Ireland have secured their third Triple Crown in four seasons this afternoon, but it was far from easy at Murrayfield as Scotland battled hard and it took a 19-point contribution from Ronan O’Gara to see the visitors triumph.
RBS 6 NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP: Saturday, March 10
SCOTLAND 18 IRELAND 19, Murrayfield (Att: 67,800)
Scorers: Scotland: Pens: Chris Paterson 6
Ireland: Try: Ronan O’Gara; Con: O’Gara; Pens: O’Gara 4
Full-Time – SCOTLAND 18 IRELAND 19
79 mins: Great turnover for the Irish just outside their 22 – O’Callaghan and Leamy were to the fore as they were awarded scrum ball by referee Pearson.
78 mins: A very worrying sight for Ireland – captain O’Driscoll is down with a shoulder injury. He was clobbered in a tackle as he tried to offload for the lurking O’Callaghan out on the left wing. He is fit enough to continue though. Jim Hamilton is on for Scotland.
76 mins: Ireland win a penalty – but 47 metres out from goal, away to the left, O’Gara’s kick is just short and it drops in under the bar. It is still Ireland with a one-point lead.
74 mins: Ireland inject a bit more purpose into the play and Rory Lawson is pinged for coming in at the side of a ruck. Penalty to Ireland and it is kickable.
70 mins: IRELAND PENALTY! A good carry by D’Arcy leads to Scotland infringing at a ruck and O’Gara pings the penalty kick through the uprights. Most importantly, Wallace takes the restart kick with ease and Ireland are back on the attack. Scotland 18 Ireland 19.
69 mins: Neil Best has been introduced by the Irish management, with Easterby the man to make way.
68 mins: IRELAND PENALTY! Ireland hit back almost immediately as O’Gara lands a right-sided kick from 30 metres after a good run from O’Callaghan. Scotland 18 Ireland 16.
66 mins: Andrew Henderson is into the fray for Di Rollo. Ireland have brought Jerry Flannery in with Rory Best making way. The Scottish front row has two new inclusions – Allan Jacobsen and Ross Ford.
65 mins: SCOTLAND PENALTY! Another infringement at a ruck allows Paterson to slot over his 20th straight kicking success in this year’s Six Nations. Time for Ireland to wake up! Scotland 18 Ireland 13.
62 mins: Ireland lose the ball out the side of a ruck and the Scots launch a stirring attack with a long kick forward. O’Gara and Hickie get back to defend the situation. The Irish need to show some compsure but a missed kick to touch from O’Gara sees the hosts allowed to return it with interest.
61 mins: SCOTLAND PENALTY! Annoyingly, Ireland infringe again at ruck time and Paterson, who had just failed with a drop goal shot, fires over his fifth penalty for a 15-12 home lead. Scotland 15 Ireland 13.
58 mins: Territorially, the Scots are dominating at present – they made a further change with Rory Lawson on as scrum half for Chris Cusiter.
55 mins: Best throws a skewed lineout and it is good ball for Scotland but Marcus Di Rollo kicks out on the full. Yet more errors from Irish though as O’Driscoll loses the ball forward and Horgan slices his kick to touch.
54 mins: That is better from Ireland – Wallace offloads perfectly for O’Gara to run through but the out-half is shepherded into touch – Allister Hogg is on for Callam in the Scottish back row.
52 mins: Scotland are restored to 15 men – Hynes is back on and he claps his team-mates as they failed to concede any points during his time off the field.
51 mins: SCOTLAND PENALTY! O’Connell is ruled to have come in at the side of a ruck and Paterson maintains his 100% kicking record, slotting over from 30-plus metres out on the right. Scotland 12 Ireland 13.
48 mins: A great break from O’Driscoll sets Hickie into space but Sean Lamont gets across to push Ireland’s second top try scorer of all-time into touch before he grounds the ball. No try.
46 mins: Ireland bring their backs into play, O’Driscoll smashes up through the middle and Leamy offloads for Horgan in space on the left but he fails to find his Leinster team-mate Hickie and a good try-scoring chance goes a-begging.
45 mins: Sean Lamont joins the Scottish scrum and the hosts can clear eventually through Parks.
43 mins: Ireland target the seven-man pack, but the Scots defend well, crowding the ruck area – Murray and Gavin Kerr combine to force a turnover and they have a set scrum, five metres from their own line.
