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Three-try Ireland win at Murrayfield

27th February 2011 14:20

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Eoin Reddan celebrates Ireland v Scotland

Try time: Eoin Reddan scored Ireland's second try

Ireland scored three unanswered tries to beat Scotland 21-18 in a closely contested Six Nations game in Edinburgh on Sunday.

Jamie Heaslip, Eoin Reddan and Ronan O'Gara touched down for the visitors as Ireland kept their Six Nations title hopes alive - although based on this performance it's difficult to see them lift the championship trophy next month.

Neither side can be blamed for not trying to play attractive rugby as there was plenty of positive intent from the protagonists. Unfortunately, the harsh truth is that the skills levels failed to match their ambitions as a plethora of errors made the encounter a stop-start affair.

If anything, Scotland were once again victims of their own attacking mindset as their expansive style left them empty handed when a more pragmatic approach - especially in the closing minutes when they were desperate for territory - could have put Ireland under pressure.

Ireland were clearly the stronger side on the day but will head back to Dublin with plenty to think about as their knack for giving possession away through silly mistakes could well have cost them victory if Scotland were more clinical.

It took just six minutes for Ireland to find their way over the try-line as some slack Scottish defending around the fringes saw Heaslip cruise in for the opening score.

Scotland turned up the intensity and are were able to narrow to gap to a single point as Ireland were pressured into transgressions at the breakdown and Paterson could land two penalties.

Ireland would cross the whitewash again just before the half-hour mark after scrum five metres from the Scottish line. A huge scrum provided the platform for Heaslip to break off. Two defenders were unable to pull him down before he could off-loaded to Eoin Reddan, who burst over the line untouched.

O'Gara slotted his second conversion but Scotland continued to hang on as Paterson added his third penalty to leave the sides separated by just five points going into the break at 14-9.

The home side's hopes of victory took a major blow when loosehead prop Allan Jacobsen was sent to the bin for scrummaging in.

A minute before Jacobsen returned from the field Ireland broke through again as O'Gara found himself at the end of a massive overlap. The visiting fly-half duly added the extra points and the game looked settled at 21-9.

The Scots kept coming however as Ireland seemed content to try defend their lead. Another penalty for Paterson and then one for replacement fly-half Parks put Scotland back in contention.

It was all Scotland in the final ten minutes but the hosts couldn't find the gap that would have brought a famous comeback victory.

A date with England at Twickenham now looks a daunting task for Andy Robinson's men.

Man of the match: Jamies Heaslip deserves a mention for scoring one try and creating another. Max Evans was Scotland's most dangerous runner. But the gong goes to the man who, on his return to the starting XV reminded everyone why he has been Ireland's go-to man for years. Ronan O'Gara's try was just reward for a top performance.

Moment of the match: Ireland led from start to finish thanks to Heaslip's try. That early score had Scotland playing catch-up for 74 minutes.

Villain of the match: No nasty stuff to report.

The scorers:

For Scotland:
Pens: Paterson 4, Parks
Drop: Parks

For Ireland:
Tries: Heaslip, Reddan, O'Gara
Cons: O'Gara 3

Yellow cards: Jacobsen (Scotland - 44th min - illegal scrummaging)

The teams:

Scotland: 15 Chris Paterson, 14 Nikki Walker, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Sean Lamont, 11 Max Evans, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Mike Blair, 8 Johnnie Beattie, 7 John Barclay, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 Alastair Kellock (capt), 4 Richie Gray, 3 Moray Low, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Allan Jacobsen.
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Geoff Cross, 18 Nathan Hines, 19 Richie Vernon, 20 Rory Lawson, 21 Dan Parks, 22 Simon Danielli.

Ireland: 15 Luke Fitzgerald, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Brian O'Driscoll (capt), 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Ronan O'Gara, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 David Wallace, 6 Sean O'Brien, 5 Paul O'Connell, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Rory Best, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements:16 Sean Cronin, 17 Tom Court, 18 Leo Cullen, 19 Denis Leamy, 20 Peter Stringer, 21 Jonathan Sexton , 22 Paddy Wallace.

Venue: Murrayfield
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Andrew Small (England), Pascal Gauzere (France)
Television match official: Graham Hughes (England)

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RBS Six Nations Table
PosTeamPPts
1Ireland58
2England58
3Wales56
4France56
5Scotland52
6Italy50