Six Nations 2012 – Ireland v Scotland preview
Late scores have cost Ireland three points already in the Six Nations and the World Cup quarter finalists would be top of the table had they finished off Wales and France.
Ireland welcome Scotland to the Aviva Stadium this weekend with the Scots still looking for their first win of this campaign. Can Ireland continue their good form? Or can Andy Robinson’s side repeat their upset of 2010?
Ireland disappointed after France draw
You know that your form is pretty good when you travel to the Stade de France and are disappointed with a 17-17 draw. That’s the case with Ireland who failed to score in the second half against the French who came back from 17-down at half time to snatch a draw on Sunday.
Ireland winger Tommy Bowe scored two tries but rued his side’s second half performance. He said: “To score two tries in Paris is a great achievement but nobody enjoys coming away with a draw. We showed good composure in the last 10 minutes.
“Our first half display was outstanding but we were under a lot of pressure at the end and did well to avoid giving away a penalty, which was crucial.”
Ireland have been in decent form of late, scoring seven tries in their last two Six Nations matches although Declan Kidney’s side could have enjoyed a better campaign had they pushed on from winning positions against Wales and France. Captain Paul O’Connell told the BBC: “It’s frustrating as you don’t get many opportunities to win here [in Paris] but we didn’t take our chance.”
O’Connell suffered medial ligament damage in Sunday’s 17-17 draw with France and will miss the rest of the Six Nations tournament. He is joined on the sidelines by scrum-half Conor Murray who will be out for at least three weeks after being stretchered off in Paris.
Connacht forward Mike McCarthy and Munster scrum-half Tomas O’Leary have been added to the Irish squad and Ulster hooker Rory Best is expected to be names as captain.
Scotland struggling for a win
It’s been three matches and three defeats for Scotland so far, and Andy Robinson’s tenure as head coach could be coming to an end if things don’t improve quickly. The defeat to France was Scotland’s fifth in a row; their worst run since 2004.
Saying that, at times Scotland have shown some promise during this year’s Six Nations. They contained England for a half in their opening match before opening up a 10 point lead against France last time out. Their eventual 23-17 defeat was harsh on Andy Robinson’s charges who battled strongly but were eventually suffocated by the French who were clinical and took advantage of an imperious scrum.
Edinburgh winger Lee Jones said: “We’ve shown we can compete against the side which contested the World Cup final so we’re in a good place going to Dublin.
“If we can score tries against France, Ireland have a similar defensive system. We can take confidence from that and hopefully score tries and make the breaks against Ireland.”
Scotland will have to make at least one change for the match in Dublin with winger Rory Lamont undergoing surgery to stabilise a fractured fibula after the defeat to France.
Scotland have a surprisingly good record in Ireland, winning 27 of the 61 internationals between the two sides. And, the Scots won on their last trip to Dublin in 2010 by 23 points to 20.
However, this is a very good Ireland side and a distinctly average Scottish outfit. Indeed, considering Andy Robinson’s side face Italy in Rome in their last match, it could easily be a winless campaign for the Scots in 2012.
Back Ireland to overcome the 10 point handicap at 10/11 and win comfortably.