Second Half: Kick-Off: O’Gara restarts with a long kick. Scotland, who have made a change with Rory Lamont replacing the injured Southwell, manage to clear. Irish lineout – the Scots infringe during the next phases, at the breakdown again. Nathan Hines made no attempt to roll away from the ball at the breakdown and Scotland are down to 14 men.
Half-Time – SCOTLAND 9 IRELAND 13
40+1 mins: SCOTLAND PENALTY! Frustrating times for Ireland as Hayes and Easterby are penalised for not rolling away at the breakdown and Paterson thumps over from 39 metres out, straight on, to sees Scotland end the half on a high. That is the last kick of the half. Scotland 9 Ireland 13.
38 mins: IRELAND PENALTY! Scotland infringe at the breakdown and O’Gara mops up with a confident penalty strike, cancelling out Paterson’s most recent kick. Scotland 6 Ireland 13.
36 mins: SCOTLAND PENALTY! John Hayes was pinged for not scrumming square at an Irish set piece and Paterson lands his second penalty to cut the gap to four points. Scotland 6 Ireland 10
32 mins: Scotland get a quick opportunity to reply. O’Connell makes his first mistake of the afternoon with the restart kick bouncing off his hands and the Scots charge through, getting up to five metres from the visitors’ try line. Brave defence with David Wallace to the fore. The next phase sees scrum ball spread out to the right but Hugo Southwell fails to take advantage of a two-on-one and Ireland regroup with Easterby at his spoiling best.
30 mins: IRELAND TRY! Incredibly another chargedown leds to a try at Murrayfield, after the Italians’ early salvo two weeks ago. O’Gara blocks a Parks kick, offloads for the supporting D’Arcy, Easterby takes it on and links again with O’Gara who goes in under the posts for his third try of this year’s Six Nations. The conversion is added. Scotland 3 Ireland 10.
28 mins: Still a degree of tension in the air – there is no way through for Ireland at the moment, the hosts’ defence is strong. A fired-up O’Driscoll is penalised for charging in on Paterson after the Scottish skipper came in with a late hit on O’Gara. Scotland win the penalty as neither touch judge or referee spotted Paterson’s involvement in the skirmish.
26 mins: Tempers boiled over for a time there as a stray boot from Stringer connected with Paterson on the deck, but with the situation under control, Ireland are back on the attack. A first rendition of ‘The Fields’ gets heart pumping.
24 mins: Hooker Best, playing alongside his brother, sees a lineout throw go astray and Scotland have their first significant attack. Horgan sends a kick through but Sean Lamont returns it with interest, making 40 metres before offloading for Paterson to continue the move but Hickie, showing great pace and ability to get back on his feet quickly, retrieves the situation with a great tackle on the visitors’ 22.
21 mins: Sweet kick to touch from O’Gara – Scotland are fortunate at lineout time as only a slight knock on from O’Connell prevents Simon Easterby from getting some decent ball in hand.
19 mins: A lineout throw from Hall was ruled not straight, Ireland attack off the resulting scrum but Scotland’s defence is strong at the breakdown and they are slowing up Irish ball. Horgan knocks on but an unforced error from Parks – he kicked straight into touch – sees Ireland back on the front foot off the next phase.
17 mins: SCOTLAND PENALTY! Scottish captain Paterson levels it up for his side – that is the Edinburgh player’s 15th successful kick in this year’s Six Nations, quite a record. Scotland 3 Ireland 3.
16 mins: Better play from the Scots – they win a penalty chance after O’Driscoll was ruled offside. Chris Paterson will go for goal from 35 metres out.
13 mins: Lovely interlinking down the right flank from Ireland – it is a confident start from O’Sullivan’s men. Shane Horgan and Brian O’Driscoll combine and force an Irish lineout near the Scottish 22. The resulting lineout sees the pack maul forward with menace and only a knock on from Girvan Dempsey prevented what looked a certain try for Denis Hickie out on the left.
11 mins: O’Gara lines up to go for the posts but his kick, from just inside the Scottish half, skews away and it remain Scotland 0 Ireland 3.
10 mins: That is the fourth penalty at the breakdown against Scotland – referee Dave Pearson will have little option soon but to opt for his yellow card. Blistering run for D’Arcy again in the lead-up to the penalty – he shrugged off Rob Dewey’s tackle with aplomb.
