Rugby Union: Unsound Irish drowned out by Scotland
Ireland 16 Scotland 17; Try Penalty try Try Tait Penalties Humphreys 2 Penalties Chalmers 2 Conversions Humphreys Shepherd 2 Drop Humphreys Half-time 10-11 Attendance 48,000
Monday 09 February 1998
After all, it was not as if they were buried by Scotland. Indeed, Gary Armstrong and his men contributed just as much dross to a substandard match. It was certainly no one-sided massacre, no lamb-like procession to a ritual slaughter. At least Ireland managed to do something they have failed to achieve for some time, to harness traditional passion and fire with flair out wide and force up front and compete.
And while the coach, Brian Ashton, is entitled to his fury at witnessing, once again, an inability to take training-ground drills into a match; to watch helplessly as hard-earned possession and position was kicked away towards the end; and to see just about everyone in the side contributing to an unacceptable number of crass errors, which ultimately cost them dear, there was still plenty to build on. A solid scrummage, a competitive line-out and some breathtaking threequarter moves.
Ashton, even amid the anger, did admit: "I thought we were the better side in so many areas of the game. There were occasions when our back play looked a lot sharper and in the second half there were four occasions when we got outside the Scottish backs, which is quite something at international level. But we lost, in spite of everything and that is very difficult to swallow."
Ashton was also choking with rage at the way stand-off David Humphreys, in particular, kicked away precious possession in the last quarter. "I don't know whose game plan that was," he fumed, "but it was nothing to do with me."
After a brief post-match analysis with his captain, Keith Wood, Ashton concluded that the unforced errors and poor option taking had to be put down to a lack of concentration by the Irish players. In contrast, Scotland, who were also guilty of some basic mistakes and turnovers and did not play to their best, had had their minds wonderfully concentrated in the past week by the stinging criticism levelled at them by former players, and, probably more hurtfully, by two former captains.
Jim Telfer, back in charge of the coaching until the end of the Five Nations but probably not after, confessed: "I think some of the criticism has been quite justified, but I am hurt by what some people are saying, in particular David Sole and Finlay Calder.
"They must have played for Scotland when we were down. When I took over the Scotland team for the first time Jim Renwick was playing his 36th international and he had never won away from home - and we didn't in that match either, against France in 1981. To win away from home takes some doing. So these people are being unrealistic."
Both sides had gone into the match on the back of defeats against Italy, results which strengthened their claim to turn the Five Nations championship in to six, and Telfer made no extravagant claims about the quality of his side's performance. "We made mistakes today," he said, "but we won, and that's the most important thing."
There was one minor triumph for all Ireland. Their attempt on the world record noise level was a howling success. At one point in the second half, when the Irish backs launched yet another imaginative but fruitless assault on the Scotland line, the sell-out crowd, including some 15,000 armed with cardboard megaphones supplied by Guinness, sent the sound waves soaring to 125.4 decibels, an achievement which earned them a place in the Guinness Book of Records. What happens when they really have something to shout about, heaven only knows.
IRELAND: C O'Shea (London Irish); R Wallace (Saracens), K Maggs (Bristol), M McCall (London Irish), D Hickie (St Mary's); D Humphreys (London Irish), B O'Meara (Cork Constitution); R Corrigan (Greystones), K Wood (Harlequins, capt), P Wallace, P Johns (both Saracens), M O'Kelly (London Irish), D Corkery (Bristol), K Dawson (London Irish), E Miller (Leicester). Replacements: N Popplewell (Newcastle) for P Wallace, 60-62; V Costello (St Mary's) for K Dawson, 67.
SCOTLAND: R Shepherd (Melrose); C Joiner (Leicester), A Tait (Newcastle), G Townsend (Northampton), K Logan (Wasps); C Chalmers (Melrose), G Armstrong (capt); G Graham (both Newcastle), G Bulloch (West of Scotland), M Stewart (Northampton), D Cronin (Wasps), D Weir (Newcastle), R Wainwright (Dundee HSFP), S Holmes (London Scottish), P Walton (Newcastle). Replacements: A Stanger (Hawick) for Joiner, 15; D Hilton (Bath) for Graham, 60; S Grimes (Watsonians) for Cronin, 64; D Lee (London Scottish) for Shepherd, 78.
Referee: A Watson (South Africa).
Latest in Sport
Arsenal transfer news and rumours: Gabriel Paulista sent to Paris to speed up move; Luis Suarez bid planned; Gunners eye Daniele Rugani
Gabriel Paulista: Talented Brazilian could grow into world-class defender at Arsenal
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: Pair finally meet at NBA game and shake hands, will the fight be announced during Super Bowl?
Andy Murray vs Tomas Berydch: Murray cool over reunion with coach Dani Vallverdu at the Australian Open
Manchester United transfer news and rumours: David De Gea new deal; Gareth Bale on speculation; Wilfried Zaha exit
- 1 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 2 Mystery man who gave mum heart-warming note on train 'wanted to put a smile on her face'
- 3 Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
- 4 Mafia's wall of silence broken: Victim of Cosa Nostra's extortion rackets in its Corleone heartland co-operates with authorities for the first time ever
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent answer to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: This post arises as a result of the need to...
£120 - £150 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am recruiting on instruction o...
£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...
£24000 - £28000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wim...