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Match Reaction: Ireland 15 Scotland 9

Match Reaction: Ireland 15 Scotland 9

Click here for post-match reaction from the Irish and Scottish camps after Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations clash at Lansdowne Road.

…Eddie O’Sullivan and the Irish management team look on from the West Stand…

IRELAND COACH EDDIE O’SULLIVAN: “We’re where we want to be at this stage of the season. We said after the win against Wales that we were very happy, but we knew that it would only be after his game that we’d be in a position to have a tilt at winning a Triple Crown. So that’s why we didn’t want to talk about that possibility until after the final whistle.

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“(Not scoring a try) that doesn’t bother me given they day that was in it. If it had been drier, we could have spread the ball a bit more. We went close a few times but you have got to give credit to Scotland – their defence was fantastic. I’ll still take the win.

Some might say it was an ugly win, but I thought it was a very good win. Our defence was superb. We feel like we’ve achieved something in beating a very good Scotland team. Now we will circle the wagons and start setting our sights on Twickenham.”

“(With the championship now unlikely) we could still win a Triple Crown next weekend, and I wouldn’t cry any tears over that. We’ve improved in certain areas. Our set piece has been good and getting better. I think our continuity is improving and our ruck ball is improving.

“If you’re taking a broad view of it, I’d like to think that as the championship has gone on we’re inching forwards in terms of our performances.”

SCOTLAND COACH FRANK HADDEN: “They (Ireland) clearly did their homework on us. We made two changes in the second row but it didn’t make any difference. I wouldn’t find fault with the two main jumpers – it was down to more than that. We lost eight of our throws and that’s not acceptable. Ireland were clever, they pressurised us and it caused huge problems.”

“The destination of the title is in the lap of the gods – it’s likely to come down to points difference, tries scored and whatever. But if Ireland don’t go all the way, they will be happy to be in with a shout. They have won three games and are in line for a fourth. They’re the only side that can win the Triple Crown, and that will surely be a major boost to them. No doubt they will have huge support at Twickenham on St. Patrick’s weekend, so England might not have the advantage they expect.”

IRELAND CAPTAIN BRIAN O’DRISCOLL: “I think I’ll just concencentrate on our victory for the moment. There’ll be plenty of time to start thinking about Triple Crowns during the week. After a Test match, you really need time to unwind. Our schedule can be pretty tiring, and at times, you just need a break from the whole thing.

So. I don’t really want to think about it for a while, but when we get back into the camp on Sunday evening, and start doing our analysis, we’ll start focusing 100% on next week.”

SCOTLAND CAPTAIN JASON WHITE: “England will be favourites (against Ireland) on their home ground, but we found ways of getting at them at Murrayfield. If Ireland can do something similar, then they must be capable of winning.

“If I was Irish, I would be disappointed with the fact that they didn’t always use their possession wisely against us. That was partly down to the fact that we have now got our defensive formation up to speed. We set about improving that from the start of the championship and we gave Ireland a pretty hard time of it.”

IRELAND LOCK PAUL O’CONNELL: “Scotland came here with a lot of confidence and we knew they would make it tough for us. They’d a lot of motivation and their defence is excellent so while we might have liked to convert possession and position into more points, we’ll take the win.

“It’s Twickenham and England next up which is always a tough test but it’s nice to go there with something to play for having been heavily criticised earlier in the championship. We’re looking forward to it.”

SCOTLAND LOCK SCOTT MURRAY: “I still think we’ve got a quality lineout but Ireland’s defence was pretty sharp and cottoned on to a few of our calls. It’s tough we you can’t call your lineout because they know what’s going on.

“Yes, the lineouts were a massive problem for us and when we did win the ball it was quite scrappy, but it isn’t down to one man.

“I just think we lost our composure in the first 20 minutes with a couple of bad calls from me.

“All the teams have raised the bar in the 6 Nations this season, including ourselves. As long as we keep striving to get better we can only improve.”

IRELAND WINGER SHANE HORGAN: “There’s one game left and it’s building towards the need for an exceptional performance. I don’t think we have played to 100% all of the time but, in stages of particular games, we have played some good rugby.

“Maybe we are one pass short – and that pass has to go to hand. If it does then we are in with a shout.

“You go to Twickenham with your eyes very much wide open and you know if you don’t bring your ‘A’ game, you don’t stand a chance – but that’s what we’re aiming for. We have beaten them (England) the last two times and I think we played our ‘A’ game on both occasions. If we can play to that sort of standard again, I think we’ll be in with a shout. If England play the way they can play, it’s going to be a very tight game. No matter what, I think it’s going to be a one-score game – if we turn up.”

SCOTLAND LOCK NATHAN HINES: “You saw the hits and stuff (out there) and I don’t think they were any different from the England game. Ireland are a different proposition though. England come straight at you and Ireland dance around a bit – so it’s hard to rush in and you have to keep your eyes open and not go belting it.”

IRELAND FULL-BACK GEORDAN MURPHY: “Everything is there for the taking – everyone is excited by the prospect of next weekend and playing England. It’s always huge at Twickenham against England – for any country, but especially Ireland. We would be looking forward to the game even if nothing was on the line. It’s a huge match.

People are saying there are four million sets of fingers crossed for us next weekend. We have the support of the public behind us and all the guys want to get over there and play.”

“It was typical day at Lansdowne Road. It was a nice way to sign off with the weather like that.

“I have mixed emotions because there is a lot of history and tradition that goes with Lansdowne. But as a full-back, I won’t be sad to see the back of it. The wind at Lansdowne is unique – it shifts and changes. As a full-back, it’s never nice to have high balls floating at you from every angle.

It’s time we moved on and it will be nice to play at the new Lansdowne if I ever get there.”

SCOTLAND FULL-BACK HUGO SOUTHWELL: “We were given updates on the weather and had to switch to a back-up plan as we knew it would be difficult to throw the ball out wide when it was so wet.

“However, we still didn’t execute it as well as we should have, especially in the first half. A few kicks went dead and those few inches made all the difference. Ireland did the basics a bit better than us and was decisive but I don’t believe that our heads will go down because of this result.

“It’s always hard to come to Lansdowne Road and win and they were pushing as hard as we were to be in title contention. Ireland played better than us on the day and deserved to win, but that doesn’t mean to say our mood has gone down. We can take heart from what has happened already and look to move on. There is no way we will lose any confidence going into the match against Italy next weekend.”

IRELAND HOOKER JERRY FLANNERY: “I got knocked into next week (by a Jason White tackle) but I got up. You can’t stay down. I just said ‘good hit.’ They (the management) told us not to run down White’s channel before the game and I took the runner so wide I said to myself: ‘There’s no way he’s going to be able to get me.’ And the next second just as I grabbed the ball, I saw him coming through the air.

I could hear one of the Scots say: ‘Are you still alive?’ So I said back: ‘we still have the ball.”

SCOTLAND FLANKER ALLISTER HOGG: “Jason White put in some phenomenal tackles, not least a thumping hit on Jerry Flannery during the second half.

“I thought Flannery was done for because I couldn’t even imagine the force with which he was hit as both men were running flat out when they met. But fair play to the Irish hooker, he held onto the ball and got up from a tackle that would have left lesser men still lying there on their backs.”

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