Rugby League: Scots take their revenge

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The Independent Online
Scotland 26 Ireland 6

The Thistle bloomed at Partick last night as Scotland avenged their defeat in Dublin last year by winning the second international between these two countries in convincing style.

The Scots were helped by the collapse of Ireland's discipline in the second half when no less than three players spent time in the sin-bin. It was the sort of extra edge that a well drilled Scottish side hardly needed.

It can hardly have been due to a sparse crowd at Firhill for this novel fixture, but the home side soon established an advantage, exerting pressure through the kicking of Matt Crowther.

Crowther's high kick caused confusion in the Irish defence and, as Scotland continued to turn the screw, a scrum win allowed Darrall Shelford to slip a neat pass for their captain, Alan Tait, to score.

Crowther kicked the goal, and midway through the half Scotland emphasised their superiority by going further ahead, Danny Russell, spotting a gap, throwing a dummy and darting over from acting half-back.

Ireland came close to scoring their first points when Tait's admirable cover tackle took Lee Child into touch at the corner flag, but they fell further behind when the alert and constructive Russell sent his fellow Australian Darren Shaw down the blind side immediately before half-time.

A reward came for Ireland after half-time, however, with Lee Hanlan exchanging passes with Phelim Comerford to go over, the Dublin-based Comerford adding the conversion.

But then Ireland's discipline deserted them. Their cause was first set back by the sin-binning of James Lowes for defence and they went down to 11 men six minutes later when Bernard Dwyer was also given 10 minutes for interfering at the play-the-ball.

Martin Ketteridge failed to extract further retribution by hitting the post with the resulting penalty but Hanlan soon joined the procession to the sidelines, Ketteridge this time making no mistake and extending Scotland's lead to 10 points.

Scotland made sure of victory when a high tackle from Dwyer allowed them to take a quick tap penalty for Shelford to find his way through.

Russell, along with Huddersfield's Lee Milner, Scotland's outstanding contributor, then released Nick Mardon for the final try. It may not have matched some of the well spaced moments of glory on Partick's ground, but a small seed had been sown.

SCOTLAND: Tait (Leeds); Thompson (Edinburgh), Shelford (Huddersfield), Mardon (Boroughmuir), Cowan (Oldham); Crowther (Sheffield), Keenan (Workington); Gamba (Aberdeen), Russell (Carlisle), Shaw (London), Ketteridge (Halifax), Milner (Huddersfield), Cusack (Carlisle). Substitutes: Blee (Loughborough), Gilmour (Dundee Institute), Simes (Heriot's), Murdock (Workington).

IRELAND: Foy (Killarney); Comerford (Dublin Blues), Child (Wakefield), Hanlan (Hunslet), Gordon (Bangor Vikings); Garth (Dublin Blues) Crompton (Oldham), Casey (Swinton), McCallion (Bramley), Dwyer (Bradford), Moffat (Hull), Burgess (Salford), Lowes (Bradford). Substitutes: Doyle (Dublin Blues), Cleary (Dublin Blues), Wyville (Skirlaugh), Kennedy (Belfast Buccaneers).

Referee: S Cummings (Widnes).