RWC23: Ireland v Scotland: crushing defeat sends Scots home

Two late tries add veneer of respectability to the scoreline

No way through for Scotland centre Sione Tuipulotu against Ireland during their World Cup Pool B defeat in Paris. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
No way through for Scotland centre Sione Tuipulotu against Ireland during their World Cup Pool B defeat in Paris. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

Ireland 36

Scotland 14

DAVID BARNES @ Stade de France

TWO late tries by Scotland staved off a record defeat in this fixture and added a veneer of respectability to the final scoreline, but the reality is that this was painful confirmation of the gulf which now exists between these two rugby nations.

Onwards now for Ireland to next Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final against New Zealand. What a clash that is going to be. For Scotland, it a lonely trip home and a whole lot of soul searching.

The defeat in itself is not too hard to swallow. It didn’t come as much a surprise. But to be outclassed so comprehensively at a second consecutive World Cup raises a whole lot of tough questions about the overall direction of travel for the sport in Scotland.


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All that time spent during the week calculating the weird and wonderful score-line permutations required for Scotland to progress to the quarter-finals of this World Cup at the expense of Ireland, or indeed South Africa, were quickly shown to be an absolute waste of time.

It took all of one minute and two seconds for Ireland to lay down their marker with Garry Ringrose sweeping left, past the leaden-footed Grant Gilchrist and feeding Mack Hansen, who provided the link to send James Lowe over in the corner. The huge Ireland support triumphantly (already) broke into a chorus of ‘ole, ole, ole’ as Johnny Sexton lined up the conversion … which he missed, although that came as scant consolation.

This was a masterclass of power, precision, discipline and all-round rugby intelligence from the number one ranked team in the world, but nothing they are not used to producing. Consistency is perhaps their super-strength, which is in stark contrast to what Scotland have shown themselves capable of.

Ireland had the crucial four-try bonus-point in the bag by the break. At this point, Scotland needed to respond with 31 unanswered points in the second half in order to progress out of Pool B. In reality, the challenge facing them now was to make sure that this did not turn into an embarrassing massacre which would decimate team morale going forward and inflict untold damage on the reputation of the game back home. They just about managed that.

Scotland did rally briefly, and Duhan van der Merwe was typically hard to put down when he got his hands on the ball on the right touchline, but there was no way through the green wall and he was penalised for holding on.

The loss of Blair Kinghorn with a head injury on eight minutes was another setback Scotland could really have done without, especially as Gregor Townsend, their head coach, had gone for a six-two split between forwards and backs on the bench.

Scotland kept plugging away, kicking a scrum penalty towards the corner, losing the line-out to a superhuman jump by Pater O’Mahony against Richie Gray, but scrambling another throw and then spreading right for Darcy Graham’s first sniff, leading to a penalty against Lowe for going off his feet.

Again Scotland went for touch, prompting an exhausting passage of play on Ireland’s 22 with the ball being kept alive through over a dozen phases, but they were continually knocked back on the gain-line and eventually conceded a scrum when they couldn’t recycle, which quickly turned into a scrum penalty and an Irish clearance.

Would three pints at this point have served Scotland better? Scotland needed to stay in the fight before thinking about winning the scrap.

There was more turmoil for Scotland when skipper Jamie Ritchie had to be replaced by Matt Fagerson on 18 minutes nursing a shoulder injury, and Ireland struck again on 25 minutes, sending the ball left off a line-out on halfway and picking their way through some slightly tentative defence with a series of intricate passes to send Keenan over, and this time Sexton nailed the conversion.

Iain Henderson muscled his way over for try number three after a sustained onslaught from the Irish pack with eight minutes still to play in the half, before Keenan rode two tackles as he slid over for his second and his team’s bonus-point try 20 seconds before the break.

 

Tempers fizzed at the start of the second-half, with almost all 30 players involved in a prolonged bout of shoving and pulling at shirts. Pierre Schoeman and Dan Sheehan even ended up on toppling over an advertising boarding, before decorum was restored and a TMO replay revealed that Ollie Smith had tripped Sexton off the ball.

The Scots replacement full-back was yellow-carded and Ireland streaked downfield for Dan Sheehan to score his team’s fifth try. Sexton missed the tricky conversion from the left touchline and was promptly replaced with 36 minutes still to go. No need now for Ireland to risk injury to their commander-in-chief.

Three minutes later, Tadhg Furlong, Sheehan, Andrew Porter, Henderson, O’Mahony and Jamison Gibson-Park followed their captain off the park, to raucous acclimation from their delirious fans. Ireland were already moving on to next weekend’s quarter-final against New Zealand.

