Scotland v Ireland: Six Nations 2021, Match Preview pt II – head to heads

This game will take place 539 days after these sides met at RWC 2019 and 937 days before they will clash at RWC 2023. Both sides stand at a bit of a crossroads with decisions likely to have to be made relatively soon on whether to push forward younger candidates in some key positions. Scotland have three over 30s in their starting line-up with another four on the bench. The position that stands out is tighthead prop and competition for the banned Zander Fagerson.

Ireland have five over 30s in their starting XV with another two on the bench. The big question has to be where do they go at stand off when Johnny Sexton calls it quits?

Tale of the tape

BACKS
57   Tries   68
96kg
   Average weight   92kg
272   Total caps   293
28.8   Average age   29.4

FORWARDS
887kg   Pack weight   903kg
20
   Tries   40
224   Total caps  345
27.5   Average age   28.9

SUBSTITUTES
139   Total caps   225
19
   Tries   31
28.5   Average age   26.7

4 changes to Scotland starting XV from last Test (v Wales)

  • 14 – Maitland for Graham [+]
  • 12 – Johnson for Lang [+]
  • 3 – Nel for Z. Fagerson [-]
  • 6 – Ritchie for Thomson [+]

SCOTLAND
15 Stuart Hogg (c)
14 Sean Maitland
13 Chris Harris
12 Sam Johnson
11 Duhan van der Merwe
10 Finn Russell
9 Ali Price

1 Rory Sutherland
2 George Turner
3 Willem Nel
4 Scott Cummings
5 Jonny Gray
6 Jamie Ritchie
7 Hamish Watson
8 Matt Fagerson

16 David Cherry
17 Jamie Bhatti
18 Simon Berghan
19 Grant Gilchrist
20 Nick Haining
21 Scott Steele
22 Huw Jones
23 Darcy Graham

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ADV Scotland
EVEN
ADV Ireland
ADV Ireland
ADV Scotland
EVEN
ADV Scotland

ADV Scotland
EVEN
ADV Ireland
EVEN
ADV Ireland
EVEN
ADV Scotland
ADV Ireland

ADV Ireland
ADV Ireland
ADV Ireland
EVEN
ADV Ireland
ADV Ireland
ADV Scotland
EVEN

IRELAND
15 Hugo Keenan
14 Keith Earls
13 Garry Ringrose
12 Robbie Henshaw
11 James Lowe
10 Johnny Sexton (c)
9 J Gibson-Park

1 Cian Healy
2 Rob Herring
3 Tadhg Furlong
4 Iain Henderson
5 James Ryan
6 Tadhg Beirne
7 Will Connors
8 CJ Stander

16 Ronan Kelleher
17 Dave Kilcoyne
18 Andrew Porter
19 Ryan Baird
20 Jack Conan
21 Conor Murray
22 Billy Burns
23 Jordan Larmour


Overall

Backs – advantage Scotland

It might seem a little off to give Scotland the advantage over an Irish backline containing three British and Irish Lions. Scotland do have three Lions of their own though and Ali Price, Duhan van der Merwe and even Chris Harris have been drawing some Lions’ heat as the jostling for places on the 2021 tour that doesn’t tour reaches a crucial stage.

It is the stand offs who will be central to this battle – and much of the Lions’ chat. Finn Russell certainly seems to be getting much more respect from Irish quarters after maturing during his time with Racing 92. He’s still to really explode into this tournament though. A first ever head to head win over Johnny Sexton would go a long way to cementing The Muscle’s place at the head of the queue for the famous red 10 jersey his head coach wore 24 years ago.

Forwards – advantage Ireland

Across Scotland’s recent struggles against Ireland it has really been up front that the battle has been won – or more frequently in the dark blues’ case, lost. The Irish pack seem to have had their Scottish counterparts’ number for a good few years now. The best performance by the Scots came in Dublin last year when the forwards’ controlled ferocity rocked their hosts. It still wasn’t quite enough to come away with the win though.

