Scotland A forwards overrun

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The Independent Online

reports from Donnybrook, Dublin

Ireland A 26 Scotland A 19

The Irish second string delivered a timely pre-emptive strike prior to today's main battle with their first win in four attempts over their Scottish counterparts here yesterday.

A late try flattered the Scots who were pretty much beaten after a one- sided first half. Had the Irish place-kicker, Simon Mason, not been so awry with his radar, landing just four from nine, the Irish would have been further out of sight than 19-5 at the break.

The big runners up front, Paul Wallace and Victor Costello (two of nine full internationals in the Ireland side) made regular imprints into the Scottish defence, strengthening the impression that their day at senior level will come again, while the gifted 21-year-old lock Malcolm O'Kelly, along with the veteran 36-year-old Davey Tweed, lorded the line-outs.

The Irish backs did not always make the most of this, and of the two Kiwi centres, Sean McCahill's impenetrable defensive work made a far bigger impression than the sluggish 32-year-old former All Black and rugby league full-back John Gallagher. Sadly, his day has gone.

First and 10th-minute penalties by Mason gave Ireland a buffer before the Scottish backs Graham Shiel and Stuart Lang created a well-worked try for wing John Kerr after 12 minutes.

The Irish pack responded swiftly by rumbling over the line following David Humphreys' kick to the corner and Tweed's take, Wallace getting the touchdown. Mason managed one more penalty before atoning for a spate of misses with a 36th-minute interception try.

The Scots, well drilled but short of penetration and flair, recycled the ball repeatedly in the second half. Alas, their only rewards were three penalties by their outside-half Scott Welsh, before an injury-time consolation try by flanker Peter Walton.

By then the Irish had broken out of defence fleetingly enough for their pack to engineer a pushover penalty try after 56 minutes which Mason converted. That left no room for argument.

IRELAND A: C O'Shea (London Irish); S Mason (Orrell), J Gallagher (Blackheath), S McCahill (Sunday's Well), N Woods (Blackrock); D Humphreys (London Irish), A Rolland (capt); P Flavin, S Byrne, P Wallace (all Blackrock), D Tweed (Ballymena), M O'Kelly, V Costello (both St Mary's), A Foley (Shannon), E Miller (Leicester). Replacement: L Toland (Old Crescent) for Miller, 52.

SCOTLAND A: S Lang; I Glasgow (both Heriot's FP), G Shiel (Melrose), R Eriksson (London Scottish), J Kerr (Watsonians); S Welsh (Hawick), G Armstrong (Newcastle, capt); M Browne (Melrose), G Ellis (Currie), B Stewart (Edinburgh Academicals), M Norval (Stirling County), D Cronin (Bourges), P Walton (Newcastle), B Renwick (Hawick), J Amos (Gala).

Referee: J Pearson (England).