Not that this stopped their progress in this match, and Jack Crowley‘s excellent cross-kick sent Ringrose over for yet another try – their sixth to make it 36-0 – with the game still two minutes shy of the hour mark.

Shellshocked Scotland looked like they wanted the famous patch of turf they were playing on to open up and swallow them whole. Passes were falling harmlessly in front of players who had stopped running onto the ball, and easy kick receipts were being fumbled.

It was painful to watch until, almost out of nowhere, the Scots recovered some sense of ownership of their performance and struck back with two quick-fire tries, the first scored by replacement hooker Ewan Ashman down the right following some decent build-up play from Jack Dempsey and Sione Tuipulotu, the second by replacement scrum-half Ali Price after Huw Jones and Smith had run back the restart with menace.

At least that added some sort of respectability to the scoreboard and meant that Scotland avoided what had looked like being a record defeat in this fixture, although this shouldn’t come as much consolation to Townsend and his team as they return home with tail between legs.

This was a painful reminder of how far Scottish rugby – which used to be on a par if not slightly ahead of Ireland – has been left behind during the last 10 to 15 years.

It would be easy to blame the individuals directly involved in the setback, but a wider and deeper review of how the Scottish Rugby Union is failing to keep pace with its Celtic cousins is required.

 

Teams –

Ireland: H Keenan; M Hansen (S McCloskey 21), G Ringrose, B Aki, J Lowe; J Sexton (J Crowley 44), J Gibson-Park (C Murray 48); A Porter (D Kilcoyne 48), D Sheehan (R Kelleher, 48), T Furlong (F Bealham 48), T Beirne, I Henderson (J Ryan 48), P O’Mahony (J Conan 48), J van der Flier, C Doris.

Scotland : B Kinghorn (O Smith 8); D Graham (G Horne 49), H Jones, S Tuipulotu, D van der Merwe; F Russell, A Price; P Schoeman (R Sutherland 52), G Turner (E Ashman 59), Z Fagerson (W Nel 59), R Gray, G Gilchrist (S Cummings, 47), J Ritchie (M Fagerson 18), R Darge ( L Crosbie 64), J Dempsey.

Referee:  Nic Berry (Australia)

 

Scorers –

Ireland: Tries: Lowe, Keenan 2, Henderson, Sheehan, Ringrose; Cons: Sexton 3.

Scotland: Tries: Ashman, Price; Con: Russell 2.

ll.

Scoring sequence (Ireland first): 5-0; 10-0; 12-0; 17-0; 19-0; 24-0; 26-0 (h-t) 31-0; 36-0; 36-5; 36-7; 36-12; 36-14.

 

Yellow cards –

Scotland: Smith (41mins)

 

Attendance: 78,459


RWC23: Ireland v Scotland: Scotland player ratings

About David Barnes 4012 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

67 Comments

  1. When our only dominant tackle occurs as our loose head is pushing Ireland’s hooker over the advertising hoarding, it’s clear we were outmuscled throughout.
    Schoeman at least tried to breach the advantage line, as did Dempsey but so few of our forwards can carry dynamically through a tackle.
    That leads to slow ball, turnovers and ground conceded on too many occasions.
    In truth, Ireland barely got into third gear and still tore us apart.

    With Nel, Gray and Watson retiring who will come to replace them?
    Players of similar quality or much lower? Sadly, looking at the current state of youth rugby I think we are in for a lean spell.
    Unless, of course Dodson we can conjure up another cadre of antipodeans with Scottish heritage.

    Who knows, by 2027 the majority of the team may be born and raised outside Scotland.

    It’s a very sad state of affairs and I can’t see how it ends well.

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    • The only comment I’d make is that it has never been any different over the 100 + years that Scotland have played rugby. Occasionally we get a group of players like this group who can challenge at the top.

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    • Sensiball.

      16/17 of the 23 that played against Ireland were born in Scotland and played their rugby in Scotland.

  2. Ireland are as good as theyve ever been and are in superb form, they were utterly ruthless last night in every facet of the game. Scotland simply just have mental block against Ireland. We freeze. We get white line fever, we make silly errors, we lack real belief and conviction. The fact is if we had played France, SA or NZ last night we would have been better. Its just a continuous car crash against Ireland and at times you do wonder if we will ever beat them again. Right now it feels maybe not

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  3. Ireland are superbly drilled and always turn up for the big occasion. Who doesn’t that remind you of? The sad thing is that we have a good bunch of players – certainly not the best Scotland team ever, but equally better than they have shown when it really matters. A more streetwise coach might get more out of them. As we enter a new four-year cycle, perhaps now would be the time for Townsend to do the decent thing and stand aside, sans compo.