The core of Scotland’s pack is the same as that game in the 2020 Six Nations. They know what executing that way felt like and how much work it took. That level of effort to overcome Irish dominance up front, allied to a more incisive performance from the Scottish backs, is possibly the only route to victory on Sunday.

Subs – advantage Ireland

Scotland’s depth has improved markedly in recent times but while the starting XV remains well covered, absences have started to bite somewhat when it comes to the bench. A replacement line-up of McInally, Kebble, Nel, R. Gray, Thomson, G. Horne, Hastings and H. Jones would have the advantage over the Irish selection.

As it stands, Gregor Townsend is likely to want as many of his starters as possible to go deep into the game while the Irish might be more willing to keep a regular supply of fresh legs trotting on to the pitch throughout the second half.

Miscellany

–  This will be Gregor Townsend’s 43rd match in charge of Scotland – tying Ian McGeechan’s record for a single spell as head coach. Toony has 13 wins against Tier 1 teams – the most of any Scotland coach in the pro era. Ireland are the only Six Nations’ side that Gregor has yet to manage a victory against.

Scott Cummings plays in his 20th consecutive Test for Scotland. The big lock has been ever present since his debut against France in August 2019 and this will be his 12th start in a row.

– Jamie Bhatti’s last appearance in the Six Nations was two years ago in this same fixture when he also came off the bench against Ireland at Murrayfield.

– And finally, the stat that gets dragged out every time a Scottish side takes on Johnny Sexton – and will continue to do so until one of them finally beats him! Sexton has played 35 times against Scotland, Edinburgh and Glasgow and has lost on just 6 occasions. It’s been more than a decade since the stand off tasted defeat against a Scottish side in a competitive game and he’s on a 17-match winning streak against those teams.


Missed part 1? Check it out here. Featuring the previous history between these two sides; Ireland scouting report; and Scotland’s record with M. Poite as referee.

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When he's not watching Glasgow, Scotland (and even Edinburgh) Kevin can usually be found with his head in a spreadsheet working out the most obscure Scottish rugby related stat he can put out on Twitter.
Follow Kevin on twitter @topofthemoonGW

82 comments on “Scotland v Ireland: Six Nations 2021, Match Preview pt II – head to heads

  1. TeamCam on

    Maitland is better than Earls.
    Russell is better than Sexton.
    Gray is better than Ryan.
    Furlong hasn’t had a good performance since the last Lions tour.

    • Captain Chaos on

      why do you say that ? When was the last time Maitland played in a club match, at least Earls is still getting a game ! I am ok with the published Head to Heads.

      • TeamCam on

        Maitland played last weekend. Not that that is relevant. He is better in every facet of the game than Earls, that’s why I say it.

        That said, Ireland will win, sadly.

      • Scrummo on

        On current form I’d back that claim. I don’t think Ryan has hit the heights of previous appearances.

        Gray has started to add menace to his previously lumbering carries and previously numerous but not dominant tackling.

        As ever though you still feel 7/10 from Ryan and Henderson matches 8/10 from Gray and Cummings (and the same for all our pack) so we need our boys playing at their absolute top end. I don’t know why this is, individually they’re not that much different. Must be a mentality thing.

      • dwest on

        I would say your wrong TeamCam, Earls is better than Maitland in the “get under your skin, gobby little [email protected]%*e” category :). It’s been said many times before that Maitland is a Rolls Royce of a player – effortlessly good but sometimes I think he could have done with a bit more of an edge. Bit like Johnny Gray but Gray does seem to have got that bit more edge now as Scrummo notes and also has time on his side. Here’s hoping …

  2. Not science on

    You got to hope the team is ready to go to war this afternoon. Just rewatched the O’Sullivan interview – the Irish contempt is so palpable, forget about English arrogance, the Scots are just a joke to the them. Lose today and it will be more of the same – a shrug and grin from BOD and POC, it was only Scotland. 17 losses in 21 games, pants pulled down at the World Cup. Glasgow rolled over and tummy tickled at Celtic Park, Edinburgh lay down prostrate for Ulster. It’s embarrassing and Townsend can’t buy a win. Too many of this Irish team stand in the way at Lions level, Ryan, Sexton, Furlong, Beirne, Murray. Another loss and its vying for the wooden spoon. Same old Scotland.

