John Inverdale introduces live coverage of Scotland v Ireland in the opening game of the 2017 Six Nations. Commentary is provided by Andrew Cotter and Andy Nicol.
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By trains, boats and planes, they've come from all over Ireland, buoyed
by the autumn victory over the All Blacks and thinking this could be
the year of a Grand Slam showdown against England in six weeks' time.
Before that, their coach is having to take each game as it comes.
Scotland- Ireland is the curtain raiser, keen to go out to lay down
the standard for the rest to follow? Yes, I guess we are always keen, I
know Scotland will be as well and I hope it does set a bit of a standard
for the way the games are played. I know that both teams are looking
forward to being as positive as they can, but I know conditions are
tricky but we will play with positive endeavour. You have claimed
some significant scouts in the last six months, not least New Zealand.
Does that raise expectations that you must play like that over time?
That is our hope. We may have caught New Zealand on a bit of an off day
and if we Catchpole and on a really good day I don't think there is that
much difference between the top eight teams. The margins are so
small. We know they are going to be good today and for us Sarr
expectation is that it's going to be an incredibly tough game and we have
to be really on our mettle to win it. Will there be more pressure on
Murray at scrum-half without Sexton? He has been really good and he is
motivated for today like all of the players. We have confidence in Paddy
Jackson and we have other guys who can kick the ball. Hopefully we can
cover the bases with a fair bit of support for him and for Paddy. Paddy
has started five of the last seven Test matches for us. Good luck
today. Thanks. As we have mentioned a couple of times there will be a
recurring subplot throughout the Six Nations about who might be going on
the last tour in the summer. Sonia asked Joe Schmidt about Conor
Murray. Amongst the list of people who are honours -- as good as on the
plane it has to be Conor Murray. Hello, how are you doing? Great to
see you. I'm good, thanks. Get out! Do you fill that rugby never stops,
it's always the next big thing? Can you enjoy it? It's something I've
consciously worked on in my mind to kind of correct, or try and enjoy
things a little bit more because you see some players that I just
shadowed by the pressure, or whatever. I just want to make sure I
enjoyed it because hopefully on Saturday you run out on Murrayfield
to a packed stadium. To not enjoy that is such a shame. Did you go a
bit wild after Chicago? We had a few Guinness, which was great. Special
day, special, special day. The week felt a bit weird from
coming from Munster and Axel passing and to go straight into another camp
and have that in your head was a bit weird but from the beginning of the
game, the national anthems and the Haka and the emotion that built up
in that game you realise when standing in the figure of eight you
are hearing the crowd recognise what it was, there was a bit of a raw and
it felt like a really powerful thing to do. The image was spine tingling.
-- roar. To put in a performance like that was the best sporting
moment of my life. Sometimes you try and be a bit humble about it. But
that was my best performance in a green shirt. Nobody ever wants to
say I'm great, and the best in the world, unless you are Muhammad Ali
or someone like that but you are named in that fashion now. How do
you deal with that? Axel used to say you are never as good as they say
you are or as bad as they say you are so you have to find somewhere in
the middle. To be mentioned like that is great, it means the hard
work is being seen by people on the outside which is great. Maybe when
I'm finished you can really look back and say that was a great day,
that was a good few months of my career, I was in good form. But
right now it is weak in and week out and trying to stay at the level. The
perception I've always had a view is you are a reluctant leader, is that
fair? Your personality comes out, at school my teacher said to me if you
want to play scrum-half or in that area you will have to speak up and
it's something I've definitely had to focus on and try and get better
at, but at the same time don't try and change yourself. If you really
force it... I am who I am for a reason.
There he is, a very level-headed guy, but absolutely key pivot to the
Irish team. He is, he is very comfortable and leads by his actions
on the field. I don't think he is a particular shouter or talks too
much, he's very structured in what he does but he has a great engine.
He is still going at 78, 79, 80 minutes, you will find, doing the
right thing at the right time. But his defence as well is incredibly
keen for the Manning which Ireland plate. He is one half of the
half-backs partnership that would normally be Johnny Sexton but Paddy
Jackson is the man who fills that birth today because Sexton is
injured. Is that a key, do you think, potentially match defining
injury? To those who don't know the game particularly well it could
become a Johnny Sexton is an outstanding player. And a well-known
player, as is Paddy Jackson. Paddy Jackson has played a lot for Ireland
through the summer against South Africa, started against Australia,
came on after 25 minutes against New Zealand and carried the same form
that Johnny Sexton has. He is a tremendous player. He kicks 87% as
well. He plays an awful lot of the last few games for Ireland,
everybody looks at Johnny Sexton, the big name up in lights and
thinking he is missing and there will be a big hole but this guy is a
more natural ten than Johnny Sexton. He isn't as good as Johnny Sexton
but the team play a little bit freer when he plays. When you say he is
not as good as Johnny Sexton I would say he's not as experienced, I think
the talent in his ability to run and sidestep and see the gaps, I think
it is a good thing for Ireland that Scotland will know more about Sexton
and less about Jackson in this scenario. Five seconds, here is
Garry Ringrose. He's the first Garry Ringrose. From a Scottish
perspective, the one statistic they look at that cast a huge dark cloud
over them is the fact that only once in their history in the whole of the
Six Nations have a won their opening match of the tournament. These days
this is a different Scotland who have strength in depth, confidence
and they are ready to get departing coach Vern Cotter off on a good
sendoff. Vern is it strange going into the
Six Nations championship knowing it is your last one? I haven't given it
much thought, the last game it will sink in but I am firmly focused on
this game. It is a big game to start with. The whole thing has been about
preparing well for this. There is a real sense of optimism
around Scottish Rugby. Do you think you can convert that into the first
win on the opening day for many a year? That's the intention, to go
out there and win the game. We are playing a very good team and a lot
of things have been said, everybody would like to see us do this, most
of all us, but we know we are playing a good team and we will have
to be at the top of our game. Stuart Hogg is hotly tipped to make the
Lions team this summer. What is he likely to bring to Scotland today?
We know what he can do, he brings the ball up fairly quick on
counterattack situations, the long kicking game, which will be
important, because the ball is slippery. The rain should stop but
it has been raining this morning so our tactics have changed. Today has
not been what it has been like all week so there have been a few tweaks
done. The guys are really up for it and hopefully they will put in a
good performance. Good luck. Thank you.
It is quite a pleasant afternoon and the rain has stopped, it will be
greasy on the pitch but it is not as cold as we were expecting. Andy
Nicholls will be part of the commentary team, welcome to another
Six Nations. Vern Cotter's last Six Nations. He gave an interesting
interview a of weeks ago. Doesn't have any bearing on the way Scotland
will play today going forward? I don't think it does. It is a strange
set of circumstances because normally a coach has left when he is
not been doing well. Over the last 18 months the players have really
been buying into what Vern Cotter is trying to get across and there is a
real alignment and these players love playing for Vern Cotter so I
think they will be even more motivated in the next five games to
send him off on a high. We talked about Conor Murray, the number nine
for Ireland, but what about Greig Laidlaw as captain and the performer
and pivot of this Scottish team. One of his most important traits for the
team is his leadership. It is a fairly inexperienced side but he
brings that real sense of leadership, and also he is the
points scorer with his goal-kicking. He is so important. Alec Price is on
the bench and playing well for Glasgow but I think you will see
Greig Laidlaw play most of the match because I think it will be tight and
his goal-kicking could be what Scotland need at the end. If they
need to come back after a few points down then Ali Price gives a
different option off the bench. Vern Cotter has really leaned on Greig
Laidlaw on his tenure here and he is his go to man and he is important
for Scotland. If Scotland are looking for somebody
with the panache and flair, if you like, to ignite the game in the
closing stages that is obviously the man, Stuart Hogg with dazzling
footwork and electric pace. Again, going back to the subject of the
Lions, you would think he has a very good chance of being a starting
full-back, or maybe perhaps even on the wing for the Lions in the
summer. Scottish players have been involved in the starting line-up for
Lions teams in recent Taurus, few and far between. The halcyon days of
Gavin Hastings, Tom Smith was very important in South Africa in 1997,
Tom Smith on his own in 2001 but the last three Lions tours there has not
been a single Scottish player who has been an automatic starting
player for any of the subsequent Lions coaches. You would think
Stuart Hogg is going to be very much in the mix for that and he and Lee
McKenzie went for a walk around the outside pitches here at Murrayfield.
# Can we bring yesterday around # Because I know how I feel about
you now stop # Steward, you are only 24 but it
feels you have been around for ages, are you an old head on young
shoulders. I look old! I tend to hang around
with older guys in the squad, Greig Laidlaw, Ross Ford, I like to pick
the bones from them and listen to their chat. I am fairly experienced
and if I can help out in any way, shape or form that is what I'm here
to do. Does being a father helped with the sense of responsibility?
Yes, obviously I have the wee boy, Archie, 14 months now, and another
kid in a few weeks' time. I think I had to mature fairly quick. I love
seeing the camaraderie between you and the boys, not just on the pitch
but also on social media. You seem to all get on very well with each
other. Yes, I think that is shown on social
media. Sometimes we don't get on with each other.
EXPLETIVE Bartlett scared me during the week. For me it is challenge
accented and it is my turn. You probably don't want to talk
about this but I'm going to ask about the Lions. How much does it
mean to get that jersey again? It is first and foremost getting in
a Scotland 15 jersey and expressing myself and having some fun. If I'm
good enough to be there than perfect.
In terms of Glasgow and Edinburgh, their performances have been pretty
strong throughout the last few months. Does that help create a real
sense of optimism? Certainly, I think there was a stat
come out the other day, 33 out of the 37 boys involved in the final
stages of Europe, so everybody has been playing well and been
performing. It is a tricky time for the coaches to select the 23. Where
do you think Scotland has improved? What have you guys been working on
since the autumn internationals? I think for us everything starts up
front. If we get our set pieces, scrum and line-out right and get
good go forward off the back of that we can release the ball to our
backs. We have a good old back line these days and if we get the boys
the space the damage is going to happen. As I say everything starts
up front, everybody has a job to do and if everybody does that we are in
a good place. # I feel about you now #
Fantastic aerial shot of Murrayfield on the opening of RBS Six Nations
2017. Nobody better to talk about him than a man who played over 100
times for his country. What brings the extra pizzazz to the number 15
jersey? A lot of it is his confidence and attitude to play but
he's very skilful. This is the counterattack last year against
Ireland, he scans for the two front row forwards and then his pace and
ability to execute it and finish from long range is electric, and
also he has four of his Glasgow Warriors team-mates alongside him
this afternoon working really well together. The big thing for me for
Stuart Hogg over the last two years is his majority. He's only 24 but
you think back to the red card in Wales, he's a completely different
person. A couple of years younger than him is Huw Jones in the centre.
As a centre yourself how impressed were you by the way he surged onto
the in Sam Rush not seem -- the way he surged onto the international
scene. He is elusive. With such inexperience, to come into these
situations and play as if he's been there such a long time is
impressive. It is good to see him taking hold and really having a go.
The youngsters, the inexperience, you don't get sucked in by the
occasion. You really want to get the ball and show why you've been
selected and he has done that. In the autumn he had a chance and took
the chance and he wasn't fazed by everything going on. He also seemed
unfazed by the fact Scotland hadn't been playing well. This is a new
team, new players, he is confident in his ability. His big point of
difference is his speed, he is electric and quick with his running.
He has not played since the Argentina team when he had a foot
injury. He has not played but no doubt he will come out and played
impeccably and fast for Scotland. CHEERING
You can hear the huge ovation for the teams of Scotland and Ireland as
they take to the field at Murrayfield for the opening game of
the RBS Six Nations championship. Tomasz Schafernaker, or whoever it
was on the BBC weather forecast last night, they were expecting to run
out into torrential rain but it is winter sunshine and it is a glorious
afternoon. For watching and more importantly for playing. We might
have had a stodgy start for the Six Nations but no excuse this afternoon
for having a really good compelling contest between these sides. If you
are looking you watch and thinking they don't kick off until 2:30pm and
it is a bit early, they are out early because both sides will be
presented to the patron of the Scottish Rugby union, that Princess
Royal am a regular attendee at Murrayfield and has been for many
years. If we are just talking in general terms about the
championship, I know you can use facts and figures to prove anything
who want. But almost all of the Six Nations Championships barring a
couple have been won by the team that has conceded the fewest tries.