  4. Townsend .his crew & Scottish team .
    Out played .
    Out thought .
    Out muscled .
    In fact out everythinged .
    Where’s Dodson ?
    His vision is needed now .
    Sorry .
    his vision is turning Scottish rugby into a farce and will only get worse .
    Something has to dramatically change or you can kiss your World cups goodbye cos we are shyyte

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    • the only element of scottish rugby working well is the finances Dodson needs a new coach and a new defence coach. Finances good (look at England and Wales) people recruitment poor

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  5. Bearing in mind the appalling structure of Scottish rugby (club rugby almost abandoned in favour of a meaningless franchise competition, laughable youth development etc) it could be argued that Scotland haven’t done that badly albeit they are a long way behind the World’s top four.

    The trouble is that if the current destruction of club and youth rugby continues then Scotland will suddenly find themselves a long way behind the World’s top eight.

    Replacing Townsend will be the equivalent of re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. If things are to improve it is the man at the top and his acolytes who need to be replaced and replaced by people who have more interest in the state of Scottish rugby than their bank balances.

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    • PS: And morons like Smith who think it’s a huge laugh to be sent-off for behaving like a petulant child leaving their already struggling team mates one short should never be selected again who ever is coach.

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  6. Lot of unhappy posters today. I was watching Chariots of Fire a few weeks back, the scene where Abrahams sits alone after his defeat by Liddell and is joined by his girl friend (the Borg Queen) , who tells him to take a beating like a man, and beat him the next time. Might be nice if Ireland win the RWC and we replicate the 1967 football defeat of world champs England at the next 6N. We did our best on the night, we lost , start working on beating hem next time.
    Can I have a small moan about the refereeing in this game and many others. The foot in touch, the blocking for the first try and the forward pass for the 2nd. Worse in the England Samoa game where the Samoan try was disallowed after the kick , for a totally unclear hand ball by the Samoan player. The Fiji / Wales game was so outrageous as to warrant the officials being sent back to refereeing school boy games.

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    • I made a comment after the SA and Wales/Fiji match that Fiji had a penalty awarded against them for ‘Contact off the ball’ and I asked if Ireland would be penalised in the same way as they are serial offenders – enough said. It is clear that the officiating teams consistently favour the higher ranked team. The only way forward then is to get a higher ranking but that will be difficult given current officiating standards. I am not saying that we would have won agains SA or Ireland if certain decisions had been given in our favour but it would be good to be playing on a level playing field.

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  7. It’s difficult at this point in time to clinically analyse the last month.

    Obviously, we’re light years behind Ireland and SA….even if it is extremely disappointing that we didn’t get close to laying a glove on them.

    On the other hand, our perspectives are obviously blinded by being in a pool with 2 sides who are head and shoulders above us.

    If for instance we had been in Wales’ or England’s groups, does anyone believe that we wouldn’t be in a quarter final against Fiji or Argentina just now ? And with that momentum, a semi final place would be there for the taking.

    We would end up playing Ireland or SA/France in the semi, and we would get hammered, but everyone would look upon the tournament as massive success.

    Just saying. The draw was cruel to us, but we’re not a worse team than we were in February when we won in London and thrashed Wales.

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    • Well said Bob , we were always going to have a tough job, especially as SA came to the boil in time for the RWC. The whole draw is a farce , the top 4 teams in the world are in one side of the draw and the dross are in the other side.

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    • We got this draw due to being just as bad with the same coach 4 years ago and being 3rd. Cotter had the best draw we have ever had in RWC and also couldn’t beat a tier 1 nation. When did we last beat a tier 1 nation in RWC?? We need serious changes starting with Dodson and including the whole coaching and development set up. We are 15 years at least behind Ireland.

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    • You have it bang on. The top 4 are well clear of the rest and qualifying from the group we were in was going to be extremely difficult though I must admit to being disappointed with the final result yesterday.
      We are ranked 5 in the world which is a high for Scotland and I believe we are quite a bit better and more entertaining than those below us. We are a small rugby nation who have always struggled against the top top teams, never beaten a team ranked higher than us in the WC. It’s a shame the WC draw will not give us the 4 teams who clearly deserve to be there.
      I’m a bit down after yesterday but I also appreciate some of the great performances this squad of players and back room staff have given us over the past few years. 🐻

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      • Can I raise one or two points of caution on some of the comments you’ve made.
        We do play some very entertaining rugby, more so than teams below us but we can’t compete with the top teams. I read that as we’ve reached our peak and hit the ceiling of our ambitions. Is that realism or defeatism? Third place in the Six Nations will always be OK so job done??
        Scottish Rugby needs a complete overhaul..a root and branch! As many have already commented Irish Rugby was a basket case 20 years ago but they grabbed the bull by the 🏉🏉🏉🏉🏉s and look where they are now.
        A quick fix won’t do but will need a well managed process to see it through and manage the expectations of the Scottish public.
        Sorry for the ramblings….just got my head out of the oven after last night!
        Onward and upward!!

