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Ireland Tops in Lansdowne Road.

Ireland Tops in Lansdowne Road.

02/03/02.When these sides last met in Lansdowne Road, Scotland scored 22 points and Ireland 44. This time Scotland again scored 22 points, Ireland scored 43.

A hat-trick of tries from Brian O’Driscoll helped Ireland to a 43-22 victory over Scotland in Lansdowne Road and helped them get back on track – as they had promised – following the defeat in Twickenham a fortnight ago. And one of the biggest cheers of the afternoon was reserved for the PA announcer who alerted people of the result from Paris that now throws the championship wide open.

But back to Lansdowne Road and a victory for an Irish side under intense pressure following the Twickenham debacle. Promises were made before the game by management and players and they delivered in no uncertain terms.

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In the end they won handsomely and can be rightly pleased with the way they went about it.

Ireland started the game and within two minutes were three points up when Humphreys landed a simple penalty, the Scots at sixes and sevens in defence, happy to give away a three pointer. And that start set the scene for the opening quarter as both sides attacked at every opportunity.

After Ireland won a lineout on their own ten metre line – Sheehan’s throw to Galwey inch perfect -they were penalised and Brendan Laney tied the match with a perfectly struck penalty. Moments later Townsend s perfectly judged kick took play just inside the Ireland 22 to begin a phase of Scottish pressure. That yielded a penalty to Laney who converted from mid way between the half way and ten metre line and Scotland led 6-3. The Scottish full-back extended that lead in the 23rd minute with a penalty from 22 metres after Peter Clohessy was penalised for coming in from the wrong side.

And then, when the Scots were building a degree of confidence, Ireland scored their first try.

A penalty five metres from the Scottish line resulted in a scrum and Ireland used a rehearsed move that put Brian O’Driscoll in for a try to the left of the posts (9-8).

It got better for Ireland when a piece of inspirational passing, first from Eric Miller and then O’Driscoll left Shane Horgan with a clear run for a second Irish try. Humphreys converted and Ireland led by six points (15-9).

The Scots came back as you would expect but were hit by a sucker punch when with 13 seconds of normal time left, O’Driscoll pounced on a loose ball inside his own half and ran the length of the field to score a try that effectively sealed the outcome. Humphreys tapped over the conversion and although Laney adder an injury time penalty Ireland went into the break with a lead (22-12) they were never to relinquish.

Minutes into the restart Ireland were caught when Humphreys attempted to run a ball from his own line and Scotland were awarded a scrum. Simon Taylor went left was tackled by Wallace, play switched left and Henderson crossed the Irish line only for play to be called back for an earlier infringement. That period of pressure yielded a penalty for Scotland to narrow the gap to seven points (22-15) but minutes later Humphreys kicked a marvellous penalty from the half way to put two scores between the sides.(25-15).

He repeated the dose in the 54th minute, from the Scottish 10 metre line and again in the 59th from a little closer, the latter penalty co-inciding with a yellow card for Budge Pountney and Ireland were in clear water.

With 15 minutes to go the Scots were punished again for spilling ball when Shane Horgan pounced on the loose, switched to Humphreys who off-loaded swiftly on the reverse to put substitute Simon Easterby over for a try on the right. (32-15).

Scottish substitute Martin Leslie scored his side’s first try in the 72nd minute but by then the Scots were playing for pride.

It was rounded off with O’Driscoll’s third try in injury time, a score converted by substitute Ronan O’Gara.

With the Scots just playing for pride, the result from Paris left the Irish looking to the championship.www.irishrugby.ie Man of the Match:Brian O’Driscoll

www.irishrugby.ie Turning Point. O’Driscoll’s try just before half time.