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Scotland Indiscipline Hands Ireland 6 Nations Victory

Jonathan Sexton of Ireland is “tip tackled” by Alex Dunbar of…

Jonathan Sexton of Ireland is “tip tackled” by Alex Dunbar of Scotland during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Scotland at the Aviva Stadium on March 19, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images


[dropcap]S[/dropcap]cotland have been beaten by Ireland in their final game of the RBS 6 Nations by 35-25, ending hopes of a rare three game winning streak and a top half of the table finish. Tries came from Stuart Hogg, Richie Gray and Alex Dunbar.

Despite plenty of attacking endeavour and three great tries, the men in blue struggled to keep pace with the streetwise Irish, who took almost every try scoring opportunity they were given. Their task was ultimately made impossible by repeated indiscipline and two yellow cards, during which Ireland scored 3 of their tries. 

If Scotland had hoped to pick up where they left off against France last week they were in for a rude awakening. The Irish forwards came out like rabies infested greyhounds and dominated both territory and possession for the first 20 minutes of the game through a combination of effective breakdown work and a liberal interpretation of the rucking laws. For all the efforts of Barclay and Hardie, they couldn’t get a sniff.

Within minutes Jonny Sexton had Ireland 6 points up, taking over David Humphreys to become Ireland’s second highest ever points scorer. Despite being starved of the ball, captain Greig Laidlaw struck back in the 14th minute to reduce the deficit and bring his personal points tally up to 500 for Scotland.

Following another Sexton penalty it looked like Scotland were going to have a very long day of it, that is until Stuart Hogg took the ball on the halfway line and ran an incredible angle through the Irish defence leaving players like Keith Earls for dead.

Hogg’s effort has to be a try of the tournament nominee

For anyone who has doubted Hogg’s finishing ability or sheer acceleration, this will have been a good reminder why he’s probably the most on-form player of the championship.

Ireland then went on the attack and proceeded to hammer the Scottish line through bruising run after bruising run. John Barclay was repeatedly pinged by referee Pascal Gauzere for his work on the ground and eventually the Frenchman lost his patience and sent the Scarlets flanker to the bin.

Many will feel this was a harsh decision

Ireland instantly took advantage of their man advantage through a savvy diving try from South African project player CJ Stander. Sexton then converted to make it 16-10 after 28 minutes.

Scotland desperately needed to keep Ireland shackled in order to limit any more damage during the remaining sin bin time, but instead Duncan Weir kicked the restart out on the full.

From the proceeding scrum Ireland struggled to make any headway and when Sexton chipped to the corner it looked like it’d would be easily shepherded by Hogg. Unfortunately there seemed to be a miscommunication between the fullback and Tommy Seymour which led to the ball ricocheting between the two and Keith Earls pouncing on the loose ball to score a gimme try.

Six minutes into the sin bin and Scotland had conceded two tries. They say, on average, a yellow is worth 10 points. For Ireland it was worth 12.

With Barclay back on, the next ten minutes saw Scotland hammer the Irish defence with little purchase. Eventually Laidlaw eked out a penalty on the stroke of half time to keep Scotland just in sight.

[small_title title=”Half Time Score: Ireland 21-13 Scotland”]


Despite a strong and probing start to the 2nd half from Scotland, the Irish came back and started to exert pressure through a series of barnstorming runs and clever tactical kicking. Camped on the Scotland line it looked like they’d been effectively repelled until Connor Murray once again exposed the weak defence around the ruck to score.

Ireland 28-13 Scotland.

Following the try and conversion Vern Cotter made a double substitution bringing on Stuart McInally for Ross Ford and Josh Strauss for John Hardie, presumably to add some ballast to the struggling defence.

Shortly after Scotland got their first put in to the scrum after 53 minutes, which had to be some kind of record (we’ll check and get back to you).

With the game looking all but gone, Scotland threw caution to the wind and started to attack from all quarters. Their accuracy let them down in multiphase play, but eventually some strong runs from Tim Visser and the ever improving Duncan Taylor took them up to the Irish line. Some quick passing then stretched the defence and put big Richie Gray through under the posts for his 3rd Scotland try.


Ireland 28-20 Scotland

From the following restart Scotland once again refused to kick the ball and attempted to attack from deep inside their 22, with limited success. And it was as they worked their way slowly towards the Ireland half that Alex Dunbar over-zealously cleared Jonny Sexton out of the ruck in a judo style move.