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  8. A bit of a nightmare but lets be honest – Ireland are simply much better than us in every aspect of the game. Past comments about this being the best ever squad Scotland has had are a bit hollow after this defeat. If you’d picked a combined team even before this game how many Scots would make the side. Man for man Ireland are just that bit better. The forwards are more physical and abrasive and the backs are sharper and they execute their skills that bit better. It particularly shows up in the contact areas – Ireland forwards take it on at pace and really make quick yards – when its us its the other way round. We lumber into contact and they hammer us in defence. They are the best defensively and its hard to find a way through.

    We are a decent side and 5th in the world is not bad but we are quite a way behind Ireland and SA the worlds best 2 teams and the long and the short of it.

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  9. Decided to sleep before offering my ramblings.
    …Horrible pool. SA and Ireland worst possible stylistically match ups
    …Somewhat similar to 2019 RWC where we seemed not to have an effective Plan B when a Plan B was required. Ended up losing all the games that mattered in successive RWCs
    …lack of a kicking option (apart from Finn) troubled me, when our attack works its great, when it doesn’t it we keep trying it regardless
    …the missed foot in touch early on and the blocking for the 1st Irish try were pretty blatant and doesn’t show the TMO in a good light.
    …. whilst, I do think GT is a better coach now and he was in a he was in 2019, the big games in successive RWCs have been lost in similar disappointing circumstances is he ‘really’ improving this team??
    …. Finally were Ireland and SA that good or have they simply been well coached In how to nullify Scotlands style

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    • John, SA and Ireland are that good as they’ve both shown they can adapt to their opponents with Ireland being that bit more flexible. However, as others have correctly said, Ireland were a basket not that long ago. I still have a pound coin I win off an Australian because they beat us by less than 50 points 🙂
      All you can do is learn and adapt from the ground roots up. I want to see teams producing titanic struggles more often than notas that’s the only way for rugby to improve.

  10. Einstein’s Parable of Quantum Insanity is; ‘Doing the same thing over and over and expect different results’, well tell that to Scotlands coaches, this was it in spades. Aimless bashing at the Irish defence, points at posts thrown away, but they would have made no difference.
    Andy Farrell and his team seem very adept at finding weakness’s in the oppositions defence, but Scotlands coaching team could not, or perhaps they did but the players had no clarity of thought nor skills to execute.

    The Irish as usual were clinical, they know Scotland inside out, know they have nothing new to offer with the standard 15, and we’re gonna play the same old way, and so it proved, easy to defend lots of huff & puff but nothing else.

    This was depressing and unless we have root & branch overhaul of the Scottish rugby landscape, we will be left even further behind, we’re officially a 2nd tier nation, and have no chance in the future of reaching the top table unless we radically change, but how?

    Ollie Smith by the way is a ‘dunderheed’, now officially a preening 2nd rate rugger player in my opinion, there I’ve said it.

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  11. Gilchrist and Gray don’t work as a 2nd row pairing, zero carrying / any dynamic ability between them.

    If the tactics are purely to go wide at speed, why on earth are you picking Price. If you want to kick the ball to death, maybe, but that was tosh.

    Thought Huwipulotu was overrated during the warm ups, and they frankly haven’t delivered this tournament – Huw especially. Think Harris showed more in his cameos as a direct power runner than than Huw crabbing the pitch, and at least he can defend.

    Darge will come good, but feel he has been pretty anonymous this tournament as a 7. We lack carriers in the forwards, both Richie & Darge are not known for it, and it showed – Watson was likely needed, and Crosbie actually made a difference I thought.

    All that being said, the most worrying thing is that Scotland have absolutely zero ability to adapt during a game. Ireland clearly standing off and not competing at rucks (men on their feet). We send five boys in to a ruck, somehow still make it slow ball (Price) send it to the other side of the pitch after standing deep, running laterally and barely making it over the gain line, where we eventually run out of numbers and Ireland target the ball. No change with direct runners, territorial kicking, pick n goes. All game. Same against Georgia 1st half, same against SA. You see Irish wingers popping up all over the park, you have a battering ram in Duhan, ever plan on using him to actually generate front foot ball?

    Fed up of Townsend saying “we’ll learn” because how many times do you have to lose to the same teams to actually implement these learnings.

    It’s tough to be Scottish.

