flew wide.
Murrayfield was rocking as Scotland pressed again. They set up a lineout which included a few backs and caught Ireland napping with a low throw and centre Alex Dunbar easily ran in. and with a Laidlaw conversion, they went in to halftime with a healthy lead despite a Jackson penalty.
Joe Smidt had a lot to say at halftime and he made the most of the 15 minutes he had. Ireland came out looking like a completely different side. Ulster lock Ian Henderson burrowed over the white wash and the come back was ignited even more so after the conversion.
Fatigue started to show and Rob Kearney flew at the Ferns line. Hew Jones flew off the tackle and suddenly Kearney had time and space to work to work with. A superb step sent him away from Sean Maitland but the Saracens winger flew back and recovered the ground to snatch Kearney’s ankles and send him out of play. A try saving tackle the Scots depseratly needed.
Ireland were in need of a bit of Johnny Sexton magic. Paddy Jackson, who was standing in for injured Sexton, had not flourished but spotted a gap and reached out to dot down. He converted his own try to give Ireland a hard fought lead.
It all seemed up for the men in blue but Jamie Heaslip was penalised for not rolling away. Laidlaw struck the resulting kick and Murrayfield was rocking again.
The pressure was all to much for Ireland and their handling let them down massively and as the clock turned red, discipline was the issure. Laidlaw stepped up again and slotted the kick to send Murrayfield berserk. A famous victory which dented Ireland’s chance of a Six Nations championship.