Most would agree that it was a penalty, but some pantomime acting from the Irish fly half helped inspire the referee to produce another yellow card – much to the chagrin of the Scotland players and fans.

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The fact that he appeared to feign a head injury will come as quite a surprise when you consider the furore around the comments of Eddie Jones just a couple of weeks before.

From the penalty Ireland kicked to the corner and within a minute of the sin bin the unlikeliest of try scorers, Devon Toner, went over under the posts to put a Scotland victory all but out of sight at 35-20.

Despite being a man down Scotland bravely continued to try and and attack from anywhere, but found very little purchase. It wasn’t until Sexton, who had miraculously recovered from his head blow, was himself sent to the sinbin that Scotland were able to break through. This came from recently returned Dunbar who, thanks to some quick hands, strolled over on the right wing.

Greig Laidlaw, aware that time was running out, took the conversion quickly and missed.

Score at 77 minutes: Ireland 35-25 Scotland

With hope fading a dodgy knock on from Josh Strauss handed Ireland back the ball and brought an end to the game and any hopes of a 3rd successive 6 Nations victory.

[small_title title=”Final Score: Ireland 35-25 Scotland”]

[blockquote author=”Vern Cotter following the match” pull=”normal”]“This team is going forward. People should see that. Even though we were ill-disciplined today we were still in it at 28-20. At crucial times of the game we need to learn to be cool and just hold the ball.”[/blockquote]

Regardless of this result, this has been Scotland’s best 6 Nations in recent memory. Not only have they refound the lost art of scoring tries, they’ve also strung together long periods of multiphase play and were within a score or two of beating every team in the tournament.

This is a young team and such signs are encouraging for the future. Finally we have a team we can really get behind and believe in.

I for one am proud as punch of the players. #AsOne

What did you think of the the result and referring decisions? Let us know in the comments below.

Credit: RBS 6 Nations

What do you think?


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  1. Can’t blame the ref, he was consistent. If we’d been on attack at all then we’d have benefited from his bullshit interpretation of the rules (in fact we did benefit from them on the very rare occasions we actually played rugby rather than kicking possession away)

  2. Should have ran the game better, Weir not a Russell or Horne – didn’t play the ref well enough, but he didn’t gain much credit – 77 minutes till the 1st yellow – worrying that Hogg gained the most yards but then 3 Irishmen before McInally who was a replacement – just.need to keep the improvements going

  3. Having supported Scotland since I was a nipper, there really is little point any more. It’s not just indiscipline, it’s poor decisions and the constant spilling and giving the turnovers away. Why can Scotland (virtually) beat Australia at the world cup and then be so dismal in the Six Nations? There is a serious case for replacing the Six Nations with a Four Nations and perhaps Scotland might win a tier two (or three) group, but only if it has Andorra, Iceland and Monaco in it. As for Vern Cotter? Can’t see him sticking around.

  4. I like Weir, but honestly he had a shocker. I love the passion in the team but to consistently win at this level you need to play the Referee. We were a little naive and opened ourselves up to losing a lot of 50/50 decisions.

    BUT, hugely encouraging 6 Nations. We have speed; skills and the ability to hurt teams.

    And we’re a great team to watch – really attractive rugby.

    We just need to focus on polishing a few rough edges.

    • Sexton gets cheap shots every single game this year and it was most certainly a yellow at very least . Can you explain how he cheated? He said after on tv he was frustrated at cheap shot again this week hence the dramatics. But come on cheating?

  5. I’ve been reading the thread – With respect guys. DO NOT fall back into a trough of despond. Remember the good things of the season and build upon them. Scotland are well and truly back. As an Englishman I am pleased to see you back. Do not dwell on the negative – build on the positive. The negativity here is very short-sighted after the last two weeks – Now! PULL YOURSELVES TOGETHER!! 🙂

  6. Ireland cheating costs Scotland a fair shot at winning. Feigning injury, punches off the ball, offside, playing the 9, crossing, blocking chasers for likely tries, multiple penalties in their own 5 metre zone, but by god they can con a ref.