    Finally, my god Nic Berry. Wouldn’t have changed anything result wise, but Ire kickers outside their 22 and kicking it, several holding on penalties after slamming into the ground off feet first (Porter), inconsistent offsides, Keenan in touch catching kicks, high shots from Sexton every tackle – not been our tournament here either.

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    • Will also add, I wasn’t a fan of Ollie Smith as an impact player, and Kinghorn going off was a big loss as OS completely lost his head – out of position for two tries, passes going to ground, fumbles, stupid trip (should’ve booted Sexton, would have been worth it then). He is young and will come good, but not having an experienced back on the bench hurt us.

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      • Yep agreed. Said it before the game that Smith should not have been the bench choice. How on earth was that choice made? Form, versatility, experience and proven under pressure – all things that Steyn had over him. Or Harris.

        Agree OS will come good but this was a ridiculous call for this match

  12. Against the big teams we offer no threat at the breakdown and hence no real threat at all.

    Ireland were able to keep the ball until we ran out of men and walk tries in.

    I don’t think Darge and Ritchie together is a very balanced combination.

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    • Agree. The ‘horses-for-courses’ argument would have pointed to playing Crosbie at 7 and perhaps Skinner at 6. Thought Cummings improved play when he came off the bench.

  13. We will know how really good or bad we are next weekend. If Ireland dismiss NZ the way they did us then they are the real deal. Personally I think the All Blacks will beat them convincingly.
    Tactics and team selection all wrong tonight, no need to chase the try bonus from minute 1. That’s Townsend fault.
    Like our teams for years now, despite having the majority of possession we could not break the line. No line breaks until 60 minutes. Not one forward punched a hole and gave us the right to go wide. Yet conversely Ireland seemed to breach our line at will.
    Can someone explain how this can happen when size/weight wise the players are similar.
    Huwipulotu hasn’t worked these last 6 months, with no other options on the bench the Irish knew what was coming.
    The much vaunted Gray has yet to turn up at the lineout this tournament, How a 6’4” pensioner can outreach him is beyond me. JR has caught more throws. If he is no longer the assured presence, get someone on who at least can run and tackle all day – like skinner.
    Russell tried his best, one of the few in credit but surprised we never saw and grubber kicks or chips over the top to break things up.

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    • Watch the game video again and keep an eye on Dan Sheehan always taking 1 or 2 steps sideways from the lineout mark towards his own line of players before throwing in to the lineout. Impossible for any team to compete for opposition ball when it’s not thrown in down the lineout channel. Tough night for Scotland – it was always going to be because this Ireland team is class – but not helped by some hapless officiating which always kept Scotland on the back foot. Ireland scored 2 tries that on any other night would have counted had the officials applied the laws correctly. I don’t think Ireland will get the benefit of those calls against NZ.

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  14. A very disappointing match that was also a hard watch.

    Ireland are a good side but with all the chat and hints from the Scotland camp I expected us to try something, anything but no let’s bash it down the middle.

    The inability to convert pressure into any points is the real issue. Toothless and impotent in attack. I really don’t know where we go from here.

    As Mike Tyson was fond of saying everyone has a plan until the first punch. I was hoping we would get further than min 2 for our plan to roll out.

    And finally, which genius crafted the best Scottish side ever tag? Might want to rethink that one now.

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  15. Four years on from a tournament when a team failed spectacularly and the governing body, through the conduct of the Chief Executive, was an embarrassment, the same Chief Executive and Head Coach are still in post. Amazingly contracts of both were extended before the RWC. Symptomatic of a sport in serial decline. The post match platitudes are risible. Irish Rugby has taken years to build a structure that supports the national team. The current SRU regime cobbles together the national side with a few gifted individuals but which fails the acid test of being a team. The 1984 and 1990 sides did their talking on the pitch rather than at pre match media events.
    If Dodaon and Townsend had any integrity then they would offer their resignations. Their best is clearly inadequate for the national side and rugby in general. Gregor and Mark, its time to go.

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  16. Anyone that genuinely thinks Ireland has 57000 kids playing u13 rugby every weekend should come see me about a deal I have to sell Sydney Harbour bridge…

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    • And I’ve got a Queensferry Crossing you should take a look at if you believe we have more U13 players than Ireland…

  17. I actually stopped reading the papers before this game as it was becoming embarrassing to Scotland, scotland never back it up, just go about your business quietly and turn them over and win! Mr Dobson seriously needs to look at the structure of the organisation/business, because it isn’t working, Scotland aren’t producing enough talent to come through the ranks to produce consistently! Yes this is the best current crop of players to turn out for Scotland, collectively it just doesn’t happen for 80 minutes! We can talk all we want about what we can do here and there but it’s just not happening! Two world cups with 3rd place finishes!! Maybe that’s all we are good for! Maybe our expectations are too high and we need to be brought down a level, especially when we get humbled like that!