Is that the base from which you start? You don't concede tries
therefore you win matches? You do and that's one of the difficulties,
don't concede tries is almost a negative, and you are trying to play
positive from the start. You can lose the championship very early on
by not having your concentration right, by not having the structures
in the right place. One of the glorious things of this tournament
is the atmosphere, the hype, but it also is the sense of ambition you
need to have, you need to get off to a good winning start. If you look at
all the stats you have to win on the first weekend to go on to win the
trophy. Does that drive people by and large down a pragmatic route on
the first day? I suppose it does in many ways. Those who have the
courage to rise above that and do what is the right thing to do in
that situation will come out on top. You are right that championship
teams, successful teams are built on good defence, that must be the
bedrock of what you do, but making the right decision at the right
time, being more evasive and given the extra paths if it is on is the
courage you need, courage is often viewed upon as who can hit hardest,
or who can get up after being hit but courage in decision making and
taking a risk can lead to good attacking powers. The game has
expanded from defence, if you think teams are looking to score 25-35
points, you've got to score tries, so the emphasis is on attack, how
can you create that space? How can you get those good players, the game
breakers, into it? If you watched Ireland against New Zealand in
Chicago, the intelligence with which they played, the way they spread the
ball, they spread New Zealand and looked for the gaps, they are such a
smart team scored 40 points against the All Blacks, you've got to score
to win, don't you? Absolutely, there has been a change over the last two
or three years as the game has moved. From the northern hemisphere
teams in the World Cup it was a little bit too early for them. Since
then there is more ambition, the greater sense of urgency of racking
up points. The often levelled is that it is too robotic and
repetitive but it was interesting hearing Eddie Jones with Sonia in
Portugal saying he thinks the game is more chaotic than it's ever been
before. Would you go along with that? I guess he is saying it from a
structural point of view, look how many moves you've got to think that
as a player. The coaches are imparting that knowledge to the
players, talking about three or four set plays and we just used to have
one. It is chaotic but the best teams play in a simplified way. It
is the phases and amount of phases. Three, four, five phases. But you
get 17, 18, 19 phases and still expect the teams to defend and
attack and play accordingly. That is the change and that is where the
chaotic nature comes from. The analysis is so good these days
everybody knows what is coming so you need the chaos to bring
something new to the party and I think we will see that from two
innovative coaches on the opening weekend of the Six Nations and I'm
sure we will see something we haven't seen before the catch is
somebody out. Long conversations going on here. And a bit of hilarity
as well. It is all very relaxed. I thought Vern Cotter was more relaxed
in his pre-match interview as well so maybe it is rubbing off on the
players. Greig Laidlaw can often be quite cranky, he is a grumpy nine.
Who will win? It will be Ireland on form. Scotland are on the up but
they have such a confidence hurdle to get over. Tight, tight, tight,
Ireland by three or four points. Tight, tight, tight whatever. This
competition is officially declared the best attended sporting event in
the world. Here we go with the anthems for the first match in this
year's RBS Six Nations. # Come the day and come the hour
Come the power and the glory # We have come to answer
Our country's call # From the four proud
provinces of Ireland # Ireland, Ireland
Together standing tall # Shoulder to shoulder We'll
answer Ireland's call # Ireland, Ireland
Together standing tall # Shoulder to shoulder We'll
The 18th Six Nations championship begins at Murrayfield with
commentary from Paul O'Connell, Andy Nicol and Andrew Cotter.
Scotland's eternal son of hope and genuine belief and optimism for the
home side tempered by a couple of absentee is, in the front row, much
is made of the talent of Zander Fagerson who has just turned 21,
Brown gets the nod ahead of Ross Ford with Allan Dell winning his
fourth cap, each member of the front row start of the Six Nations game
for the first time. In the back row Josh Strauss, big ball-carrier,
number eight, back line bringing Dummett brimming with talent. Huw
Jones has not played since a foot injury against Argentina but will be
a marked man after an outstanding display in November. As for Ireland
at tight head Tadhg Furlong, so impressive, Anderson and Devin Toner
will relish their appearances. CJ Stander on the blindside is a real
threat and a very strong back row. Behind the scrum, no sexton at
fly-half but Paddy Jackson is almost a regular test starter of late. In
the centre great thing is expected of Garry Ringrose, the younger and
less experienced of the Leinster partnership with Robbie Henshaw. A
high-class back three, all very comfortable under high ball as well,
looking for those today under the swirling breeze. The replacements
show some depth available to both sides in some positions, but
Scotland looked thinner in the front row cover where they should be a
first cap for Berghan. Scotland gathering in a huddle as the
countdown continues to the start of the Six Nations. The referee for
this one is Romain Poite. A full deck of cards, no doubt, in his
pocket. We will look for the new laws and interpretations but we hope
for an entertaining game. Conditions are fine now. That tackle laws, the
bonus points, the players from all corners of the globe, but the
excitement of the Six Nations remains a constant. And what a game
to get as underway at Murrayfield. Romain Poite says to Finn Russell,
"I'm ready." We are underway in the 2017 RBS Six
Nations. Finds Zebo initially. He bounces straight into Allan Dell.
Scotland with fierce early tackles trying to peg Ireland back and back
it goes to Carney. Down on the pitch before kick-off I noticed it was a
southerly wind -- Kearney. Scotland will have the slight breeze
advantage in the first half. It does swirl around here, no doubt. That
was a good physical start in defence by Scotland. They will be pleased to
get the first big hit put in. Ireland might have gone through a
few more phases but they were on the back foot and Scotland have a good
attacking line-out. Brown goes to the front and two Richie Gray
waiting there. The little knock-on there. The first scrum of the match
and it is Irish ball and Paul O'Connell is looking forward to
seeing how the scrums go today. The perceived wisdom is Ireland have the
upper hand. Yes, I suppose it's a big challenge for Zander Fagerson,
so young, tightheads normally develop later so this is a big day
for him. The young guy on the other side in Tadhg Furlong for Ireland.
It will be an interesting battle. Ireland have the weighted advantage.
Always tells a little story. A good view from the spider cam overhead.
The front rows come together for the first time. Marie Waits and feeds.
-- Murray waits. Nothing going on yet. Ireland looking for the first
penalty, a big marker laid down. Massive moment. Normally hear you
are trying to exit from your own half of the pitch. You going to
Whitfield and kick it long, if you get a penalty is the best way, get
the ball back again 40 metres down the field. The contrast between the
sides, the ball went in and Ireland were happy the scrum to take long as
possible. Scotland will want to see the converse, get the ball in and
out and Fraser Brown to put it and get the ball away as quickly as
possible because you saw the advantage Ireland have. Daily are
the Irish ball, Irish line-out, the first chance for Ireland to attack.
If their captain Rory Best can find his target. Which he does. The ball
is back for Murray. Fed back now for Sean O'Brien. Big hits coming in.
Ireland, can they lift the pace. Heaslip with an early carry? Quick
ball for Ireland again, battling their way through CJ Stander, so
impressive in the autumn. Back it comes to Heaslip once more. And into
Fagerson and Richie Gray, but Ireland still with the ball and
attacking and hanging onto it now as Henshaw lays it back, a little bit
untidily, eventually. The turnover. Laidlaw can fire their Scottish
backline and wide it goes to Huw Jones. Jones may have looked to pass
in front to Maitland but Maitland galloping onto it and Scotland have
a chance. Russell onto Fagerson and beyond it goes. And now Scotland
have meant out wide but the little knock-on and off Huw Jones just
about where the scrum was first they will do it again. Scotland had the
numbers, just needed to put it through the hands, they didn't need
to do much else, that is a shame because turnover ball is what you
are after. This is the bit where they got the turnover, Fraser Brown,
Dunbar, in there, the ball all over the place, Scotland get the
turnover, the pass out wide, just what they needed. This is when it
came down, too hard from Finn Russell. That really was an
opportunity for Scotland. You can see the frustration.
We talked about how electric Huw Jones was in November. His parents,
his father was teaching at John Watson' College, that is why he was
born in Scotland. English parents, unknown to Fraser Brown. That he was
called, in rugby terms, in South Africa, Huw Jones. Fraser Brown
might be getting a blood reversal. Again, we mentioned that he hasn't
played since that game against Argentina in November. No matter how
fit you are, there is match fitness as well. And sharpness. He was
involved in the preseason at the Stormers but it is very different to
training hard and training under pressure to training in a
full-blooded Test match. This will be an early appearance for Ross Ford
as Fraser Brown goes for blood reversal. Cap number 103. Initially.
But I am sure we will see you later on. A decent chunk of a man to be
waiting in the wings. They will have debated long and hard whether he
starts because of his scrummaging. Fraser Brown was outstanding for
Glasgow couple of weeks ago for Leicester. Ross Ford will probably
improve the scrum for the time he is on the pitch. The instant litmus
test is this one. Almost exactly the same position as the previous one. I
learned just waited and waited and then the surge came on.
Dell just popped out an island status trade. Look at him on the
side nearest us, hopefully he can stay straight. And lay off the
scrum. The same result. Penalty coming,
surely, for Ireland. There it is. DRS scrums and two to destructions
of the Scottish pack. You can see the way he comes on, Del's hips
popped out to the left. Ireland goes straight through. It could be a long
day if it continues like this. Paid attention but clearly under
pressure. Not just a very strong in the scrum
but very impressive in the loose as well. From on high, we get a great
view of it. You can just see Dell popped out as the pressure comes
out. He needs a bit of help from his/her close, his second rowers.
This line-out is scrappy. -- from his hookers. From Ireland's
wastefulness. Watson takes it. A live wire. A bit around the collar.
But Scotland are still with it. Again, a chance to attack.
Shovelling it onto Maitland. Jonny Gray. Scotland back up to the
ten metre line. The game is going through the same patterns. Richie
Gray, this time. Allan trying to hold them up. Russell thinks he sees
a bit of space. Keith earls has a bit of time to
slice it massively off the outside of his boot. You can see the attempt
for Scotland, wanting it to go wide. Stuart Hogg, Sean Maitland full of
confidence at the moment and then the power comes in. The Rae
Brothers, the main ball carriers for Scotland. When you are captain of a
site where the scrum is struggling, is there a way you can actually try
and avoid scrums in a game of rugby? -- the Gray Brothers. You have to
man up. We have some rain early on. The board is greasy. There will be a
lot of scrums. Wilson took it. Looking for the inside man, Sean
Maitland. Again, Scotland, through Jonny Gray.
Rossall looking for width. Huw Jones hanging that -- Russell. Hogg is
there. CMOS battling his way down the wing. Scotland to within seven
metres of the line. -- Seymour battling his way. They are
struggling but move forward with a vengeance. Richie Gray. The noise
grows inside Murrayfield. Hamish Watson still going up to within two
metres of the line. Scotland bearing down on the try line.
It slows for a moment. Laidlaw thinks but picked up by the forwards
and driven. The Irish defence being sorely tested. Richie Gray is there
again. But still just short. Urged on by the Murrayfield
faithful. Gives it wide. Hogg has it! For the line and the score!
Scotland welcome a try, scoring at Murrayfield. It was a team try to
bring the crowds to life. That really was 18 try. Good composure,
good patients. At various stages I thought they went wide. They didn't
panic. -- good patience. Sometimes it can go for the attacking team and
this was at the very end. Good, long past. It goes to ground. A great try
by Scotland. So nearly an interception. It was the best pass.
It really puts defences under pressure. Real patience from
Scotland. Often you see teams panicking when they are that close
to the line, forcing passes but they were very careful in what they did.
They converted a try really well. Stuart Hogg now Scotland's all-time
leading try scorer in the Six Nations. It gives great Laidlaw this
conversion -- Greig Laidlaw. It's a difficult day for the
kickers. A converted try. Scotland 7-0 to the
good. I wonder how am that dominance in the set piece... A loose line-out
which eventually brought a bout that try. That is the challenge for
Scotland. They've got to try to play error-free rugby. The more mistakes
there are, the more scrums they are, the more dominant island will be.