    • Toony Tunes on

      Stay positive. This is the best team we have, very few injuries, Toony has the best choice he has ever had, at home with the large Murrayfield dead ball area to exploit. Stay Positive.

      On the other hand Gilchrist on the bench, no one seen that coming, the Irish must be mystified as much as we are.

    • Scrummo on

      I think your first sentence is bang on. Each and every one of our forwards needs to be bang on the money today.

      100% measured agression, nothing passive but no stupid penalties. No weak tackles, no passive carries, no soft clear outs

      It’s a huge ask for 80 minutes but this group of players is the best we’ve had for some time. If the Irish get any sort of edge up front they will suffocate us.

  3. csc on

    In the pre-match interviews GT said that they lost to Wales due to back to back penalties. It would have been more accurate to say that Scotland lost due to their inability to dominate the Welsh forwards. Penalties in rugby are now little more than a lottery.

  4. Neil on

    Scoreline about accurate on performance, we have been second best. Nice to have some luck with our try at least.

  5. Not science on

    All to play for. Second half has to be won. What has gone wrong with the lineout. They’re for the taking.

  6. FF on

    Half time: what a poor game and shocking first quarter. Scotland’s line out disintegrated, poor discipline, red barely allowing competition at the ruck. Ireland no more ambition than to punt it in the air or drive over from a 5m line out. Our try comedy time.

    Game is there for either side to grab a hold of but Scotland have to maintain possession and stop giving it away so cheaply. Expect Ireland will grind us down and win and unsatisfying game.

  7. Fraser on

    Scotland not looking in it at half time. Ireland in control, too many penalties and Ireland don’t have to worry about giving them away as they will just get the ball back on our lineout. Handling has been very poor considering the standard earlier in the tournament.

    Can’t see us winning this unless something major changes and our bench is much weaker than Ireland’s.

    Plus points – Russell, Hogg, Watson all looking good.

  8. Not science on

    Tbh the Irish have been good. GP has moved things fast. I think Scotland have done well to hang in on defence, but errors have crept in at vital moments on set piece going forward. This game is still to be won.

    • FF on

      I thought Ireland were awful and we were worse.

      It’s a poor 6N for us unfortunately, Ireland were there to be taken and our pack could not step up

      • FF on

        That’s why Ireland are so disrespectful to Scottish rugby, they can play v poorly and win without too much bother.

      • Not science on

        It’s just so self inflicted. I get when a team is struggling it will lose the marginals. But jeesus we do all the little things wrong. The coach and set up has to take responsibility

      • Not science on

        It’s just so self inflicted. I get when a team is struggling it will lose the marginals. But jeesus we do all the little things wrong. The coach and set up has to take responsibility

  9. Neil on

    Can not believe i am saying this but i would chuck in Gilchrist for lineout height.

    Seems to be a mixture of both throwing and the jumper, Ireland have done their homework.

  10. TEE CEE on

    Still a bit worried about the ref, Irish straight in side of rucks for clear out right in front of him and no pen, not sure about the rules but earl slid 10 ft along the ground to tackle Duhan and got a 3 point penalty, thought if you are off your feet you are out the game

      • Fraser on

        Couple of poor decisions from the ref leading to the Irish try there – No clear release for the first penalty and should have used the tmo- I saw the ball on the ground 10 seconds afterwards is not a good reason to give a try when the replay clearly showed it was held up .

  11. RuggersB on

    Same old….GT doesn’t know how to win these types of grind rugby matches.
    Hogg Watson Russell will get selected for lions squad and nobody else…imo fair.
    Still haven’t progressed enough to seriously challenge for 6N.

    sorry ..scratch Russell….wtf!

    Hugh Jones …fantastic

    • Fraser on

      Can’t blame Townsend for everything the players are doing wrong – it’s not the tactics, it’s the basic skills and discipline that are letting us down.