  18. Bear in mind first and second scores had clear and deliberate obstruction as part of their preamble, – both remarked on at Half time by BoD and co, the All Blacks play the same type play. Yet another had a clear forward pass, coming from a build up that involved a clear touchline breach, that the ref in his haughtiness declined to review. The Gap is not as big as your report makes out, Ireland played the ref and were borderline on the rules much better than we did, we needed a fair ref on the day, instead we got a one eyed ref. A clear touch, ignored, the tackle of a scottish player off the ball led to a tackle of an Irish player immediately after, yet only the latter was given an intervention by a one eyed TMO. That said , irelands, nous, clever breakdown management and competitiveness, won the day. Our lads should hold their heads up, reffing generally with the exception of Irelands, Andrew Brace notably fair , has been poor at this world cup, ( e.g. Fiji Wales, Wales Georgia, NZ v Italy) with most refs going for the perceived strongest side, this game with Scotland is really no exception. Rugby union has a breakdown issue and with it a ref issue. Till it fixes it, to outsiders it will always be less attractive than football and other sports like rugby league.

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  19. As I said when the team was announced, I had very low expectations for the game. Yet still Scotland managed not to meet them. I wish I could say I’m disappointed but disgusted is probably more apt. I pity the poor souls that travelled to Paris to witness such a debacle.

    Our forwards were much weaker than usual defensively, giving up soft yards through the middle with almost every carry, and the old lineout, breakdown and maul issues reared their heads over and over again. It seems incredible to me that we have not engaged Richie Gray to sort this shambles out. Why are we happy to watch him travel the world consulting for what seems like any rugby team outside of Scotland, not to mention NFL teams, rather than get him on board to improve his own national team?

    Our attack was utterly ineffectual – one dimensional is probably too kind – and why we thought we could just kick to the corner and score against the best defence in the world when it was still fresh and unstressed just baffles me. Our only hope surely was to stay in the game and hope to get a couple of scores when the game opened up (unfortunately we only managed the latter part of that). Winning by 8 pts is more than possible when kicking points – England beat Argentina by 17pts without scoring a single try at the start of the tournament.

    I agree that some decisions and circumstances went against us but teams that shoot themselves in the foot don’t deserve the rub of the green.

    Ireland were probably as brutally clinical as they have ever been tonight but the sad, sad reality is that they really didn’t have to do anything particularly brilliant to destroy us.

    And we still don’t seem to be able to score against the best teams going through multiple phases inside their 22. I think we are probably the worst team of all the Tier 1 nations in that regard and worse than a number of Tier 2 teams as well. This is also a long standing issue for Edinburgh and Glasgow, so there is clearly something systemically wrong with the way our forwards are being coached.

    And don’t get me started on youth ‘development’.

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  20. There was no respectability on the pitch tonight. After 62 seconds there was only humiliation. Not one Scotland player matched their opposite number. There is nothing positive to take from this game or from RWC2023 for Scotland.

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  21. Predictable. Well actually it wasn’t. Who could have predicted such a passive disjointed toothless performance . I think we all thought that we would at the very least make a contest out of it. Defensively passive, tactically inept, no penetration, no support when we actually made a line break, physically dominated. Utterly depressing performance. Townsend should have been binned after the last World Cup failure but no for many everything is fine because we regularly beat England now. He is a woeful selector and an even worse tactician. Him and his coaching team need replaced now. We need an injection of new ideas. Maybe this group have reached their ceiling but let’s at least give it a try with a new coaching regime to see if there is more in the tank.

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    • A lot of folk predicted this once GT had his contract extended and more so when he he continued his hatred of George Horne

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      • Not to take two kicking opportunities at goal at 5 -0 down (against a team like Ireland ) seemed very naive Scotlands defence in midfield was non existent and despite Russell’s best efforts to ‘straighten up’ the lines of attack Tuipolutu and Jones continued to run lateral choking any space for our wingers to operate – IMO the game was done and dusted well before half time ! To crown it all we then have to listen to all the usual post match blurb from GT, Moving forward it’s a pity we can’t press the reset button + we’re stuck with Townsend and all that he brings for the foreseeable future !

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  22. can’t believe the amount of excuses being made. We were inept and didn’t turn up as usual in the big games. Talked the talk but couldn’t walk the walk. Bitterly disappointing. A lot of players didn’t show up. This acceptance of failure is why we are in this position

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    • Mark Smith totally correct too many of the establishment frankly accept failure because they and their “clubs/franchises” are getting money out of it so they will support to their dying breath the corruption seeing youth development here tanked to allow back handers from foreign recruitment.

