The first round of this year’s Six Nations saw a suitably dogged affair between two sides looking to bridge the gap between England and the rest, but it was Ireland who eventually came out victorious at Donnybrook.
Adam Griggs’ side ran out 18-14 winners in the end but was forced to hold off a defiant Scotland side, who rallied in the closing stages.
Ireland had made the perfect start to the match and deservedly powered into a 13-0 lead after scores from Cliodhna Moloney and Sene Naoupu. This could have been more at one stage, as number eight Anna Caplice and full-back Lauren Delany both broke the line, only to be held out by resilient Scottish defence.
As Scotland’s scrum began to make an impression, however, the away side was rewarded just before half time through centre Lisa Thomson.
Beibhinn Parsons’ late interception looked to have secured a deserved victory for the Irish, but Emma Wassell replied just four minutes later with a score of her own, to keep Scotland in touching distance.
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Yet, Ireland held on to claim a win in stark contrast to last year’s home demolition by England. The 2019 competition saw Ireland win just one game, also against the Scottish, but they will be confident now that this weekend’s game was a sign of things to come.
The only negative from an otherwise positive victory was the head injury to hooker Cliodhna Moloney, who had controlled the game up until that point.
There were pleasing signs as well for Scotland, especially their dominant scrum, and set-piece, which will no doubt be something the Scots seek to utilise more in future matches.
Scotland claimed a losing bonus point in the match, and the table itself is still finely poised with Ireland in third on points difference, behind Italy and England.
Ireland will host Wales in their second consecutive home fixture this coming Sunday, whilst Scotland is also at home to England.
The starting teams for yesterday’s match were as follows:
Ireland: Delany; Doyle, Naoupu, Claffey, Parsons; Murphy, Dane; Peat, Moloney, Djougang; McDermott, Fryday; Griffin, McMahon, Caplice.
Replacements: Dabanovich O'Mahony, Feely, Lyons, Cooney, Wall, Cronin, Keohane, Sheehan.
Scotland: Rollie, Lloyd, Smith, Thomson, Gaffney, Nelson, McDonald; Bartlett, Skeldon, Forsyth, Wassell, Bonar, Malcolm, McLachlan, Konkel.
Replacements: Wright, Muzambe, Cockburn, Cattigan, McMillan, Law, Tonkin, Wallace.News Now - Sport News