We've seen what Scotland can do. -- more dominant Ireland. Restart taken
by Ireland. A huge thump on Zebo. Ireland with an instant chance to
respond. Furlong. Again, the Scottish tackles are
thick and fast. Fagerson hitting best.
Every green shirt has a target on it at the moment.
Carried in by O'Brien. It is still there for Ireland. Heaslip. Furlong,
again, to Jackson. A loose one. Scotland just waited in defence.
Zebo. Fraser Brown back on the pitch. Good strength. He makes his
way past Dunbar to the edge of the 22. Some thumping challenges coming
in. Allan Dell was there. Murray fires it out. Paddy Jackson.
O'Brien! O'Brien is through on his own. He bounces through one tackle
and now Ireland menacing the Scottish try line. WHISTLE
Turnover. But advantage being played and then another penalty. Ryan
Wilson believes his case. A decision to make. In the autumn, Ireland
indisposition almost always went to the corner. -- in this position.
There it is again, no hesitation. It will be a five metre line-out. One
area Scotland were concerned about in November and Ireland were very
strong hand, the driving maul off the five metre line-out. We shall
see how this goes. Ryan Wilson thought he did it fairly
but not. A real opportunity for Ireland. Best goes long. Just
watching. Stander takes it. Trying to get towards the line. Down it
goes. Advantage. Scotland can only bring it down a legally. Ireland
with a penalty. Scotland will have to be very
careful. As a captain, when you go dominant maul, dominant scrum, would
you take the line-out? Would you consider a scrum? I would consider
scrum actually but Ireland have been cut from five metres out in the
past. The more times you have to defend, the less chance you have.
They are wary of giving away a penalty, they are wary of the yellow
card and you have to be careful. They did not have to leap too far.
Very well set up. Ireland again and it splinters and breaks. WHISTLE
The decision... Well, scrum to Scotland. That was
set up and it looks like it was going to be going over the line
without any trouble whatsoever. The referee has deemed that it
separated. We can see that look at that. You probably think that is
going to go over. Where is the separation? They've basically
changed lanes. That is what they call it. Accidental offside. Without
indicating. Jonny Gray's had a bit of treatment and Scotland have the
scrum. But it's a small respite, isn't it? You asked me earlier that
the scrum but the big thing is the coach. He is seen two scrums from a
good angle as well and it will be interesting to see what changes they
can make from that feedback from the touchline. Keep an eye on Schmidt
along with Andy Farrell, keep an eye on Tadhg Furlong and Allan Dell. A
bit of a mismatch. This is where Fraser Brown needs to get this to
Josh Strauss' feet as quick as possible. Ireland but the squeeze on
and Scotland battling. It is not coming back and Scotland under real
pressure. Murray complains. What is the decision? The ball got
to the back of the scrum but they weren't in any position. As a
scrum-half, you don't want to pick it up when you're not in a passing
position, they need to get Josh Strauss into the channel one
position in many ways. It does lessen the push through the two
second rows. They have to try to get this out as quickly as possible.
Scotland want a fast and loose game, they don't want any of the set piece
of nonsense. But Ireland are in a great position, even though they do
not have the put-in. They have a view things to say, the Scotland's
forwards coach. In it goes from Laidlaw. Looking for it sharply at
the back. There it is full Scotland. They will run a bid from their own
line. Dunbar did a carry -- run a bit. Deep into the in-goal area.
Hogg. A following breeze. It can send them a long way down but Connie
Mack is waiting for them. In full flight. -- but Kearney. He almost
managed it. Jackson gives it a bit deeper to
Zebo. A half chance. Back they go bust Rory Best has to tumble on it.
A bit of a charge from CJ Stander. The kick is coming. Setting up the
goals from Murray. A good take from Hogg. All he can do is wander
towards the East stand. You had just seen the whole repertoire from
Stuart Hogg. The try scorer, the long kick from defence. The spiral
and the high ball. He's got everything. He's an outstanding
player with full of confidence. He knocks his team-mate and friend,
Seymour out because he is in such good form in all aspects of the
game. Difficult conditions for a man and a high ball today, the flags
really are in full sail in the East stand. Murray and Jackson. Another
opportunity. Scotland wants more on the defence
gets it away sharply on the defence. Zebo. So long to Jackson. Toner hit
hard by Strauss and company. Ireland still with it. Ringrose now tries to
guide his way past Russell. Plenty of ball for Ireland. The spill in
the tackle. Wilson comes away with it. Russell decides to put a boot on
ball, downwind behind a Zebo. Zebo and Kearney wondering about and
trying to turn it. Punching it into the wind. Some gross defensive play
from Scotland, they have defended 25 metre mauls, a five metre scrum,
cleared their lines well. They are putting them under pressure. This
was the pressure on Murray that we talked about so much for the last
few weeks. Ten out of ten. Russell coming through. There has been a
real bike about Scotland's defence. Good line speed and organisation.
The man alongside Vern Cotter, Jason O'Halloran, the attack coach. He
said that wasn't straight. Not even close to being straight. These are
the things, when your scrum is under pressure, that's a free ball, a free
opportunity to probably get another penalty and then get 40 yards down
there and defend your line-out in U own 22. We talked -- we had Stuart
Hogg talk about set piece evidence. Take parity at this stage. Fraser
Brown has to apologise and say scrum again. Jason O'Halloran was saying
that Scotland are a couple of years away from being at their best. A lot
of young players in there. The area that every site needs a
really strong tight head, Zander Fagerson is powerful enough but
still very young. WHISTLE Again, penalty to Ireland. There
will be a talking to, here. Perhaps, next time, something more.
Infringement at the scrum. Don't let them hit and go forward. That was
steady but number three collapsing. The new one has had a go at trying
to chat to the referee. There's no talking to him. I don't think
there's any value in trying to influence the referee. I tried to do
it for too long. You pick and choose one or two moments and that's it.
But the odd word, what Greg just did, watch what they are doing, is
always good. He has planted a seed about the kick and chase. It is
something that is... You may have a point, looking at that scrum, you
may have a point. What a kick that was from the penalty, though. This
into a bit of a breeze and it has taken Ireland all the way up to
within ten metres of the Scottish line. Rory Best. Looking for his
target. Again, it goes wrong for Ireland. Back, six, green. Quickest
to it was the more. Scotland try and earn a few yards before their
clearance. Brown playing it back. Hogg. Had to send that one of his
left boot. Zebo again. It is all happening inside the Scottish half.
WHISTLE You know, that was the worry for me.
A big part of the Irish line-up for the last few years and he's one of
the best back row jumpers around. He takes the pressure off the line-up.
Towards the end of my career when I was getting older and slower, it was
great to have him there. He's a big loss to the Irish side today.
Amazing the contrast in the set piece scrum has been dominated by
Ireland. Line-out, Scotland have gotten in there but in the loose,
Scotland are dominating in that space. This is the line-out which
went wrong, Richie Gray in front of Devin Toner. Well cleared up by
Tommy Seymour by the way. Richie Gray doing his best to disrupt.
Scotland's line-out, now. Andy Farrell. Joe Schmidt. They need
to be in there as well. A quarter of the match gone and
still just one school from Scotland from one real attack but here they
come again. Arch one score. Stuart Hogg! Two for Hogg! 'S chances, two
scores for Scotland. Up against it for so much that they leave by 12
points and Murrayfield wands again alive. Stuart Hogg and 15. The man
is on fire. -- once again. Trying to get space forward. Somebody in this
vein of form with the confidence got, and he can snatch at the line.
Outstanding finish. You knew that Keith earls was drifting out. All
set up. Nice, flat pass. He knew that Kearney would take the final
man. What a try. What a player he is.
Earls is not that slow. It goes to show how fast Stuart Hogg is. Before
this week, everyone will be picking his Lions team and Stuart Hogg would
probably be the first guy on it. And this is why. Remember his trial last
Yaffe of the Aviva Stadium? From 50 yards. That was a bit shorter --
last year at the Aviva Stadium. That was electric. Player at the last Six
Nations, he was voted will stop second try. Laidlaw chance from the
other side of the pitch. Whatever side he scopes them through.
Scotland 14 points out. APPLAUSE It's a curious game for many years,
Scotland supporters watch their side play and had lots of possession and
territory but couldn't score tries. Now just two real chances at twice
taken. If you think about it, the referee, at the next scrum, Scotland
could go down to 14 member they have 14 points but that they have played
with such confidence and accuracy -- 14 men, but they have. Bounces off
Hogg. So, he is human. He is human after all! Commentator's curse.
Ireland had a line-out again. A huge target.
Devin Toner. The last couple of line-out have not gone well. In
fact, they are coming back for the knock-on. There will be a line-out
and scrum again, which is certainly better for Ireland. This is where
Scotland have to look a bit more robust. Ireland happy enough it's
going to the scrum. Ladle shouting a few instructions to
his defence, backline -- Laidlaw shouting. A more solid scrum.
Jackson to Henshaw. Tumbling into the 22, how can Ireland respond?
Jackson, good strength and Paddy Jackson almost threw on his own!
Hamish Watson eventually got to him that options either side for
Ireland. Heaslip. Mary slapping away johnny -- Jonny Gray. Carried by
Iain Henderson. Stander. Ireland assaulting the
Scottish line. A good ball for Ireland to play
with. Henshaw again. Bowling his way on.
Punching away, blindside. Scrambling on. Murray looks for Henderson.
Carried by O'Brien instead. Hit by the pace. Going through the phases.
Heaslip. Jackson. Kearney. Huw Jones and
Hamish Watson, there. Still with Ireland. Strauss and Richie Gray
claim him. Jackson, again. Upended. Still they come. 15, 16 phases now.
Stander rolling on. Zebo into play. Scrum-half. Battering away. McGrath.
The Scottish defence still working. But working so hard. Heaslip now
through. Body is getting rather weary. Penalty, advantage, to
Ireland. Six, away! Murray digs. Closing in on 20
phases. Jackson to Zebo. Seymour tries to get it. Earls for the
corner. Ireland hit back! He thinks he's scored, the crowd in
that, think he's scored. They will just check. -- the crowd in that
corner. REFEREE: To check if the player has
touched the ground. Please. Try, yes or no. Scotland's defence up until
that point were good because Ireland were one-dimensional, quite
predictable. Almost when the penalty advantage was conceded, let's have a
look... Yeah, that's a try. A clear try. Once the penalty advantage
happened, it was likely Scottish defence lost that intensity and the
big pass out wide went and I could try. A good finish by Keith earls.
Glenn Newman, the TMO says you can awarded. WHISTLE
A tough conversion. I think Fraser Brown is coming off for blood coming
out of his nose. It falls to Paddy Jackson. A fine,
fine placekicker. Almost nearing 90% last year in international rugby.
The wind swirls around inside Murrayfield from right out on the
touchline. 5-point try. What a start to the
game. I am sure it is nothing to do with bonus points but a veritable
try Best. They deserve a try. Tommy Seymour does read the game
very well. Probably should have had it because he got both hands, you
can see his frustration in the bottom corner. Rugby should have
taken that and it would have been a three point rather than a five point
-- probably should have. Advantage being played in any case but Seymour
doesn't miss too many of those. Only seven minutes gone.
REFEREE: Not on the ball. I don't need your support, thank you.
Furlong. Back on temporarily for Fraser
Brown. Richie Gray pretends he's getting
out of the way. REFEREE: Advantage. A mistake. They
tried to launch a flurry down the blindside and almost away, Tommy
Seymour but Scotland with another opportunity. Fagerson. The young man
very strong in the loose. Laidlaw switches it. Russell has a bit of a
think. Scotland get it a setback. A gift of
an opportunity for Scotland. Josh Strauss.