9 mins: IRELAND PENALTY! O’Gara slots the penalty with ease, landing the kick from just inside the 22 to the right of the posts. Scotland 0 Ireland 3.
6 mins: Chants of ‘Ireland! Ireland! Ireland!’ go up. D’Arcy goes on a trademark run, pumping his leg like pistons as he makes the hard yards. Penalty to Ireland – the Scots are offside at a ruck. O’Gara to go for goal.
5 mins: Great stuff from Ireland in midfield – Peter Stringer takes a quick tap penalty, O’Gara finds O’Connell who takes a brilliant line and bulldozes up through the middle, making 15 metres. From a ruck out on the left, Stringer chips over the top but Scotland regroup, win the lineout – throwing over the top to Kelly Brown.
2 minutes: Scotland win a penalty near their own ten-metre line after Paul O’Connell was whistled up for being offside at a ruck. Parks finds touch but Dougie Hall’s lineout throw is a loose one and snapped up by Simon Easterby. Penalty to the Irish and O’Gara clears. Rory Best finds Donncha O’Callaghan with his first lineout throw of the day.
First Half: Kick-Off: Dan Parks gets the game underway, switching his kick out to the right. The ball is recycled well and Ronan O’Gara finds a good touch just past halfway.
1.28pm: The anthems are belted out – there is a hearty rendition of ‘Ireland’s Call’ to encourage O’Driscoll and company. The 120th meeting between these Celtic rivals is about to get underway.
1.25pm: Giant flames dramatically greet the Scots as lock Scott Murray leads the home side out onto the sward – the Edinburgh player is making a record 83rd appearance for his country.
1.23pm: Brian O’Driscoll leads the Irish team out onto the field as he equals Keith Wood’s captaincy record of 36 Tests. Plenty of green in the crowd, as you would expect.
1.18pm: The teams are just heading back into the dressing rooms after their warm-ups. Conditions are cool and the sky is grey. There is a slight wind also but nothing which will have a big bearing on the game.
Pre-Match: Hello and welcome to Murrayfield for IrishRugby.ie’s coverage of today’s Six Nations clash between Scotland and Ireland. Sit tight as Eddie O’Sullivan’s side bid to win their third Triple Crown in four years. They are overwhelming favourites to win, but will the Scots throw a spanner in the work?
You can also click on our MatchDayLive link at the bottom of the homepage for score updates and audio coverage.
SCOTLAND: Hugo Southwell (Edinburgh); Sean Lamont (Northampton Saints), Marcus Di Rollo (Edinburgh), Rob Dewey (Edinburgh), Chris Paterson (Edinburgh) (capt); Dan Parks (Glasgow Warriors), Chris Cusiter (Border Reivers); Gavin Kerr (Border Reivers), Dougie Hall (Edinburgh), Euan Murray (Glasgow Warriors), Nathan Hines (Perpignan), Scott Murray (Edinburgh), Simon Taylor (Edinburgh), Kelly Brown (Border Reivers), David Callam (Edinburgh).
Replacements: Ross Ford (Border Reivers), Allan Jacobsen (Edinburgh), Jim Hamilton (Leicester Tigers), Allister Hogg (Edinburgh), Rory Lawson (Gloucester), Andrew Henderson (Glasgow Warriors), Rory Lamont (Glasgow Warriors).
IRELAND: Girvan Dempsey (Terenure College/Leinster); Shane Horgan (Lansdowne/Leinster), Brian O’Driscoll (Blackrock College/Leinster) (capt), Gordon D’Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster), Denis Hickie (St. Mary’s College/Leinster); Ronan O’Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster), Peter Stringer (Shannon/Munster); Simon Best (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Rory Best (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), John Hayes (Bruff/Munster), Donncha O’Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster), Paul O’Connell (Young Munster/Munster), Simon Easterby (Llanelli), David Wallace (Garryowen/Munster), Denis Leamy (Cork Constitution/Munster).
Replacements: Jerry Flannery (Shannon/Munster), Bryan Young (Ballymena/Ulster), Mick O’Driscoll (Cork Constitution/Munster), Neil Best (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Eoin Reddan (Wasps), Paddy Wallace (Ballymena/Ulster), Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster).
Referee: Dave Pearson (England)