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‘A’ Team Leak Ten Tries Against Rampant Scots

‘A’ Team Leak Ten Tries Against Rampant Scots

Having gone 26-0 down after only 24 minutes’ play, Ireland ‘A’ had a night to forget at McDiarmid Park on Friday as Scotland ‘A’ powered to a record win over the Irish at this level.

‘A’ INTERNATIONAL MATCH: Friday, February 22

SCOTLAND ‘A’ 67 IRELAND ‘A’ 7, McDiarmid Park, Perth

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Scorers: Scotland: Tries: Phil Godman, Dougie Hall, Alan MacDonald, Rory Lawson, Calum MacRae, Max Evans 2, Ben Cairns, Alasdair Dickinson, Craig Smith; Cons: Phil Godman 5, Gordon Ross 2; Pen: Phil Godman

Ireland: Try: Gary Brown; Con: Niall O’Connor

On paper, this Ireland ‘A’ team should have been more than capable of living with their Scottish counterparts but again a lack of preparation time proved to be their downfall. Two sin-binnings in either half also did little to help the Irish cause.

Ireland ‘A’ coach Michael Bradley fielded a side showing a number of changes to the one that started the 31-13 defeat to England Saxons on February 1.

Gavin Duffy and Isaac Boss, the ‘A’ team’s captain for the night, were the only surviving backs, while Frankie Sheahan, Trevor Hogan, Ryan Caldwell and Stephen Keogh were the forwards to keep their places.

The chances of the Irish maintaining their unbeaten run over Scotland at ‘A’ level – the Scots were winless in this fixture since 1999 – dipped significantly in the opening quarter.

Indeed, the home side, coached by current Edinburgh boss Andy Robinson, got on the scoreboard in the first-minute. Flanker Alan MacDonald made the initial incision in the defensive line and he offloaded in perfect time for his Edinburgh club-mate Phil Godman to go in under the posts.

Godman converted his own try before his opposite number, Ulster’s Niall O’Connor, missed a fourth-minute penalty opportunity.

However, Ireland ‘A’ just could not gain a foothold and more Scottish pressure resulted in tries for hooker Dougie Hall and McDonald, the latter’s try set up by and converted by Godman.

With Ireland’s defensive line caught out time and again, the Scots chalked up their fourth try at the start of the second quarter.

A dropped pass by the visitors was scooped up by Roland Reid who thundered down the left touchline and kicked forward for scrum half Rory Lawson to dart onto the ball and touch down for a well-worked score.

Confirmation of what was to be a luckless night for Bradley’s side came when Godman’s conversion attempt bounced over off the crossbar to stretch Scotland’s lead to 26-0. Ireland ‘A’ countered well off the restart however, with Boss taking a quick tap. The move ended when a Niall Ronan kick forward resulted in a turnover of possession.

Yet a minute later, Ireland ‘A’ were celebrating their one and only try. The men in green scored through winger Gary Brown, who sped in from the right after a two-on-one overlap, and O’Connor added the extras.

On the half-hour, the visitors lost flanker Ronan to the sin-bin for slowing up Scottish ball at a ruck and Godman thumped over the subsequent penalty to give his side a 29-7 buffer to take into the second half.

Ireland ‘A’ did get their share of go-forward ball after the break but the well-drilled Scots continued to look the more clinical and they picked off their tries at will.

A quick line break by Ben Cairns saw the Edinburgh centre gain ground before he put his club-mate Calum MacRae over for a seven-pointer.

Ireland ‘A’ tried to reply with both Caldwell and Connacht flyer Daniel Riordan stopped short of the try line as the Scottish cover got across.

Just when it looked like Ireland ‘A’ might chalk up a second try, they had replacement prop Mike Ross yellow carded and any thoughts of a comeback quickly disintegrated as a lineout drive saw Scottish prop Alasdair Dickinson add his name to the list of try scorers.

A quick brace of tries from debutant Max Evans, the second topped off with a cartwheel and back-flip, really rubbed Irish noses in it.

The Glasgow Warrior’s second try, converted by Godman, also pushed Scotland ‘A’ through the 50-point mark and they followed up with their ninth try in the 73rd-minute. Replacement scrum half Mark McMillan created the score for Cairns whose effort was converted by Gordon Ross, another replacement.

Ross also tagged on the extras to replacement prop Craig Smith’s 78th-minute try as Scotland ‘A’ rounded off an historic and well-deserved win. From an Irish point of view, this was a very embarrassing defeat.

With the possibility of these Celtic rivals meeting in the knock-out stages, the summer’s Churchill Cup tournament cannot come quick enough for Bradley and his squad.

SCOTLAND ‘A’: Calum MacRae (Edinburgh); Simon Danielli (Ulster), Ben Cairns (Edinburgh), Graeme Morrison (Glasgow Warriors), Roland Reid (Edinburgh); Phil Godman (Edinburgh), Rory Lawson (Gloucester) (capt); Alasdair Dickinson (Gloucester), Dougie Hall (Glasgow Warriors), Moray Low (Glasgow Warriors), Craig Hamilton (Edinburgh), Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors), Mark Rennie (Burgoin), Alan MacDonald (Edinburgh), Johnnie Beattie (Glasgow Warriors).

Replacements used: Scott Lawson (Sale Sharks), Max Evans (Glasgow Warriors), Craig Smith (Edinburgh), Mark McMillan (Wasps), James Eddie (Glasgow Warriors), Gordon Ross (Saracens), Dan Turner (Glasgow Warriors).

IRELAND ‘A’: Daniel Riordan (Buccaneers/Connacht); Ian Dowling (Shannon/Munster), Kieran Lewis (Garryowen/Munster), Gavin Duffy (Galwegians/Connacht), Gary Brown (Blackrock College/Leinster); Niall O’Connor (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Isaac Boss (Ballymena /Ulster) (capt); Darragh Hurley (Cork Constitution/Munster), Frankie Sheahan (Cork Constitution/Munster), Declan Fitzpatrick (Dungannon/Ulster), Trevor Hogan (Shannon/Leinster), Ryan Caldwell (Dungannon/Ulster), Stephen Keogh (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Niall Ronan (Shannon/Munster), Stephen Ferris (Dungannon/Ulster).

Replacements used: Adrian Flavin (Buccaneers/Connacht), Mike Ross (Harlequins), Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster), David Pollock (Dungannon/Ulster), Chris Keane (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Andy Dunne (Old Belvedere/Connacht), Keith Earls (Garryowen/Munster).

Referee: Andrew Small (England)