REFEREE: Heads up. The call is eventually laid. Russell. A bit of a
trip. Zebo able to watch it but it only slides out with it. A great way
from the chip. Strange from Ireland, you would have thought they would
have exited with a big kick from Murray to try something on the short
side. Came off Rob Carney unaware of
Murray's intentions. Opportunity for Scotland, needing half an hour. --
Rob Kearney. Ireland's turn to defend the five metre Drive. Nervous
and difficult place to defend. Both sides have been uncertain in the
line-out. A sneaky one and straight through for the try. Dunbar. Alex
Dunbar straight through the middle, catching Ireland unawares. Great
invention. But where was the Irish defence watching? Alex Dunbar
getting in among the forwards. Outstanding play. Very tricky little
player, no lift, no job, just puts it over the top of Greig Laidlaw in
front of the line-out. Very simple. You can see that Ireland are set up
to defend the middle and the back of the line-out, not just set up to
defend the front, they are hoping to go to the front and Ireland can
drive them into the touchline. Just goes straight over Greig Laidlaw's
head. Great little play. Great little play. Not often you see the
backs lurking in and taking part in the line-out. Dunbar, so well
worked. In lot of teams now do ten, 11 man drives, they bring in the
centres. They set up the line-out and bring in the backs, we've seen
England to do it a lot recently. Ireland were getting ready for a big
drive, when you bring in the backs. You're thinking this is going to be
a big drive, we don't need to worry about a play at the backline. Pretty
much three moves to the 22 and three tries. Laidlaw. A wonderful kick. In
those conditions off a right foot as well.
I would never have thought Scotland would be one of the bonus point
before half-time. Such a one off. Straight over Greig Laidlaw. Rory
Best is there to mark him. Not expecting him. It's not something
we've seen from Scotland in the past. Fielded well by Hamish Watson.
Scotland try and accept their 22. Good take. Straight down the middle
it goes. Sits up for Paddy Jackson. Ireland looking for the response
again. Kearney. Wrapped up by Jonny Gray.
The switch to Zebo. Onto Ringrose. In confusion with Robbie Henshaw.
The referee having a long look at that. It seems fine.
Stander to Jackson. Deep it goes now. Earls must take it at a
standstill. Good power, not the biggest man but plenty of strength.
Furlong to Henderson. The referee says that's fine. Jackson again,
deep it goes, and on through the Leinster men, Henshaw and then
Ringrose. Stander hit hard again. Here is Henshaw. No way through, Huw
Jones takes him down. Ireland going through the phases, trying to build.
The captain carries, Jackson and Henderson, little pop to Kearney,
unceremoniously dumped. There is Henshaw again but Ireland not making
much ground at the moment, through a dozen phases now. The little step
came from Ringrose. Heaslip. Advantage to Ireland. Scotland
offside. A little free attack from Jackson to try something but they
will come back for that penalty now. The quality of the Scottish tackling
is outstanding. A lot of talk about defensive systems in the modern
game, but the guys have two man up and make big tackles as well. When
you see Ireland playing well in the autumn they play quick ball. The
Scottish tackling is excellent. The disappointing thing from the
Scottish perspective is because their defence has been so strong,
give the extra half Yarde, that was done for offside, not retreating
back, and it wasn't that quick ball. They can afford to get behind the
offside line, don't give the referee or the touch judge a chance because
the defence is so strong. The possession stats, 63% for Ireland,
since is prevailing here now and Ireland looking to accumulate some
points. Ireland look predictable at the moment. Probably as a result of
good Scottish defence. Hamish Watson at the breakdown as well, I was
wondering why Barclay wasn't playing but sometimes he's not as clean at
the breakdown, Chris Paterson, we were chatting before the game,
sometimes he's not so clean at the breakdown. He gives away very few
penalties, gets it out before he gets into trouble. Good strike from
Paddy Jackson, three points for Ireland, they move onto eight.
Something for the Irish supporters to cheer but not too much so far.
And plenty for the Irish coaching team to mull over at half-time.
Russell with the restart. Devin Toner takes it down. Murray just
gets the kick away. Richie Gray. The big man in his way. Hogg. Irish
shirts around the flying full-back. Here is Hamish Watson again. Through
Ringrose and still going, he's a squat, powerful ball-carrier.
Russell sliding through almost, gives it to Jonny Gray. Ireland
getting some hands on that. Fagerson. Scotland look to build
again. Richie Gray. Russell. Heaslip takes him down.
Stander trying to secure the turnover but gets the penalty for
Ireland. It was a strong first tackle, Finn Russell was just the
wrong way and had to work really hard to get his body round to get
the ball back which allowed time for CJ Stander to get on it and when he
is on it he is so strong. I've watched Finn Russell twice in that
set of phases, he was taking the ball to the line, putting inside
dummies, outside dummies, which holds the defence and that's the
style of play which has freed up them to get the tries. Heaslip,
struggling to get his body round, allowing time for Stander to get in.
Good back row sort of double defence, one making the tackle and
one affecting the penalty. Irish line-out again, this has been
misfiring. It works better this time for the men in green, carried by
Stander, such a powerful man. Hamish Watson just gets to him eventually.
And then Kearney, the strength from the full-back again, Maitland.
Ireland looking for a score before half-time. And there is CJ Stander.
Murray gets his pass away to Henshaw and Keith earls.
Jack McGrath. Henderson. Again it goes deep from Ireland and Sean
O'Brien thumps his way into the challenge from Huw Jones and Jones
is getting in the way of it. Murray gives it to Tadhg Furlong. Phase
after phase for Ireland. Henderson on to Henshaw, well taken by
Laidlaw. The penalty is Scotland's penalty this time. I wasn't sure
which way Romain Poite was pointing. Great defence from Scotland. It
really was really good. Especially when Ireland did go wide it was one
on one on two and sometimes more defenders than attackers. They are
working very well and being very efficient in the contact to get
outside and fill the gaps. It has been outstanding defensive display
by Scotland so far. Ireland have had a lot of possession, but I think we
are quite slow, the ball we are generating just doesn't look
threatening. Scotland look really comfortable at defending. They
looked like they are making really big hits. You can see that here.
They are not just making big hits, it's the second effort and then
getting back into line and back into the defensive line and having that a
pace to come off. It has been a very collective defence. Taylor on the
front left of Vern Cotter, look at the tackles, 84 tackles they have
made compared to 37. They have missed 12 but they haven't really
impacted the game. It has been the intensity, pace, ferocity and
collectiveness which has been very impressive. Instead it will be
Scotland looking for another score before half-time. And again, the
line-outs have been inconsistent from both sides. Ryan Wilson the man
at the front, as Scotland try and get it away, not perhaps the 40 but
they start to move and Ford gives it to Laidlaw, crashing through, see
more off the wing. Russell hurling it wide and Hogg again, the danger
of the little step, Huw Jones is lending his support. Maitland to
ground. Scotland into the 22 again. Ryan Wilson with the carry, again
Henderson trying to keep up. Wilson eventually gets to ground. Onto
Gray, the elder, Richie Gray sets it back. Nobody there at the moment,
the scrum-half for Scotland. Jonny Gray gives it the way to carry it
on. Laidlaw points the way again. A more deliberate, Paul Fuller sack
this from Scotland. Still there. Looking for try number four before
half-time. Options outside to Strauss, almost goes through Jack
McGrath and Ireland's defence is beginning to buckle a little bit.
Jonny Gray. No support, goes himself. It's not the quickest
attack but it's building and building and Russell to Hogg and the
tackle comes in this time, good strength from the full-back, Heaslip
was piling in on him. It is still there just for Scotland. That Apple
had to be made on Hogg. Richie Gray and Scotland up to within six or
seven metres. 11 phases, 30 seconds before half-time. Jonny Gray out
wide to Russell who tries to offload and it is an interception! Zebo
kicks and the chase is on. See more against Zebo. Seymour is there but
Zebo is upon him. -- Seymour. Seymour is back on his feet, and who
will have the final say in this first half? The ball is there for
Scotland. Laidlaw summoning in the troops. He just takes a moment and
the half will be over now. Scotland might just kick it out. Laidlaw
asking the question. Out it will go now. A frantic end to the first
half. Unbelievable first half, unbelievable finish, as ever with
the interception it can go either way but you saw a bit of leadership
from Greig Laidlaw, who knew there was ten seconds, one more phase, get
it out. 21-8, I have to say what an unbelievable first 40 minutes of
this year's RBS Six Nations. Scotland look more dangerous, every
time they get the ball you feel if Hogg or Seymour get it something
will happen, I don't get that feeling when Ireland have the ball.
There we are, what a half, 21-8, three tries to one, but this game is
far from done. Scotland high on the Hogg after the
opening 40 minutes of the RBS Six Nations, first try for Stuart Hogg,
second try for Stuart Hogg making him Scotland's all-time leading try
scorer in the Six Nations so far. Welcome to the brave new world of
bonus point try scoring attacking, running rugby of the Six Nations.
All we need is the weather and you get a product like this. Just
imagine how different things might be if the weather men had been right
and we had horizontal rain and howling gales, how different things
might have been. Anyway, there are the facts and figures, most
interestingly, whenever you watch the All Blacks played they play in
matches when they have less possession and score more points and
this has been the successful role for Scotland at the moment. What a
start and opening 40 minutes of rugby. It's incredibly Scotland only
have 40% possession, they've missed 14 tackles, lost the penalty count
7-2 but 21-8 up, some brilliant tries and brilliant endeavour. The
accuracy on the outside channels, just blown away by the intensity
Scotland started that match with. It's extraordinarily, phenomenal,
great attitude, great attention to detail, great turnovers from
Scotland, and the absolute reverse from Ireland. The Lions play has
been poor, the attention to detail, they are dreadful. It is amazing
when you can see a switch on one side or the other, when Ireland got
a little touch for one moment they scored a try but other than that
they have not been in the game. It is worth saying it is only two
scores. Two fantastic scores. The first 40 minutes have been
fantastic, we have been riveted watching it and it is spectacular.
You've got to applaud Scotland because normally you get a side that
dominates one area but not only have they tackled their hearts out, lots
of energy spent there. In attack they have been a superb offence as
they have defence. We pinpointed Hogg before the game and we were
right. He does this for his club team and he keeps doing it and
getting better and better. This came after a big build-up from Scotland
who started the game particularly well. They were knocking on the
door. We felt this pass could have gone out the back earlier behind to
Huw Jones but Scotland didn't do that. He is terribly strong in
contact, there he is on the outside, Sean Maitland getting frustrated but
the rest of the squad keep their composure, built the phases, hold
their width, and Stuart Hogg could have scored that, Tommy Seymour
could have scored. There is no way he is passing that after the long
pass. Two passes covering 35 metres, the bouncing ball, Ringrose trying
to get to it. The ball was always just outside, he ended up slipping
trying to get to it. The tackle Ringrose try to put in there, so
important that Kearney cut off a try when he hit Hogg and when you
mistimed it and don't get there in time you get the space. If you go
for it you have to make it. When you were playing you have the ability to
run very fast and then go a bit quicker and that's what Stuart Hogg
did for the second try. It's great to see a player in form come to the
international arena and do it and continue to do it. This was a great
set move from Scotland. Sorry! The beauty is it is quick ball. Keith
Earls is stranded a bit, unsure, the Irish defence is very narrow. Does
he go in? Does he go out? Does he stay? He is a bit in a lost land and
Scotland attack the width and Hogg gets away. The beauty of the wave
Hogg and Maitland set up, in the outside channel if they are not
there it makes it easier for Keith Earls but because they are wide they
can come straight onto the ball and Hogg blasts over for his second. It
was as if the Irish defence got confused by what happened on the
previous plate and they were at sixes and sevens, Keith Earls
rushing to get into defence, and you have to get the man and ball.
Strange to see in international game that space exposure, because
Scotland went down the blindside on their next try and it's incredible
they are giving them that much space. Quick ball at the breakdown.