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  23. 1. Take the points 2 penalties and say a drop goal 9 v 5. England managed a game with 3 pointers and were comfortable winners. We did not need to try and outmuscle ireland from the onset, tries are not everything. Poor game management (but also ireland were pure class)

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  24. With respect George Haley our lineout has been a bombscare since we lost Dan to Ulster n been atrocious in this tourney so taking the 3 each time was a no brainer. Beating a team doesn’t mean you have to go for 7 every play. We might have put doubt in their minds by taking the easy points. They’ve dominated us for years at lineouts….even without a hooker in last 6n ffs.

  25. This and the South African game puts into sharp contrast where Scotland as a rugby playing nation currently sits. We were clueless and toothless this evening. A long way from being ‘the best ever Scotland team’ as some have described them. Many observers moaned about being in the pool of death, but did not see that we had the opportunity to prove our worth against the 2 top ranked teams. We fell well short and got what we deserved in an early plane ride home for the second World Cup running. I firmly believe Scotland cannot reach the next level of performance required under Townsend and it was a mistake to renew his contract prior to the World Cup. He has given us some memorable wins but more often than not these are usually followed by a disappointing performance in the next game. There are a few players that have played their last game for Scotland tonight, but the worry is where are the players that are going to take their positions. No strength in depth from Glasgow or Edinburgh, and an age group system that delivers players unable to compete with Uruguay at U20 level. Club Rugby in Scotland is struggling with a decline in playing numbers which appears to be accelerating with some previously successful teams unable to raise a second XV. Somehow this has to be turned around before rugby becomes a minority sport in this country. I make no apologies for being the purveyor of doom but Scottish Rugby has fallen way behind in the professional era and unfortunately I don’t think we have the people in Murrayfield that can turn it around.

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    • Murrayfield 84-90 you could not have hit the nail on the head harder or more accurately if you tried again for a decade sadly

    • Just to rub some context on this….Stewart Melville couldn’t fulfill their fixture this weekend in Nat2…..same league that had to supply teams to S6 to stop it being embarrassed for not fulfilling fixtures…. before it just well did it again….hmmmm

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    • Rugby is already minority sport in this country and is likely to stay that way without the political will and investment to change things. Vast swathes of the state school sector have never seen a rugby ball and there are still influential dinosaurs out there who pedal rugby as a privileged posh schoolboys sport

  26. 1st thing Ireland are really good and they have an amazing schools goldfish bowl and now winning culture that will probably see them good long into the future. Not sure how or even if Scotland can emulate anything like that. Of course we should try but rugby in Ireland has a few advantages e.g. being the preeminent professional sport which it doesn’t have here.

    From our POV I wonder if our 8 year experiment with 2 opensides should now end. Against weaker teams it can work really well but against the big boys it just leaves us exposed at the breakdown and that was the case today. Crosbie made a significant difference I thought.

    • We choose to have a poor youth structure and deny 99%of our players development rugby at age of 15. At u13 we have as many if not more players than Wales Ireland or Italy. Some folk however make money out of scouting and recruitment outside of Scottish rugby whilst being in integral positions of power in Scottish rugby….

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  27. Pretty disappointed with that but not surprised, in all honesty. Ireland out-muscled and out-thunk us. Not for the want of effort…
    Pretty disgusted with some “experts” on Radio Scotland going on about how our players should be embarrassed. The sight of Darcy Graham just after he’d been subbed should show us all how much they put into this. He looked absolutely burst. Kinghorn looked badly stunned and Jamie Ritchie was in bits. The stats show just how much of a shift they all put in, but they lacked cohesion and, I think, belief. Och well. Four more years… 🙄

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  28. Congratulations to Ireland on their win, they are a fine side, probably the best indeed to come from the Emarald Isle. Conversely, this is not the best Scotland team. I’d say it’s one of the best crop of players we’ve had – but team, no. And if a team are not functioning to optimum level it raises questions around coaching, and not just Townsend – Dalziel, Mooar; further still, youth, grassroots, schools et al, not to mention development systems. That is not to say all coaches in Scotland are sub-standard: they are most definitely not, and it’s actually fresh ideas we need moving forward. Townsend’s had his time.

    One part we really need to look at off-field is our conduct and what is being said. If any opponent needs ammunition Scotland truly are the gift who keep giving. Time and time again we hear about “something special” brewing, we heard what Kinghorn said and we heard this firing all our shots stuff. This talk ought to be kept among the group. Show us, don’t talk about it!

