I went along to the Scotland vs Ireland U20 international last night at Caledonian Stadium in Inverness. Despite sunny patches throughout the day, the weather really turned on the crowd and what was blustery at the start turned into a bit of a downpour just before halftime that sent the crowd scurrying for cover and flattened the atmosphere considerably.
Initial pressure from Scotland should have seen a certain try had the referee allowed the advantage from a knock on instead of forcing a scrum (which the Scots then lost). After that Ireland kept possession well and eventually forced their way over the line. In the wet and windy conditions Scotland – while clever enough not to attempt any kicks at goal (Ireland missed several) – kicked too much ball aimlessly skywards when they needed the ball to score.
After conceding a penalty try in the scrum, Scotland went in 0-12 at half time and a much more controlled second half only saw one more penalty for Ireland but by then the lead had been built and proved too much to chase in the conditions. Good to see a decent game of rugby up in Inverness and a good crowd turned out, although possibly fewer than last year.
Scotland’s number 8 James Tyas was very impressive in a competitive back row tussle in the way that Stuart McInally was in the same team last season, and playing in Bath Tyas may get the chance to understudy Simon Taylor in due course. The 9-10 axis worked well off decent quick ball too for Scotland, but ultimately too much kicking in the backs suggested a lack of ideas as to how to break down the Irish defence that solidified as the game wore on.