Both of Scotland's tries have come from quick ball. Looking at the
Irish try, Ireland had a penalty at the time anyway so they were
probably going to kick from in front of the posts and get three points
anyway. How would you evaluate what happened? Should the intercept pass
have been taken which would have stopped the try? Initially we felt
this was too high for Seymour. It was after 18 phases and penalty
advantage. We can see again, maybe he should have stuck but Keith Earls
does wonderfully well to finish off. I looked at that and thought Zebo
got away with it. I didn't think he was in this early good play, they
got away with it, that could have gone the length of the other way but
Ireland have forced to many things and haven't been direct enough in
the first half. Lucky to get that try. If 18 phases? Ireland haven't
been allowed to go through those phases. The defence of Scotland is
quick of the line and nailing the one-on-one tackles. If you were
watching before the match began we had an interview with Eddie Jones,
the England coach, saying the thing about rugby these days was being
innovative, coming up with new ideas and foxing your opposition and
surprising them. Let's talk about the line-out, lots of people
watching, the backs played the backs and forwards play the forwards, so
what is Alex Dunbar wearing number 12 doing there? Smoke and mirrors. I
guess the Irish would have been thinking the ball is going to the
back, they have loaded the Scottish forwards in the back of the
line-out. You can see it is a move from the training field and Dunbar
reached up and not even jumped, he reached up. The Irish guys at the
front of the line-out don't believe it is going to him. What I love
about this is at the end of his international career they will say
Alex Dunbar, line-out wins 100%, pretty cool. There was a little bit
of confusion. Ireland have been stepped off the pace mentally and
physically for the whole 40 minutes. That could change at half-time but
they really need to get to the pace of the game and they are well off it
at the moment. How much are they off the pace because the Scottish
defence has been so immense? It has been. A lot of defence is technique
and lots of it is raw enthusiasm and passion and Scotland have had both.
Coming off line quickly, making big collisions, Sean O'Brien is a big
ball carrier so that is a statement of not only intent but also action.
Coming forward, Zander Fagerson hitting Rory Best behind the gain
line for a five metres behind it. The tackling was fantastic. I think
a lot of that is to do with the level love directness and power and
pace that Ireland are putting into it. They slowed down into a couple
of those tackles and not in the right body position to do it and not
in control of the collision. This is more about Scotland's defence and
not so much, Ireland, talking about the mind and body, island are a good
side and we saw that in the autumn but Scotland have raised the
intensity and gone above Ireland. One thing we can be sure of as the
match goes on and people get tired the bench has to come into play and
the scrum could become a key area. Ireland have complete domination at
the moment. When we started watching this, at the start of the game we
said, my God, if Ireland have such control at the stage and bring this
tempo to the rest of the game they will be in charge but exactly as
Jerry has said, this has been the only area where Ireland's attention
to detail has been right and where there focus and attitude has been at
the required level and Scotland have been off the mark. In all other
facets Scotland have tipped the balance. Ireland rely on execution
could. The line-out they have lost 50% of, they got into attacking
positions and lost the ball, had the ball turned over, it is unlike
Ireland but that's because the pressure of the Scottish defence is
really getting to them. It is 21-8. We mentioned bonus points and if
it's the first time you are watching the Six Nations, today it will be,
but if it's the first time you're watching rugby, in the context of
the bonus point environment it is worth explaining. Scotland have
three tries already and Ireland have scored one. This is how things are
different in the Six Nations this year, four points if you win, not
just two and a bonus point for scoring four tries and obviously
Scotland need one more try to secure a bonus point. The losing team get a
bonus point for scoring four tries irrespective of the Final Score.
They get a bonus point as well if they lose by less than seven. In the
event of a draw it is two points for a
draw and a tremendous weekend of Six Nations Rugby.
# The revolution will be televised # You can watch it in HD
# From the safety of your city # The revolution will be televised
# Choose to watch or not # From the safety of our sofas #
Women's Six Nations, Sunday at 10:45pm, repeated on Monday also.
Ireland beat Scotland last night, Wales narrowly ahead of Italy at the
moment and England and France still to be played. So, if you haven't
taken at rugby and you think this could be the sport for me this is
how you do it. Get inspired is BBC sport's
campaign. It is on the BBC sport website and you can find
inspirational stories from people just like you, as well as hints,
tips as well as over 70 practical guides to help you give something
ago. There is an activity finder to help you find something to try near
you. Just get up, get inspired and get active.
Still two more games to come on the opening weekend of the Six Nations
and they will all be rounded up for you in Six Nations Rugby special at
6pm tomorrow night like the old days on BBC Two and in Scotland at 7pm.
The Six Nations match at Twickenham between England and France is live
on 5 live at 4:50pm this afternoon. If midway through that you think you
fancy a change of sport why notched, not much the Davis Cup. And Usain
Bolt and others in the event that is going to transform track and field,
so they say, from Melbourne, 2:45pm tomorrow. Let's chat with a Scotsman
and Irishman from up in the commentary box, Andy Nicol and Paul
O'Connell. You've given a few half-time team talk single time,
what would you say now? Ireland have a plan they haven't really stuck to.
One of the big things that has been successful for Ireland in the last
few years has been their set piece, the line-out has been excellent and
they have always been disciplined, they don't give away silly
penalties. You look at the line-out that was turned over for the first
try, look at Simon Zebo going to the floor, not rolling and rotating and
doing the best he can to get the ball back and get a penalty again
and Ireland are under pressure. On the five metre drives Ireland have
been good at defending five metre drives and good at converting when
they get there but today has been the opposite. In many respects line
discipline and five metre drives. Andy, Ireland can only get better,
does that give you cause for concern?
Obviously it does but the challenge for Scotland is to keep the
intensity they have both in attack and defence which has been
brilliant, attacking intent has been brilliant. Scrummaging aside that is
probably Scotland's best of the first-half performance for a long
time in every aspect. It is not just attack or in defence, it is both.
There is the challenge, to keep it going. It will be an interesting
changing room downstairs to what the coaches are saying but it has been
an uplifting 40 minutes. The challenge for the neutrals watching
is to make the second half every bit as good as the first.
The excitement of the Six Nations remains, and we are under way in the
2017 RBS Six Nations. Russell pushes it out and Hogg has it and Scotland
score. May land outside, Stuart Hogg, it is all the way and two for
Hogg. Out wide, Zebo goes for it, Ireland hit back. Sneaky one and it
is Dunbar! 21-8, unbelievable first 40 minutes to this year's RBS Six
Nations. When you look at the weather and the
conditions here that has to be a factor in what has been a fantastic
first 40 minutes. The sun is bailing people in the top flight on the far
side in winter sunshine. The sun is out, I'm not sure what the
temperature will be or how warm it is but it will be warm in the
Scottish dressing room. They must stay calm. Coming out for the second
half they must keep their accuracy, keep attacking the edge with quick
ball. They cannot get overexcited. Keep the accuracy and hope for
another 40 minutes from a Scottish perspective like we saw in the first
half. It is moments like this when people look at the bench and save in
the event of at 60, 65 minutes who are we bringing on? Who are the
sides bringing on that might make the change from Ireland's
perspective? Ireland seemed to have the stronger and more experienced
bench and Scotland have been most vulnerable over the last 12 months
in the last ten or 15 minutes. I also think Scotland might keep some
players on the field. It depends on how it changes. For me it is all
about the attitude, if Ireland can turn it back the other way again, or
Scotland stay in the ascendancy, Scotland stopping everything Ireland
try and do. You mean Scotland keep players longer on the field than
they may have planned to initially? I think so, especially the front row
and the props, they have a huge amount of experience at this level.
They may want to try and take as much out of their players as they
can. Would you be happy with a losing bonus point now? No, no
interest in a bonus point. Jerry, final thought, how will it pan out?
We talked about Joe Schmidt and how shrewd he is tactically. See how he
has changed the Irish tactics for the second half. OK, we got off to a
spectacular start, a real flyer, let's hope we have another of the
same, back to Andrew Cotter. COMMENTATOR: No changes to either
side at half-time but I'm sure there will be a change to the effort and
efficiency of Ireland. They will know they are still within two
converted tries and they have a little bit of wind at their backs,
Hamish Watson, so impressive in the first half, carries. Again it was
O'Brien trying to hold him up and Scotland try to dig themselves out
of a bit of bother. Here is Hogg. He will not be getting the same
distance with his boot in the second half as in the first and that will
be a factor. Yeah, definitely, they need to figure out their exit
strategy a bit, the first half they went straight back to Stuart Hogg
and you could see the Irish defensive line was very quick, some
pressure and it came off the side of his foot, so maybe Greig Laidlaw
needs to put two up and maybe Finn Russell must take on the pressure of
the kicking. Rory Best. This one was a bit of MS. Ford claims it for
Scotland. We said no changes, he's still on, as far as I'm aware, a
permanent change for Fraser Brown, as I'm aware. Scotland with a
chance. Huw Jones trying to scoot his way around Ringrose. Hamish
Watson again, a ball of energy. Trying to get the ball back. The
referee says penalty to Ireland, good work by the Irish tacklers.
Great work on the ground from Sean O'Brien, excellent work. He is a
real groundhog of a number seven. He can carry and tackle but also great
on the floor as well. Very important penalty. Another line-out for
Ireland. This will be sent towards the corner and it may be the start
of a long second half for Scotland as Jackson finds his target, 15,
perhaps slightly more, metres from the try line. It is quite
challenging for Devin Toner. Ireland's back row is the tallest.
Brian Wilson, Scotland are tall men and good defenders and putting
Ireland under a lot of pressure. Devin Toner. He is the only rugby
player... Is he the man to go to? Rory Best. And now try and get the
maul going, Scotland shoving them towards touch. Ireland still have
that ball. It splinters away and where is the ball? Down to ground it
goes. Stand against the power of the blindside flanker of Murray. Heaslip
having a think about things. And Ireland getting deeper into the 22
now, laid-back by O'Brien and Murray gives it on, Stander once more and
Henderson alongside and Tadhg Furlong is there. The bridge there
as it is carried and carried further into the 22 and Ireland with a real
purpose now. Jackson with good strength laying it back to Murray
and now to Tadhg Furlong again. Ireland getting closer and closer
right at the start of the second half. Heaslip for Murray again and
back to Jack McGrath. Scotland's defence is being sorely tested in
the first half early on. Jackson with a little switch. Zebo, easily
watched by Scotland, but wide it goes for Ireland. Kearney taken down
by Huw Jones. Murray again flings it out. Carried in by Tadhg Furlong
onto McGrath, McGrath is looking for support from Stander. Stander. And
Ireland getting close again, O'Brien to Best, to Jackson. Advantage to
Ireland. The penalty is there as Seymour was in an offside position.
But Ireland looking for far more than a penalty here. To Henderson.
16, 17 phases now, Toner on his shoulder. Wide to Zebo who spins and
drives now. Little bit of a spill, back they will come for that
penalty. That was about 20 phases. For the
first 15 I thought Ireland were predictable in attack. One or two
passes, easy to defend. Then some off-loading and you can see the
difference. In, behind the defence and they got close to it. I can see
why they are going for a scrum. Scotland need to be careful. Nine
penalties already conceded in yellow card territory. It's a big moment
for the Scottish scrum. If they can master this, if they can
complete the scrum, defend their lines, clear their lines, a massive
moment in the match. History would tell you in rugby that
look at the two packs, the way it's gone so far, there is a very small
chance of Scotland emerging from this without conceding any points.
As Andy said, the danger is a penalty try, yellow card, they are
all possibilities. You would imagine if I don't have the penalty they
would go for a scrum. They are here to stay until they get a try.
Russell going off for a head injury assessment. When Henschel carries
the ball aggressively. It got bounced off his head. -- when
Henschel. I watched him go to the far side. He will be in now to check
everything is OK. Scotland desperately need to have him back.
Hopefully he can pass this. Doctor Mikel will take a look at him. The
elder brother although I can't believe it myself, but he will look
at him. Duncan Weir is on. Finn Russell took a bad knock from Zander
Fagerson. That's why he wears the headband. Understandable, sensible.
He has ten minutes to be assessed. A huge moment in the match. Five
minutes gone in the second half. Ireland scrum dominant in the first
half. Very interesting. Small disconnect
from the way the Scottish front row is pushing and the Scottish second
row is pushing. If you look, there's a slight angle between the two and
that is causing them problems. Looking from on high, who better to
look at things and Paul O'Connell? If we look at this, as it
progresses... Got to be a strong connection
between front and second row. Scotland have to be strong. A huge
moment in the match. Much better. Deep into his own pack, Murray.
Upholding at the back. Ireland not making ground at the moment, they
have to go through the backs. Rolling forward, Henshaw. Murray is
there. Advantage to Ireland. Penalty coming. Another offside. Kearney
can't quite make his way to the corner. O'Brien.
Ireland looking for the ideal start to the second half. CJ Stander still
playing with this, penalty advantage. Murray to Jackson.
