History repeated from Scotland: Rewind to last year and Scotland shot themselves in the foot with a clutch of mistakes and missed opportunities that killed any hopes of victory. This year frustrating errors were again a theme that ultimately halted momentum to their attacks, especially in the second period as they could only muster three points. They started the game well but 15 handling errors is a statistic that will upset boss Gregor Townsend in the immediate aftermath of this contest. Ireland showed a streetwise edge that Scotland were unfortunately lacking.
Rob Kearney a welcome sight at the back: The veteran’s return to the side was a much-needed shot in the arm for Ireland on Saturday. Kearney was his usual solid self under the high ball and also offered a strong carrying option in the first line of attack as well as returning the ball. On a windy day at Murrayfield the Leinster full-back brought a level of calmness that was imperative as Ireland crucially made fewer mistakes than their opponent.
The good and bad of Joey Carbery: It’s always tough to come onto the field as a fly-half when you’re expected to immediately control the game but he did not initially cover himself in glory. Carbery threw an errant pass which allowed Finn Russell to intercept and help Scotland get back into the contest. He then struggled for the rest of the half but the break obviously did him good and he created the game-defining try with a fine break and assist. That helped him settle and, alongside the steady Conor Murray, the half-backs managed to assert their authority on proceedings.
Ireland ‘bore’ Scotland into submission: It was slightly disingenuous what England‘s defence coach John Mitchell said before their contest last week, although the barb obviously did the trick, but there was an element of that from Joe Schmidt’s men at Murrayfield. They created one lovely try in the first half but, apart from that, there was a lack of creativity once again. Especially without Johnny Sexton, they went back to basics and pressured the Scots into errors. Ireland controlled possession, frustrated the hosts and allowed Murray to dictate from the base.
Not great from captain Greig: “He doesn’t seem to like us, Romain. He refereed us against South Africa and we don’t seem to see eye to eye but we are not going to blame him, we will look at ourselves and credit to Ireland.” That was the immediate quote from frustrated Scotland scrum-half Laidlaw when speaking to BBC Sport at Murrayfield. Even if there are gripes with a match official, the skipper might be advised to take a breath before future interviews.
by Adam Kyriacou and Colin Newboult