  7. Another incompetent refereeing performance. No competing on the floor allowed at all for the first 35 mins, shocking yellow for Barclay, no action until very late in the day against repeated Irish infringing. There needs to be some serious review of the standard of test refereeing. Nigel Owens is the benchmark they should be measured against

    The reason for the numerous scuffles as the game went on was the inability of the ref to actually control the infringements properly

  8. Poor refereeing, that spoiled the game for me but Scotland do need to become more disciplined. I think it would have been better if Strauss and Horne had started. However this is a good team and I’m sure they will do well next year.

  9. Indiscipline has plagued Scotland for few years now n u cannot have sinners against these sides however having seen last three games and Wales defeat plus World Cup I’m definitely buoyed by where we are going! Confidence is huge and we are growing once more

  10. I used to look forward matches but this team as talented as they are not nice men Hogg goes to the 14 up after a slam tackle to be a hood sport offers his hand to help him up instead of the usual taking the hand an put on back the 14 knocks his hand way! That’s not sporting from then on they went down in my estimations. Even some of the fans usually good banter saying our player tried to strangle there golden boy Sexton!! How horrid. U won why be bitter an make accusations?! Shockin

  11. Sort out our discipline, decision making & cut out the basic core skill mistakes, then we can start blaming refs etc. Scotland played with heart and pride but that stands for nothing if we can’t get the basics right and find a bit of consistency throughout the 80 mins.

  12. Ireland and Scotland played the best game of the tournament today. Scotland lost due to them being unable to play the ref but that’s Scotlands fault. Lessons learned and all taken in to next year’s 6 nations.

  13. It is far easier for Laidlaw to blame indiscipline, rather than blame the true culprit, the referee. Greig queried many of the referee’s bad decisions and these probably added to the Scottish players’ frustrations.
    Barclay should not have been penalised in the ruck. That gave Ireland the three point lead. Barclay then got a yellow card for a first offence, which the referee misinterpreted as a second offence. Scotland played a quarter of the match with fourteen players. Whereas, when Ireland were offending regularly, one of their players was given a yellow card, and that was only a token award, since there was only five minutes to go.
    The referee demonstrated his complete uselessness,when making two bad decisions in a row, in the 73rd minute. First Barclay kicked the ball forward, but as he chased it, Trimble barged him from the side and floored him. Ten yards further on Hogg kicked the ball and in pursuit was grappled and thrown to the floor by Henshaw. The referee was not looking at the first offence, but was clearly eyeing the second one.
    The linesman, Craig Joubert, saw the first offence, but seemed to ignore it. Fortunately, as he was stepping over Barclay’s leg a holdall carrying Scottish assistant was running alongside Joubert, protesting action, and that prompted Joubert to raise his flag,
    The least I expected was two yellow cards awarded to the Irish offenders, and a penalty, from where Hogg was fouled, or perhaps the two yellow cards and a penalty try. Instead the referee awarded a penalty from where the first offence took place.
    Should these cheating officials be treated with respect! Certainly not! Scotland should insist that they never officiate one of our matches again, There is television evidence to backup that stance.
    All three of the Scottish teams are haunted by erroneous decisions made by refereeing officials. The sooner we make it clear that Scotland will not tolerate it, the better.
    The lucky Irish! No! The cheated brave Scots and the brave Scottish holdall carrying assistant!

  14. I dont like critisising referees but the clearing of (cry baby Sexton) by Alex Dunbar was built up on the frustration of the french referee continually penalising the Scots and turning a blind eye to the Irish infringments around the breakdown. One of the most bias refereeing performances I have even witnessed and shameful for the game of rugby.

  15. Further to my comments about cheating refereeing officials, I note with interest that the Newport Gwent Dragon boss, Lyn Jones is asking for a refereeing review for the Guinness Pro 12 League. As most of you will know Edinburgh and Glasgow compete in that league too.
    Lyn Jones is suggesting that biased officialdom is robbing his team of points. I can tell him compared to the rough justice that is handed out to both the Scottish clubs, he has nothing to worry about.
    One thing is for sure, refereeing officials will think twice, before penalising NGD. I think Edinburgh and Glasgow would be foolish if not supporting his action. I think Scotland also, should take a similar stance at international level. If they do nothing, then nothing is gained.
    After all, they are participating in a professional sport, which requires professional standards. Not questioning refereeing officialdom is just snobbishness and amateurism from the past.
    The rules of the game have become even more complex, but the one thing that our players do require, in retaining their confidence, is that these rules be applied consistently. They cannot play relaxed flowing rugby, without knowing what the refereeing response will be to their actions. Do something, before our players hearts are broken!

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