Scotland threatening to lay waste to a season and a head coach's job
“This team is progressing at the moment but let’s not get too carried away with ourselves.”
Johnson and Ryan have brought a clarity to their game plan. The glaringly obvious (potential) weakness in both teams tomorrow goes by the same name. Jackson. If Scotland’s highly-skilled yet erratic outhalf, Ruaridh Jackson, buckles under the strain, scrumhalf Greig Laidlaw will have to carry the playmaking burden.
That’s what makes this encounter so fascinating. The defeated will be cast into ruin, the victors gaining a valuable momentum that, in Scotland’s case, will drive them upwards after years languishing in the doldrums. Jeffrey expects some brutal exchanges.
“This match is a really defining match in both Ireland and Scotland’s Six Nations championship. I expect a lot of blood and snotters and hair flying around on Sunday.”
Scotland have the capability to win just maybe not the mental strength, when compared to Ireland, to pull it off.
On the record: Kidney v Scotland
Ireland 32-14 Scotland
In the absence of Brian O’Driscoll and Paul O’Connell, Rory Best captained Ireland to a comfortable victory, with the Ulster hooker crossing for the first of four tries.
IRELAND: R Kearney; T Bowe, K Earls, G D’Arcy, A Trimble; J Sexton, E Reddan; C Healy, R Best (capt), M Ross; D O’Callaghan, D Ryan; S Ferris, P O’Mahony, J Heaslip.
Ireland 21-18 Scotland
History may register this as the dying kick of the Ronan O’Gara era. Seán O’Brien excelled, but it was the Munster outhalf’s individual try that put Ireland into a seemingly unassailable 21-9 lead. They managed to survive a late Scottish onslaught.
IRELAND: L Fitzgerald; T Bowe, B O’Driscoll (capt), G D’Arcy, K Earls; R O’Gara, E Reddan; C Healy, R Best, M Ross; D O’Callaghan, P O’Connell; S O’Brien, D Wallace, J Heaslip.
Ireland 20-23 Scotland
A Triple Crown lost, a numb feeling permeated GAA headquarters after Dan Parks’ last-gasp penalty sailed over to ensure a rare recent triumph for Scotland
IRELAND: G Murphy; T Bowe, B O’Driscoll (capt), G D’Arcy, K Earls; J Sexton, T O’Leary; C Healy, R Best, J Hayes; D O’Callaghan, P O’Connell; S Ferris, D Wallace, J Heaslip.
Ireland 22-15 Scotland
Remains a high water-mark of Kidney’s time as Irish coach. The decision to drop Tomás O’Leary and Jamie Heaslip proved, eh, a masterstroke as Heaslip replaced the injured Denis Leamy to gallop over for the game’s only try after Peter Stringer’s clever break. The Grand Slam followed sevens days later.
IRELAND: R Kearney; T Bowe, B O’Driscoll (capt), G D’Arcy, L Fitzgerald; R O’Gara, P Stringer; M Horan, R Best, J Hayes; D O’Callaghan, P O’Connell; S Ferris, D Wallace, D Leamy.