Henschel spins and shakes off Huw Jones. Picked up by Captain Best.
Rory Best within two metres Adam Marriott looking for it. Penalty
advantage. He looks both ways. Stander is there. Murray again and
for! Can't quite make it. The ball is held up. -- for the line. Penalty
advantage but they go over for a try. Iain Henderson dives and
schools. -- and scores. Ireland have a try to unite the second half and
the comeback is on. They deserve that, they directed the first seven
minutes of the second half, knocking on the door so many times. Held
firm. Overlong but it was almost the weight of pressure. They got that
close and suddenly Iain Henderson is very hard to stop. This is it, at
the very end. Good position, you won't stop anyone of that weight
coming in when you cannot get under him. Duncan Weir, a huge weight. But
no way you will get down below Iain Henderson to stop that. When you get
that close to the line, you can be fairly simple in the attack, you
don't need the opposition to miss a tackle. All you need to do is make a
meter, half a metre and keep accumulating until you get over the
line. Paddy Jackson to add the extra two.
No mistake, this time, from Jackson. Ireland with that 7-point boost at
the start of the second half. We had a real game on our hands at
Murrayfield. This isn't helped by the ruling
whereby you have to have every part of your body, hands, feet, behind
the line from the Scottish and they are really disciplined. Everything
is behind the line. It makes it really hard to defend when the
attack is just a half a metre away from the line. Duncan Weir is still
on for that head injury assessment. Finn Russell. I saw John Barton
speaking on as well. He has been outstanding so far, he must
watching, 16 tackles. A big influence. -- Hamish Watson. He will
be tired. Trying to make his way through. Devin Toner took him by the
collar. Everyone is a little person to Devin Toner. Confirmation that
Barclay is on. Jones. The ball is stripped away.
Dunbar was very sharp to fall upon it. REFEREE: Use it. Ireland
starting the more sure in the second half. Ryan Wilson.
Just a bit of a thought from Laidlaw before giving it. Seymour. Not quite
the same zip around Scotland at the moment.
Laidlaw scoops it high. Not much ground on it. A wonderful take it
was by Sean Maitland. Scotland make ten, 12 metres that way. The Grays
in tandem again. Ritchie to Jonny Load your something again. Duncan
Weir sees a bit of space behind Zebo. How is it waited? It's a way
to do very well indeed. A beautiful kick by the replacement, Duncan
Weir. Great kick and good to see Ireland doing a bit of that in the
first half. This is a tough place to defend. A hard place to get out of.
You've got to get the line-out call right, when the line-out, win it.
That's what Duncan Weir does very well, game management is good and
kicking outstanding. That was inch perfect. Finn Russell is just
getting some treatment and he will get back. Duncan Weir has put
Scotland in a great position. Rory Best once his man.
Sophie down for Ireland. -- wants his man. -- safely down. They will
try to march a few yards. Penalty, here. Certainly had the potential
but it goes up from Murray. Out it goes.
The value of that kick, the Scottish attack just outside the 22. You
know, you pressure the Irish. REFEREE: Ten coming back. Thank you
and good night to Duncan Weir for now. Possibly might return later on.
Finn Russell has had a bit of a breather as well. After the
assessment. A good cameo from Duncan Weir. But Russell is fine after the
assessment. This was why he was off, a collision in the tackle. I watched
Andrew. Look at him, he was going to the left. He went all the way to the
end of the defensive line to catch his breath and get his senses so he
wasn't going to be engaged in any more tackles. Fraud's line-out.
Richie Gray gets it down to Laidlaw. Seymour trying to affect the choked
tackle, holding up the man of Scotland get to ground. Wilson.
Russell and oppression. Hogg frees himself, Stuart Hogg scuttling
forward. Scotland is looking for a fourth
try. Barclay lays it back. Richie Gray.
Laidlaw crowded down the blindside. Russell trying to ease his way
through. He gets it to Laidlaw. The ball goes to ground. Land. Jonny
Gray comes in. REFEREE: Use it. Fraud set it back for Scotland. --
Ford. A thoughtful attack. The phases are a bit slower. A bit
steadier, a bit tighter. The forwards are doing their bit. Ross
Ford. Towards the edge of the 22, Russell
again. A show on Huw Jones but easily enough watched by Jackson and
Henderson, the Ulster two. Scotland, plenty of ball, going through the
phases, making a bit of ground. Laidlaw. Confusion. Henshaw was in
there to strip it. Stander. Scotland have to rush back to defensive
duties. Ireland have a chance to counter. It goes wide. Earls almost
through. Looking for support. Boasting his way through the
tackles. Deep into the Scottish half --
ghosting. The ball of the man goes through. Stander is there to set it
once more. McGrath tries to slap aside Jonny Gray.
Jackson, once more. A loop around. Carried by Sean O'Brien. Sean
O'Brien out into fresh air for a moment. Looking around. Ireland,
again, threatening the 22. Wide. Earls. A step but no way around Sean
Maitland. Earls trying to get it back, which
he does. All the menace from Ireland and Ringrose.
Still with the men in green. Heaslip once more. WHISTLE
And the penalty decision. You could hear the cries of "Sir! Sur! "
Penalty, this time. John Barclay got in there, I think it was.
Outstanding. This is a different Ireland side in the second half.
John Barclay, you can see, solid position, he's on it. Consistent
refereeing because a similar one to Sean O'Brien's in the first half.
What a different side we have here. Earls has been on the ball, Sean
O'Brien has been on the ball. At half-time they have reacted well and
that is what good-sized do. They win on the gain line better, big carries
generating some big ball. That's what Ireland have done. They play
amazing rugby but they generate big ball and you can play with how you
like. Gordon Reid is on in the Scottish front row for Allan Dell.
It's been a hard afternoon for Dell. There is Gordon
. For the last Scottish attack, you saw that the first half, everything
touched to gold. They didn't have to go through many phases because they
were so effective in what they were doing. When Ireland's defence was
good and Scotland's attack not quite there, they tried things. When they
did that, the off-load to Tommy Seymour was knocked down at the
turnover happened. Amazing, completely contrasting second half
to what we saw in the first half. High clearing kick from Finn
Russell, you could see it hanging in the breeze. Not too much ground
made. A good and dry conditions now in the air. Underfoot it's still a
bit slippery. A very different proposition, this
second half. Ireland also making a change.
Cian Healy comes on. What a man to have in reserve, at loosehead for
Jack McGrath. Barclay for Scotland. Scotland's try to get some forward
momentum. Russell. Ireland will try to hold them up.
But weighty blue shirts come in behind. A carried by Ross Ford.
Scotland creeping towards the Irish half. Fagerson. REFEREE: Tackle!
Russell. Such a familiar move, try to keep
the man in the air. Russell. Chip charge. A chance for Murray if it
bounces. Zebo outside but inside it goes.
Heaslip for the line. Those only to Maitland, who appeared to save
Scotland. Now, Scotland with a clearing kick
from Russell, under all sorts of pressure on the Scotland line. If
you looked, with Marion's charged down as if it might end in a trifle
Heaslip -- Murray's charge down. It was a mistake as if he went to
ground and regenerated the ball it would have been a try to Ireland. It
was a great read of the ball by Maitland, good defence to work
straight back like that and not panic bust you could see he always
wanted to off-load the ball to Henshaw but you could take the
tackle. At that stage, Maitland it well. Start the potential try
happening. -- Maitland read it well. The sound of Murrayfield again and
the pressure on Heaslip at the line but Ireland's ball. Zebo.
Cian Healy taking it in. Onto the try scorer Conor Henderson.
A mixture of cries for Scotland and Ireland. The handoff comes in for
Henshaw. The Scottish tackle flying off. Kearney! Kearney borderline!
Maitland again the saviour! Thwarted by the score but it had to be the
tackle from Maitland. Did he get his man into touch? Again, for the TMO?
REFEREE: Any reason I can't award this try? Just check number 15. If
he was out of the field when he passed the ball before the
grounding, please. Yes, thank you. The TMO is Glenn Newman. Kearney
thought he was out. Such a good run down the line. But Maitland, did he
save Scotland once more? It looked like a great tackle from here. Jumps
into him a wee bit. Is that foot in? Yes, there. But just. Only just!
That's great work by Kearney. And then obviously, by Maitland. Great
play by Kearney. He was an amazing goal-scorer in 2009. REFEREE: A
decision? The player was in touch, line-out, Scotland ball. REFEREE:
Thank you very much. Scotland line-out, it is that close to the
Scottish line-out. All Irish pressure. That 6-point lead is
looking very fragile. Typical line-out. Six points ahead, line-out
caller, five metres from your line, a nervous line at -- difficult
line-out. They aren't to back. Ford goes long. Straight enough says the
referee. Richie Gray was at the back. REFEREE: Use it, blue!
Scotland trying to get a few yards further upfield. It's a long way
into the wind for a clearing kick. He's dug that out pretty well. Can
he get Scotland out of the 22? Ireland will have another
opportunity. Sean Maitland, two efforts in the last five minutes.
Picked on the wing to score tries but my goodness, what an impact he's
had. Two defensive effort, one when he read Jamie Heaslip what he was
doing and then a try saver with Rob Kearney. These are the big
differences in games like this. Mark Bennett is coming on for Scotland.
He's coming on for Huw Jones. The action areas in the second half
pretty much tells us, the descending staircase down to the Irish 22. It's
all happened in Scotland's half, really. Huw Jones. We expected the
miracles that we saw in November. But Mark Bennett, again, useful
player to come on in midfield. It highlights Scotland's strength. He
lit up the autumn. Mark Bennett has been pulling up trees for Glasgow in
the last few weeks. He's in a very familiar role with Finn Russell.
Alex Dunbar in the midfield as well. Line-out ball works for Ireland.
Henshaw. Henshaw still going. That powerful inside centre. It goes to
Devin Toner. Stander. Ireland with Tadhg Furlong, he
wanted to see what he could do to defend those in November. Very
powerful man. So is Stander. Set it back. Rory Best. Into the final
quarter of this match. Stander, one small -- once more.
O'Brien. Scotland's defence, again, punching Ireland back. Heaslip wins
that contest. Still, the legs drive island on bomb
into the 22, again. Cian Healy, this time -- drives Ireland onto the 22.
Kearney. Jonny Gray gets to him. Toner stoops down to take that one
and feeds Stander. 13 phases. Ireland creeping on again. O'Brien.
Murray to Jackson. Ringrose. Up to within ten metres. Murray, again.
Jackson is through! Jackson stretches to score. What a try from
Ireland! They built and built. They have the try. And the conversion
will give them the lead. Super try from Ireland, not a lot of deception
to what they are doing at the moment. They are winning the muscle,
they are winning the battle up front. A bit show- go from Ringrose
got him over the line and then a great line from Paddy Jackson. One
. Excellent line-out. A good finish, he did well to finish it. It's a
great angle. What that did, just able to benefit from some tired
Scottish defence. No wonder, they've had to defend pretty much for the
whole second half, 22 minutes. We spoke about the quality of
Scotland's tackling in the first half. That has fallen off. I know
they put Ireland back a bit there, but they are falling off some
tackles. There's a lot more bite to what Ireland are doing. Jackson
converts his try to put Ireland in front. The comeback, for the moment,
is complete. Again, on the evidence of the second half, no less than
Ireland deserve. Scotland 21-5 up we thought it was a long way back for
Ireland but they just upped their game in every aspect. No doubt, the
second half Ireland have upped their game. Scotland are falling off
tackles, lost speed and bite, they need to get it back in the last 70
minutes to try to get this victory. -- last 17. Iain Henderson off for
Ireland. You can see him in the scrum cap beyond Rory Best. Old hand
. Taken well. Trying to hold them up. Looking to get the ball to
ground but it comes to devil Toner's giant hands. A chance to clear the
lines. Jackson. Maitland waits. Trying to chase down his own kick.
Kearney takes it. Almost stripped of the ball but gets it back. Ireland
once more with possession. Tadhg Furlong.
Murray. Box-kick away. Ireland coming forward but it was into his
own mind and Ireland with another opportunity. Bennett got a hand on
and Ireland complaint, deliberate knock-on. But it was Ireland's poll
anyway. Heaslip. -- Ireland complained. Going forward, Ireland.