      Russell had to push that kick, we are chasing the game and our lineout is poor. It’s not the end of the world…

      • Referendum on

        Agreed Fraser…..horrendous basics performance worst I’ve seen from Scotland in that area…

      • RuggersB on

        Jones showed exactly what Harris cannot do.. he can. Superb attacking player.
        Surely gets a start next match.

        Tough for Scotland today…made mistakes…but also stood up very well in second half…similar to Wales match.

        We are closer …but not quite there yet again.

      • Munro on

        Jones plays every day of the week over Harris. Get a grip Townesnd FFS. How much more proof do you need. Harris makes zilch clean breaks in how many games – Jones scores a belter with first touch of the ball.

  12. Fraser on

    Fair result – Ireland were the better team. Our lineout in the first half killed us.
    Did well to come back but too many basic errors.

    Quite a few players did themselves well for lions selection – Hogg still in pole for 15, Russell, Watson, Ritchie very close and a few others got every chance of touring.

    Hogg is a good backup 10, would have no problem continuing like that.

    Huw Jones deserves to start against Italy.

  13. csc on

    Tactical nativity and questionable selections lost that match. Everyone but GT knew how the Irish forwards would play it seems.

  14. Not science on

    Time for GT to go. That is it, last chance. What more does it take. Terrible World Cup, terrible Autumn Cup, Terrible 6 Nations.

    Ali Price clueless – error on penalty and multiple wrong kicking decisions at the end.

    We could have had SHC, Duncan Taylor, Huw Hones and Sam Skinner playing there. Tell me that wouldn’t have made a difference.

    Need a re think. Cockerill or a even a wild card like Rob Baxter.

    Hogg is not a 10.

    No Lions for Scotland. Given Gatland every excuse.

    Goodnight

    • Stripe on

      NS,

      Hogg and Watson should be nailed-on for the Lions. Finn too, but Gatland’s conservatism might put the kibosh on his chances.

      Price is like Harris – Toony keeps picking him even though better is available. Don’t ask me why.

      Taylor was a fine player but time and injuries have caught up with him. Sam Johnson did okay today and would have looked a lot better with Jones outside him.

      Skinner should have been in the squad.

      I’d rather see the back of Toony but that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

      • Not science on

        Russell, Gray, Watson, Hogg should be nailed on for the Lions.

        On form, Ritchie, Duhan, Jones and Maitland should be going too. Maybe even a backup tight head and McInally too.

        But GT and Scottish rugby has let them down. They’ve not fixed problems we’ve had for years – the absolute basics (lineout and restarts), the midfield (no lessons from the WC) and worse than that they’ve been clueless, panicked and without motivation to play as a team. Let’s be honest – we’ve had a hell of a cycle, a revolt against awful leadership and now been handed home losses from terrible Wales and Ireland teams.

        Time to look past the Lions and hope things can be salvaged for this WC cycle.

        Moneybags Dodson should be acting immediately and wielding the axe.

      • RuggersB on

        Why should russell be ‘nailed on’ for the lions?…on the losing side yet again against old man Sexton…and made a series of crucial mistakes…yet again
        Russell is a frustrating player….I get excited at the prospect of what he can do in a game ..only to be hugely underwhelmed by his brain fart mistakes. He is destined to be one of those players with an outstanding highlights reel on Youtube…only to achieve no real success at test level.
        I think there is little chance of Gatland selecting him as starting 10. He’ll be 3rd choice mid week 10 at best.
        Hogg nailed on at 15. Watson in with a good chance of getting a chance as a starter…but not a certainty.
        At best we’ll have 3 players in with a shout.

      • Not science on

        Honestly I’ve watched as much of him at Racing as it’s possible to do with streaming and the guy wins matches it’s that simple. His mistakes rarely outweigh the positives. Take the European cup, not only did he get them there single-handedly, but he made their only tries in the final. In the Barbarians team he orchestrated victory against England and back at Glasgow he showed up Dan Carter. I get the frustration with Scotland but reality is we were a better team with him on the park today – he is the best running, passing, kicking fly half in international rugby bar none – shame he can’t place kick for toffee at the moment.

  15. tasmanian tiger on

    Same old same old . Absolutely woeful forward performance, Watson excepted. Townsend does not have a clue how to beat streetwise, physical, grinding teams like Ireland. Again he gets away with one good performance every 6 Nations. Apparently good enough to keep him in a job. Same old culprits making the same mistakes ala Ali Price. Its utterly depressing when you can write the script for a match and watch it unfold as predicted.

    • Fraser on

      Ritchie and Cummings were also good.

      I agree Price has been poor (and have never rated him), but with Horne injured, the next choices are either not really good enough (Pyrgos) or very inexperienced at this level.

  16. TEE CEE on

    Can’t see many of that lot in a lions shirt.
    If Ali Price was half the player he thinks he is he would be world class,how many times has he been charged down this year.He had a man behind him with a siege gun boot but he chooses not to pass.As for Russell I’m getting a wee bit fed up of his enigmatic smile when he makes a mistake , don’t tell me that’s just his manner,it just shows a lack of passion.

    • RuggersB on

      A bit harsh on the forwards…I thought with the exception of the lineout there wasn’t much between them.
      We have better scrum halves than Ali Price… Id rather Steele, Horne, SHC or Dobie. All offer more.

      Is GT the coach to take us forward?
      I dunno….some game parts look great and other parts look terrible…which is kinda how he was as a player.

      Please fix that lineout!!!!…that was absolutely honking. Can Turner even throw a ball?…actually McInally and Brown just as bad….Dave Cherry looked more reliable.
      Was that the best side we could have had out there??..even with injuries.

      The positive was that we didn’t fold…where our previous sides v Ireland have.

    • csc on

      Price has improved lots, but you would think that after being charged down twice against England he would be aware that is not the best option in your own 22. In his defense, he is just following orders.

      • Rob on

        He chose to kick from the ruck rather than quick ball to Hogg to boot it down field when he was charged down ….. yet again!

  17. Sotonsaltire on

    Ireland are ranked rotten. So are Wales. And England are terrible. Yet we get turned over by two of them at home and squeak past one of them who we caught cold. We aren’t getting any better. We’ll get beat in Paris and flatter to deceive against Italy.

    I for one am nearing the end of bothering with the SRU run club teams and the Scottish side. After 5 mins today it was clear to me we weren’t winning. We can’t play referees, we allow teams to play to their strength against us. Other countries get their script together and compete. We don’t.

    ‘Frustrating’ says Hogg. Sure is.

  18. Neil on

    Issues for me.

    1. LINEOUT!!! (Mixture or thrower and jumper, not enough height)
    2. Discipline
    3. The ref and TMO
    4. Duhan anonymous, needs to work on his spacing and make more of an effort to go inside.
    5. Sam Johnson/Chris Harris/gameplan? Harris does what he does well. Not getting to ball into the wingers hands in space though, wasting dangerous back three in some aspects. Not sure Jones in the answer either though.

    • RuggersB on

      Duhan has some test level stuff to learn….but he is a huge threat against any team.

      12 Redpath and 13 Jones hands down the best centre pairing we have…by a country mile.

      Johnson/Lang meh…Harris meh..should be back ups.

  19. Sam Laycock on

    We had to be spot on with our clear-outs today and we weren’t. They’re not working in tandem to target the ball or to clear out the ball. it’s not enough to sending one big guy into contact or one big guy into challenge you have to work in two and three’s and thats what ireland do so well.
    Otherwise the Lineout was a disaster.

    Combine those two and the pressure is to much over 80 minutes and you make mistakes.

    I am unhappy with the penalties Poite gave for infringements which didn’t effect the play. two or three times we got penalised for holding on when the turnover had already been completed. Surely thats just play on. Also the offside against Price when he’s gone to early and then stopped and just gone back and he then gets penalised.

  20. Stripe on

    Random thoughts:

    Lineout was garbage.