Stander sets it back. There is Furlong again. A bit of
space developing out wide. Henshaw. The ball booted back. The referee
says it's fine. Laidlaw gets a chance to play. Nobody back there at
the moment for Ireland. Zebo and eight I is looking Maitland trudging
forward. -- a tired looking Maitland. The ball was touched in
flight it will be island's ball at the line-out. A lots to look at from
the last passage of play -- Ireland's ball. They were thinking
he was offside but there was no rock, there was a tackle. Edwards
calling a penalty but ran into Ryan Wilson. It wasn't Robbie Henshaw
that affected the upending. It was Ryan Wilson. Zebo... These last few
minutes and sums up the game. Breathless. Both sides really
attacking and defending end. To end stuff. Physical. It had everything.
-- end to end stuff. Another change about to be...
Enacted. Tim Swinson is going to come on in the second row. REFEREE:
Green, 11. Seven. Actually, he's going to come on... There's an Irish
change as well. Josh van der Flier coming on. Swinson will go on into
the back row but he can't play... WHISTLE
There is Sean O'Brien. A very effective game from O'Brien and his
latest comeback from injury. To the line-out we go. Devin Toner takes it
for island. The line-out has looked solid for Ireland in the second-half
-- takes for Ireland. Into the final 15 minutes.
Scotland have to find some of that verve they had in the first half.
Ireland have worked their way back in so well. Best.
REFEREE: Six away, no! Thank you. You are just in front. Murray gets a
kick away in front. A wonderful take by Finn Russell but strips. Laidlaw
hurls himself upon the fire half. Ireland with ball again -- upon the
fly half. Taken by Finn Russell almost in midair.
REFEREE: Off, feet, off, feet! Second time. Henshaw gives it on to
Jackson. How well he's played, Jackson. A bit of a poke forward.
Hogg watches. Nothing to be done but taken into touch by Earls. Ireland
playing so strong. So much talk about sex and missing but Paddy
Jackson has been inspirational in the second half. -- about Sexton
missing. Great to keep it in play. So that girls could make the tackle
and put him into touch. It is Ireland line-out will stop -- so
that Earls could make the tackle. They tried to play a novel lot of
game with ball in hand but didn't push it into corners like that. --
an awful lot of game with ball in hand. They had been so good in the
second-half,. WHISTLE This could be the game. 1-point
lead, if Ireland take this over, Scotland have had nothing in the
second half. It is hard to stop this. They need to defend this
line-out and not let Ireland get any further away. Earls coming off and
Tommy Bowe on for Ireland. To earn his 68th cap. Ireland long from
Best. Toner taken and then fed on to Ultan Dillane. Swinson falls upon
it. Scotland... We'll have a scrum if they wanted. I'm not sure if they
do want that. -- Scotland will have. Maitland. Deep inside their own 22.
Good work from Maitland from a dangerous position.
Again, the clearance. This time from Hogg. This one being watched and
taken by Tommy Bowe. First touch for the Ulsterman.
Furlong. One -- once more. Ringrose had a look around from Jackson.
Space appears. A loose pass from Kearney. A rare mistake.
Offering the option to Laidlaw. Scrum and line-out. All day long and
twice on Sunday! This is the line they had to defend. Watch John
Barclay defend this very, very well. It gets in there. He disrupts this.
Made a good decision. Wasn't offside. That's exactly what needed
to happen. Once the line-out goes over the 15, the line-out is over.
He is thinking a bit faster than everybody else. Great play by him,
massive turnover to get possession. Seven metres from your line.
There's been such a great success at Scarlett 's. Heading down there.
Perhaps been overlooked in the international wilderness a bit.
Jonny Gray is tackling back. That's unbelievable. Northern Irish player.
Hamish Watson went off after 50 minutes and made 16 pretty much in
the first half. A huge defensive effort required. They are only one
points down. The attack was so good in the first half, that defensive
effort has allowed them to still be in this game with 11 minutes to go.
How much has it taken out of them, that's the problem. Maybe those
numbers are the reasons we are seeing them falling off tackles. But
to see Raphael Varane tears watching the game. -- it is good to see
Raphael Varane . Big fan of Scottish rugby,
wouldn't miss this game. Needing the final ten minutes. Tadhg Furlong off
and Ryan is on, impressive for Munster this season.
Once more, Scotland on the back foot.
Ireland very much in control. Zebo spinning away.
Henshaw is flung to the turf by Ford. Cian Healy. Still all Ireland
in the middle. The dummy runner, the Murrayfield crowd cries obstruction.
The penalty to Scotland. Here we are, guys. Ten minutes to
go, one point ball game, we thought it would be tight, maybe not in the
circumstances the way the game has panned out, Scotland getting bullied
and Ireland coming back. Ten minutes to go, Greig Laidlaw needs to get
the guys together like he is doing now, getting the players together
and saying, "One bit of inspiration, one big hit, one good angle could be
the difference." That is all that is required now. It doesn't need to be
spectacular at the line-out, doesn't need to be over the 15 like Ireland
did, the main thing they need is possession.
Scotland right on the Irish 22. A single point in it. Taken eventually
by Barclays for Scotland. -- Barclay. Probably too long to go on
the clock to think penalties or drop goals, a long way to go in this
match. Ford carrying foot Scotland, Swinson, and onto Fagerson. Now
Russell. The clash from Bennett, struggling to get the ball back, and
now he does. Tense times for both sides as Barclay takes it in.
Penalty to Scotland with eight minutes to go, and a reasonably
straightforward kick for Greig Laidlaw. I was literally just
thinking to myself how good the discipline in defence has been from
Ireland has been today. It could be crucial. They have an opportunity.
They looked in control in defence but they have given away a penalty.
Vern Cotter, a few instructions passed down from on high.
It's very difficult to get out of there, very difficult to get out of
there. But you have two. This is the difference, Ireland had their
opportunity seven metres away two minutes ago and came away with zero
points. Murrayfield will fall silent now for Greig Laidlaw, three from
three so far. Through it goes and seven minutes
and perhaps a little bit more remaining at Murrayfield and
Scotland lead once again. Those will be a very long seven minutes for
those Scottish fans. Very much against the run of play. They have
kept themselves in it with their defence. Now the restart is so
important and Barclay takes it in a bit of room. He's been strong since
he came on. Gray, Jonny Gray gets to ground. So
Ireland into the territory of looking for any sort of penalty or
drop goal attempt. They need that ball first. The clearing kick from
Hogg. Jackson. And Kearney. Claimed by his opposite number Hogg, Irish
ball again. Zebo. There is Josh Van der Flier. The tackle comes in from
Fagerson on Cian Healy. And Ireland again on the front foot, now through
John Ryan, Jackson, inside ball to Zebo.
Stander. Scotland turn it over and have a chance to counter, Laidlaw
decides to put boot on ball, and reading it well was Kearney. He got
back in time. Now altered Heaslip. -- on to Heaslip. Some tired looking
men out there heading into the last five minutes. Rory Best. Murray to
Toner, Toner with a loose one and Barclay trying to get up there,
Henshaw evades the tackle and does well.
Stander once again. Five minutes on the clock. So, Conor Murray sends it
to the heavens, taken by Hogg, Hogg sees what is available, Hogg looking
for a run himself onto Bennett, Bennett chips and the chase is on,
sitting up for Conor Murray, the scrum-half is under pressure, being
watched by Bennett, gives it onto Zebo and he fires it down the line,
great kick from Zebo. He had no angle to go for touch, Hogg again,
Murrayfield is roaring, lives it up to Zebo who was hit hard by Henshaw.
Fagerson tries to get it to ground and just falls. Listen to the crowd
now as Wilson carries. Jonny Gray. And beyond now to four
minutes, Ireland looking for something. But still Scotland and
Richie Gray, and onto Finn Russell, space out wide, delaying the pass,
stepping to Dunbar, Dunbar taking him around the neck and the penalty
is coming but it is still there for Scotland. Spilled by Barclay,
Barclay will come back for that penalty. I love the ambition from
Scotland. Let's see what they are saying. Just a penalty, I think, is
the instruction. I'd like to see this again because we know the
directives, any time it is a high tackle you immediately think yellow.
I love the fact they still have ambition. It started low and it has
gone up. As Wayne Barnes said before the game, is it high? I don't think
there is any force or any speed in that. It is still poor. Putting
themselves under pressure now, Ireland, they will probably have to
defend a five metre line-out, it is a long way to get back up the pitch.
If you're wondering what the difference is, a reckless tackle
would have been a yellow card, that was more of an accidental tackle
deemed to be below the line and moved up onto the neck and that can
be sanctioned, but no yellow card in this instance. I think that was
borderline in every sense. The decision from Scotland was not to
take the three points that could have moved them beyond a penalty
clear, or a drop kick clear, and go for the corner. Huge decision. It is
a good decision, I think, three minutes left on the clock, five
metres out, great kick to the corner, didn't leave them eight
metres out, five metres, exactly where they want to be, a long way
for Ireland up the field. Under pressure but the safe man, deciding
to defender driving maul. There is a deep guttural cry from the
Murrayfield crowd to keep this going. Romain Poite. Scotland
looking for their first opening weekend when sins against France in
2006. -- since. Still with Scotland, looking to close down the game. They
would love a try. The bonus point is perhaps for another day. They need
victory. Ryan Wilson carries. Still there for Scotland. Two minutes to
go. It is just the forwards at close quarters carrying. Fancy rugby has
gone for Scotland now. It's all about safe, sensible, clinical
stuff. Taken in by Ross Ford. Two minutes is a long time to run the
game out like this. There is always a penalty, always a long way to
close the game off. Now overcarry by Swinson, makes some good ground. The
ball is still there for Scotland. Penalty to Scotland as well.
Ireland's chances slipping away here. You suspect with just over a
minute gone that it may be done for the visitors. You would expect the
penalty have gone the other way of defeat in Iraq, hands in the ruck,
but it shows the knowledge -- in the ruck. This is a good call. They let
the clock get over 79 minutes, so now if Greig Laidlaw goes for goal
and misses it and it goes dead it is game over and Scotland still win.
Greig Laidlaw could effectively put it into the stands. It was a poor
attempt, I will grant you. He is allowed a minute to take it. It is
game over. Whatever he does now he is absolutely going to hit the
leather of the ball. Man of the match quickly before this kick?
There have been so many good players for me but he lit up the first half,
quiet second-half, but my obvious Six Nations man of the match is
Stuart Hogg. Stuart Hogg, the man of the match and man of the moment,
Greig Laidlaw, to the strains of Flower Of Scotland, with this final
kick. It is good from Greig Laidlaw, it is
great from Scotland because they have won, they have beaten Ireland
in the opening match of this RBS Six Nations and the celebrations, not
just for this win, but for many, many years of hard graft for
Scotland and disappointment. It is all celebration for Scotland. Deep
disappointment for Ireland but this is Vern Cotter's moment and these
are Scotland's moments. Fantastic victory, the penalty from the
captain Greig Laidlaw, he knew he had nailed it, look at that,
fantastic moment from Greig Laidlaw but what an effort by the whole
Scotland team because what an attacking performance in the first
half and defensive effort in the second half that allowed them to win
this game. That was Ireland's game for the taking in the second half
because they were so dominant. They gave themselves a massive mountain
to climb, conceding three tries inside of half an hour, but fair
play to them, they go back into the game. The inaccuracies that were
there in the first half crept back in towards the end of the game. We
don't associate that with the Irish team, we associate them with a hack
you, highly accurate line-out, with ball in hand, and it's an easy fix
for Ireland but great result for Scotland. All of the talk will be
about how many Scottish Lions we are going to have. These games can flip
very quickly. What you don't often see is the momentum shift as you saw
in the last ten minutes. I thought Ireland had got the momentum and
were just going to sweep through the rest of the second half and win the
game, so fair play to Scotland to stop the momentum, turn it around
and come down and get two penalties and win the game. I wonder why John
Barclay wasn't fitted a Betfair play-off the bench, that turnover,
seven metres from the Irish line where he thought a bit quicker than
everyone else made a massive difference to the Scottish effort,
conceded a penalty and it was game over. Ireland go to Rome next
weekend and Scotland are in Paris, promising Six Nations start for
Scotland at the end of a very long winter. Two tries in the first half
from Stuart Hogg sent Scotland on their way to victory, the man of the
match is talking to Sonia. Do you think that's the best opening match
of the Six Nations? It was a cracking game we switched off a wee
bit at the start of the second-half but the boys are delighted to kick
off the Six Nations with a wink and there is no better place to do it
than Murrayfield. 17 points, having built such a strong lead, what were
you thinking? I've no idea, the boys were outstanding in the second-half.
Defensively we had to be on the money all the time and the boys were
delighted to come away with that one. Scotland's leading try scorer
in the Six Nations championship with two today. Did you ever believe that
accolade would come your way? I was putting very good possessions by my
team and it was just a case of finishing off. Down to the boys
upfront giving us a good platform and the excellent backs out wide, in
the right place at the right time. You are being very modest, you are
the RBS Six Nations man of the match, well done. Thanks very much.
CHEERING A famous afternoon for a famous old
stadium, as you look at the statistics and I will give you
another one, Scotland warily in the Irish 22 47% of whole second-half --
were only in. In the course of the second half we were going through
the stats about what is the record for the most points that people led
by and then lost but it didn't happen in the end. Let's hear from
the Irish captain. Rory, a penny for your thoughts,
because you seemed to have all of that momentum in the second half.
The way we started the game cost us, we knew they were a quality outfit
and they started the game as we thought they would with lots of
emotion and momentum and we were not good enough to stop it. I think we
fought back really well to get back into the lead in the second-half.
Ultimately, in a game the Six Nations away from home if you start
with a gap you are always going to get against it and it proved the
case. Why did you get off to a slow start? We have got to give credit to
them, they came out of the box really well and we made a few
uncharacteristic errors and didn't execute the way we wanted to and
probably were not good enough with a couple of line-outs. We had
opportunities to get hold of the game early on and didn't take them
and they did and they created a couple of chances and scored. Seemed
to be every time they got the ball at one point. It was frustrating and
the second-half was a lot more like it but we are hugely disappointed
that when we took the lead we did not close it out. Well done today.
For what it's worth, there is the first table of the RBS Six Nations
in 2017. What it is worth is that is a bit of history, there is a losing
bonus point for the first time in the history of the RBS Six Nations.
Just what I've always wanted! Let's go back to Sonia. That's the first
time since 2006 you've won your opening match in the Six Nations
championship. What does that mean to you and your
team? You can hear what it means to everybody.
CHEERING To get the win with everybody
singing the national anthem is what it is all about. Vern Cotter told us
we are going to win it because we are bloody-minded and we have done
it today. You struggled to close out a big game against Australia in the
autumn. How far has the Scotland team come that you managed to do it
today? We have come on leaps and bounds we in and week out and we
played well against Australia in November and Argentina we got the
win and we are over the Moon today with this result. Coach Vern Cotter
said he was targeting two wins in the Six Nations championship. You
have just rolled over Ireland. Are you going to revise that now? Just
listen to Vern Cotter and whatever he says goes. Well done. Thank you
very much. Well, the price of those Island-
England grandson tickets in Dublin have suddenly plummeted -- Ireland.
The Scottish Grand Slam is on. What an opening game of the RBS Six
Nations this year and it had everything, Scotland off to a great
start, what a comeback by Ireland in the second half, and the courage of
Scotland to come out and win with six tries, huge out of effort from
both sides and it's great to see Greig Laidlaw and Stuart Hogg
engaging with the fans, listen to the reception. Scotland go to France
next weekend but for now we talk about this game because it was a
cracker. How often have we been in Murrayfield and had to complain
about Scotland not taking their chances? Today, for 80 minutes,
whenever they got a chance they scored. That is incredible accuracy.
They made twice as many tackles as Ireland and kept composure until the
end, none more so than the captain. Every time you push the ball down
you think it will sail between the posts. That's the point you made,
everybody said it would be a tight match but goal-kicking, talk about
all the fancy moves in the world and bonus points for tries but
goal-kicking can be so fundamental. Greig Laidlaw, the man in the
picture now, is absolutely metronomic clean reliable. He and
Leigh Halfpenny are the best UK penalty kick is in the world. They
are in the mid-80s. He is overjoyed, as is the team and the Scottish
supporters. They have won a game that is so important for the first
time in ten years, to win the opening game, it is money mental for
Scotland. The expectation is high and now they are on the road to
possibly winning something really concrete. I always think when you
look at Laidlaw he always grumpy. Well, you play rugby to win, he's
winning and he has been smiling from the start, almost as if the whole
team thought they had a really good chance today and they have backed it
up to the end. We did say he looked very relaxed and full of himself
before the game when he was introducing the team to Princess
Anne and that was replicated on the field of play. Nobody epitomised
that better than Stuart Hogg, talk about his two tries in the first
half. Wiesberger that him and highlighted him before the game as
well and he always delivers. This is after a good number of phases,
Scotland keeping their width and patience, and they got fortunate
with the long pass bouncing up into Stuart Hogg's hands but he has to be
in the right position to score. Tommy Seymour was outside putting
Garry Ringrose in a difficult place. This was his second try, look at
Earls, doesn't know whether to come in all come out, Ireland's defence
is narrow but Hogg in the outside channel and Hogg knows as soon as he
has a defender turning his back he has the exploration to take the
space. We love to see a try scorer like that, great ball, quick ball
into the middle, and use the space, spot the space and run into it,
beautiful. You were critical of certain areas of Ireland's play,
especially in the first half. Talk through the try that Scotland scored
from the line-out from the Irish perspective. Attitude wise I thought
Ireland were off the pace, there is no attention, nobody looking, they
are thinking, who can we number up beside and instead there is a centre
standing three men in and nobody looking at him and where it is
going, thinking maybe there is going to be a drive at the back of the
line-out. Furlong was looking at the back of the line-out, his face was
looking at the number eight rather than ahead of him. Best is looking
the other way, that is OK but you have to take a quick glance to
double-check that spaces in there. Great innovation from Scotland.
Sometimes your brain just isn't up to speed and Ireland in that period
of time were just off the mark. It's getting very loud here. I will
correct that, it has got very loud here. In the second of Ireland had
all of the possession. Looking at the little bored down here, 70%
position in the second half, and for the period between 45 minutes and 70
minutes you could almost see no way that Ireland wouldn't win the match,
so how did they? -- didn't they? They played with intensity and
played with full composure. They played far more direct and
incredibly well. Three or four line breaks in the period of time that
with no composure at that stage, intercepted and sloppy little pass,
Sean O'Brien in here, great line, great run, look at Conor Murray, has
to pop off and doesn't. With such fine margins, they were in such
ascendancy, I don't even think they believed they were going to lose
either. You have to take this chances in the championship. With
momentum like this is the points have to go on Tillous-Borde and you
must take advantage of the situation. Good press, Murray,
should he give it to Zebo? Huge chance. But Ireland in the autumn
would have had composure and patience and would have scored from
these positions. They were a little bit rattled, which I wouldn't expect
from an experienced side. Again, credit to Scotland holding out in
this period of play, it won them the game, I feel. Even on this line,
great play from Kearney, I thought Kearney had a right go at the game,
one of the few Irish players who upped his leadership level to get
his team to follow. Look at that, on such fine margins. Left cheek into
touch. It is only the second time in the history of the Six Nations that
Scotland have won their opening match. What a lift, you can hear it
and feel it and sends what it means to the game, perhaps. It does. And a
line that to how well Edinburgh and Glasgow do in European competition
and Glasgow in the domestic competition, the last time was 2006
against France and it was a Sunday and half full and two driving maul
tries, and this is a completely different kettle of fish, great
rugby, fantastic comeback from Ireland but Scotland must now look
ahead to next week and build on that. Out next week pans out will
depend largely on how France play against England at Twickenham later
this afternoon. In your mind are you getting images of Gregor Townsend
and Gavin Hastings and that famous victory all those years ago? A lot
will depend on what happens at Twickenham, we have all played
against France and they can be world beaters, or they could be flattered
to deceive, so a lot will depend on the game later this evening. Here is
a very happy man with Sonia. Sorry to keep you. Vern what does it
say about how far your team has come that they were able to withstand
that Irish onslaught in the second half?
When there was one point in it towards the end I suppose everybody
thought it was going to be another similar scenario. But the guys have
learned and improved and we managed to claw our way back in at the end
of there. I think it is a great win for them. I think it will validate a
lot of the work they have been doing. I am just really happy. It is
quite a nice feeling, to be honest. I can imagine it is. How big is this
result for Scotland given a few close games have escaped them? Yeah,
it has. Australia was another 1-point game and we sneaked through
a game with Argentina. The players are genuinely finding ways to win
games. I thought for a while we had found a way to get ourselves in
trouble again for a while. We dominated the first half and I
thought they dominated a large part of the second half. It just shows,
there was composure at the end and we managed to get what we wanted. It
has been a while since we have had a winning the first game of the Six
Nations. I think that will create a real positive dynamic moving
forward. There was a time when Scotland couldn't hit a barn door at
five paces and couldn't score and there you are, three tries before
half-time. You are living in dreamland. I suppose if you are
going to be critical you'd want to get another couple in the second
half so that is something we can look forward to and to move forward
on when we come together early in the week. There was some good
attacking play. My coaches are working hard and finding ways to
improve players. I think it is a great team effort from everybody.
You said before the championship you are targeting two wins, might you
revise that now? Look, no, that is one, we are really happy, but I
think the players will decide what they want to do from here on in. If
we could get another one that would be great. Will you have a beer with
Joe Schmidt because you finally got one over on him? Yeah, I might do, a
quiet one. You are obviously very good friends. Let's bring the
aforementioned Mr Joe Schmidt into proceedings here because he is just
coming round the corner. Joe, come and join your old friend Vern
Cotter. You can shake hands. He's finally got one over on you. What
did Scotland get right today that Ireland didn't? They got a flying
start, a really impressive start. Vern Cotter has obviously done some
great work with them. Just a little line-out play. We were a little bit
passive and naive, I think, and it was really disappointing but at the
same time I felt we clawed our way back into the game and to get ahead
at 22-21 and having couple of really good chances to put the game the way
up the middle when Jamie Heaslip carried and down the wing when Rob
Kearney carried we got very close to getting away on them but when you
don't get away from a team playing at home and have so much to play for
you are always at risk of them coming back and maybe getting
something in the end. Thank you for your time, Joe. We are running out
of it! One or two other things to tell you
about, not least Six Nations Rugby special tomorrow at 6pm, 7pm in
Scotland, the women's Six Nations round-up is at 10:45pm, first time
out tomorrow night, and more matches to happen over the course of the
weekend, not least England against France live on Radio 5 live at
4:50pm. Listen to it on the radio while watching the doubles in the
Davis Cup from Canada, it is 1-1 at the moment, Jamie Murray and Dom
Inglot will be playing in that match. We have 30 seconds. Ten
seconds on England against France, who will win? England at home, so
strong at Twickenham. England. They are on a high at home and rarely
lose at home. Wales against Italy tomorrow? It will be a big challenge
for Wales, 13 versus fifth in the world but it will be a tough gig.
Wales. I will go for the red of Wales. It is fair to say that in
advance we all knew this was the game to beat at this weekend and it
suddenly turned out that way. Has the bar ever been set that high for
the opening match of a Six Nations championship? Thanks for watching
and we will see you in Cardiff next weekend. Bye bye.
# Here comes Johnny # Liquor and drugs
# He's going to do another striptease
# Well, I'm just a modern guy # Lust for life #
COMMENTATOR: Jackson is through and stretches to score Scotland lead
once again! Great from Scotland because they have won!
John Inverdale introduces live coverage of the opening game of the 2017 Six Nations Championship, with Scotland welcoming Ireland to Murrayfield. This will be the Scots' final Six Nations campaign under head coach Vern Cotter, with the Kiwi leaving his post at the end of the season to be replaced by Gregor Townsend. Expert analysis is provided by Keith Wood, Chris Paterson and Jeremy Guscott, with commentary by Andrew Cotter and Andy Nicol.