    We missed Zander Fagerson. Ditto Rambo (in the loose).

    We didn’t compete well under the high ball.

    Price needs his backside kicked. His contribution to the Irish points score was only bettered by Sexton and the ref.

    Watson and Hogg were excellent, and Shug Jones showed us (and, hopefully, Toony) what we’ve been missing in midfield. Chris Harris tries hard but just isn’t a threat in attack.

    Another mixed bag from Finn. Mind you, he didn’t have a lot to work with for much of the march.

    • RuggersB on

      ‘Another mixed bag from Finn. Mind you, he didn’t have a lot to work with for much of the match’

      perhaps…but he butchered what he did have (yet again)…and you just cant do that at test level…especially if the opposition has more possession.

      I have more hope that Thompson and Chamberlain will be a better balanced 10.

      • RuggersB on

        his all round kicking is very inconsistent….produced crucial errors ..failing to find touch at crucial time, incorrect times to kick …flaffed fairly easy pen kick..which would have got us ahead..honestly.. every game crucial mistakes followed by shoulder shrug and dennis the menace schoolboy grin. could just imagine gatland watching that and thinking ‘hell no’.

  21. Not science on

    Someone has to say – Huw Jones is clearly the best, most powerful Scotland runner in a pretty awesome backline. Why we not found room for him in the last 3 years it’s absurd. Taylor meanwhile is the most reliable centre for Saracens and took them to an EPC semi. You think you’d try them together. You’d think

    • RuggersB on

      Agreed. GT seems to have resorted to stubborn streak in continually selecting Harris Johnson and Lang

  22. Grumpy clunt on

    Team for Italy and France.

    Stuart Hogg – Sean Maitland – Huw Jones – Duncan Taylor – Darcy Graham – Finn Russell – Scott Steele – Matt Fagerson – Hamish Watson – Sam Skinner – Richie Gray – Jonny Gray – Willem Nel – George Turner – Rory Sutherland

    Duhan Van der Merwe – Chris Harris – Jamie Dobie – Jamie Ritchie – Grant Gilchrist – Simon Berghan – David Cherry – Oli Kebble

    Assuming Cummings is injured.

    • RuggersB on

      Actually…I thought Bhatti looked really good when he came on. We have an abundance of really good LH…if only we had that at TH also.

    • FF on

      Assume Russell failed an HIA so won’t have time to complete RTP protocols within 6 days.

      So VDW or Hogg starting next week.

  23. Not science on

    On form and with injuries the best team we have is this:

    Nel/Fagerson, McInnaly/Turner, Kebble
    Gray, Gray
    Ritchie, Watson, Fagerson
    SHC/Horne, Russell, Duhan
    Taylor/Redpath, Jones, Maitland/Graham Hogg

    It’s not difficult.

    The interview with GT at the start was so weak. He was so butt hurt. Interviewer asked him what had to be done and he stammered and acted clueless. FFS. Directionless, it doesn’t take much to tell your team to step up, keep things simple and be aggressive.

    Utterly useless from a bunch of morons. So tiring

    • Johnny b on

      Och give over. Ireland are a formidable team and considering the lineout was just a total mess it was incredible to recover a 14pt deficit and win the try count.

      How on earth did we do that?

      Sort the lineout and we might do something.

      • Not science on

        We’ve had weeks to sort the lineout. And the restart. Weeks. And so many lessons from past performances. We’ve got JG and RG, we had Gilchrist allegedly picked for the lineout alone. Yet we couldn’t throw to hand. What have we been doing every day in training? Every day?

  24. Johnny b on

    Lineouts.

    Haven’t seen the stats but I don’t recall us actually winning one.

    Bottom line, they beat us for power, as they always do, but we scrapped well and more or less contained it and when the game loosened up we stretched them.

    If we’d won our lineouts we would’ve put the kind of move that saw Huw Jones score in every single time and it probably would’ve been enough.

    Unbelievably we won the try count 3-2.

    Can you believe that?

    Very frustrating but those who are down on the team are misguided. They fight. They recovered a 14 pt deficit then threw it away.

    • Tasmanian tiger on

      Misguided. In what way. Set aside the result are you content with that performance. The score line flatters us we were utterly woeful in the first half . Yeah we scrapped but that is a bare minimum expectation at this level. Ireland bested us in just about every department, other than the Jones try which was the one moment of international class we showed in 80 minutes of rugby.

      • Johnny b on

        The score line doesn’t flatter us. We turned Ireland over or forced errors a lot.
        We lost the power game, just, but stretched them in the loose.

        We were marmalised off 1st phase.

        Honestly thought we’d done it after we fought back.

        Not winning the lineout was massive.

  25. john on

    Harris is no bad but Huw Jones showed what he can’t do.
    I’ve said the Jones/Harris thing consistently but weeeeing in the wind re GTs stubborn streak (RuggersB).
    Matt Fagerson has played well but he hasn’t got Haining’s (or Miller’s) bullocking physicality or Thompson’s (or Wilson’s) ability in the line out.
    The line out – Toolis is our go to guy but he’s not chosen, Turner has done well before today but has had a nightmare today.

    Fed up (& still haven’t changed my opinion – mistake to let Vern Cotter go)

  26. Keyman12 on

    Scottish Rugby fans are so fickle. Cotter is held on a pedestal because we narrowly lost a QF to Oz. We forget that in same tournament we barely scrapped past Samoa and Japan, we also shipped over 50 points to England under Cotter in 2017. What’s frustrating is that we are still trying to figure out what type of rugby we want to play under Townsend. At least under Cotter it was consistent. We are a good team but lack the mindset to win games and have a tendency to bottle it when momentum in a game changes. Similar to France in that regard which is maybe why we have got a few results from them in recent years.

    • James on

      I’m not sure you can say we bottled it yesterday. We came back from 14 points down. They were fighting hard to the end (despite having a novice scrummie on the flank) and lost because of a mistake from Price who was probably tiring at that point. I don’t think Price had a good game but the mistake wasn’t him bottling it.

  27. JohnMc on

    When you lose nearly all your line-outs, especially attacking ones, you lose Test matches. Actually, you lose your amateur club 3rd XV matches too.

    WTF went wrong with our line-outs? Losing so much attack potential so many times.

    Thought we were dead and buried at 10-24, so it was heartening to watch a really good battle back to 24-24. I can’t really criticise Price for the half charge down and subsequent penalty that Sexton scored. The damage was done collectively long before that.

    That’s two Tests lost by an aggregate margin of four points. Close margins indeed. Difference being that we really should have thumped Wales whereas this was more of a 50/50 call game, so well done, Ireland.

    • James on

      Good balanced comment. I’d started to wonder if Ireland had gotten their hands on our line out play book. They seemed to know where the ball was going before we did!

  28. Not science on

    Just out of interest who actually thinks we are still on the right track with GT? Hands up here…

  29. Saint4805 on

    With Gatland and Schmidt out of the picture I really felt we had a great chance of turning the tide against Wales and Ireland and starting to beat them at home consistently and with the odd away win. It’s now looking like a 6N with two wins and a likely 5th place finish overseen by the second longest serving coach amongst all sx nations. So disappointing.

  30. john on

    Lack of front foot ball killed us, on the few occasions we had it we looked dangerous/scored points.

    Still fed up

  31. Andyc on

    My primary worry is the forwards more the set piece really. This is what is losing these tight games. Another thing GT seems to have blind spots and favourites,all coaches do. However it’s easier to defend if you are gatland or Schmidt and winning games. Is Taylor unfit? What is wrong with Skinner and where is Hutchinson. Surely Jones must start now as well . 6n for Scotland is Groundhog Day every year !

  32. Garry Cron on

    TBF their is a lot of daylight between the Irish provincial sides and the Scottish ones. This game was always going to be attritional so a 6-2 split on the bench would have been handy especially when wee Scot Steele was getting used on the flank. This was probably our best chance in the 6 N of breaking 3 wins but alas that’s going to be a stretch now.

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