    On-field I feel we attack from far too deep, worse still, often stationary. It’s fine if you’re NZ because they have the skillset, the speed, the offloading, the accuracy to pull it off. We don’t, and consistently so. The result: good teams like Ireland see what’s developing a mile off. If anything we should have more faith in our players to crash and straighten up. Not every play has to be rabbits outta hats, Harlem Globetrotters stuff. I feel the Irish media and a chunk of their support have been verging on unpleasant in the build-up to this game tonight but they nevertheless have a point at times in what they say. They see us as a flashy, fairweather but psychologically fragile team and, well, can we really argue otherwise? I’d rather be winning than aspiring to romantic idée fixes of how the game should be played.

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  29. With all the possession we had perhaps the ‘cunning plan’ Ireland had was to let us have the ball and see what we could do with it, certainly not much in the first half the difference when Ireland had the ball was, well look at the first half score line, then look at the Stats and it is obvious they were clinical at taking their chances. Far too often our defense was too narrow I thought offering Ireland the opportunity to put the ball out wide.
    Several aspects of the first half went against us, the early try then the extended attacks in their 25 that came nothing, the criticism from the panel for not taking the points to make it 5-6 – I’m not sure, we had to score tries in order to progress and that in the early stages was no doubt the thought for going to the corner, and kicking a couple of penalties when it was clear that we couldn’t convert the possession and pressure in the 25 in to points other than 3 off the Tee was never going to worry Ireland.
    Some of the decisions from the officials were bizarre, [as ever] the clear foot in touch clearly shown on the replay seemed to be ignored. That the TMO said ‘it was ok’ could well have been the slightly later kick from the 25 which in itself looked as if the Ireland player was outside the 25, very messy but there again the officiating at this World Cup has been way short of what should be expected.
    Tripping Sexton, what an idiot it wasn’t even subtle, as if it wasn’t hard enough to compete with 15 on the field, and not impressed at the apparent lack of contrition as Smith smiling as he left the field leaving his ‘mates’ down a player, in some respects if your close enough to trip them you are close enough to compete in the chase.
    But hey! We won the 2nd half.

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    • We had loads of possession but not very much space because Ireland were stronger over the ball and more accurate at the breakdown than we are.

    • Agree re poor officiating with the clear foot in touch exacerbated by kick after being out side 22….but taking the kicks and being 6-5 ahead might have changed the narrative and put Irish under pressure. Sadly though we picked exactly the 9 that Ireland would have been delighted with rather than our best one. Price sold first try withing 20 seconds and his service was like a week in jail for rest of match which killed Finn n rest of backline…as everyone outside of GT saw.

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      • As I suggested 3 pointers, in my opinion, wouldn’t worry this Irish side whereas a couple of tries would, so going for it was as it was early doors the way to go, showed intent, sadly the intent didn’t materialise.

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    • George, Smith was trying to retrieve the ball to take a line out, and Sexton kicked it away. Smith was an idiot to react, but no action against Sexton? Of course he is a protected species…

  30. Can’t see Townsend sticking around after this showing .
    Embarrassing .
    Out muscled .
    Out thought .
    Out everythinged.
    Waiting for his spiel about seeing the positives .there were none
    The end for him and a lot of bummed up players found wanting .
    Dodson will fix this with all his Super 6 players waiting to fill the shirts in the Scottish squad …Yeh right

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    • He’s got a 3 year contract extension. He won’t go anywhere until someone clears out the Dodson cabal. They have years left stealing money from Scottish rugby n killing our development system…too many folk making serious money out of Scottish rugby failing…you only have to look at some of the defenders on this site who go after anyone doubting the establishment view….

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    • You can’t be right…. apparently people criticising Dodson and GT don’t know what they are talking about and this is in fact the best Scotland team ever….it’s only our negative thinking that has stopped us winning slams n WCs….fair play tho to picking Price….he only took 20 seconds to aimlessly kick the ball back to Ireland for their first try. It’s important to be efficient. GT has delivered precisely the failure that was seen from a mile out and we have extended his contract thanks to a failure of a CEO. Einstein talking about madness and repeating conditions of experiments is apparently alien to Murrayfield. GT and everyone above must go. We are stalling and by next RWC we won’t be able to buy foreign players to mitigate for the total shambles of youth development. Took Irish 20 years to turnaround a total mess….and they started by being honest. The usual suspects on here won’t accept honestly sadly and are preventing us from even getting to that start point.

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      • Have to agree with the Price comment. The amount of times we take a kick off and just aimlessly kick the ball back to the opposition is incredible. Price is a repeat offender. Instantly puts Ireland on the front foot .

        Look at how France or Ireland take a kickoff. Secure the ball and leather it into touch.

        This infuriates me. Kick off, box kick, and we either knock on or give the impetus to the opposition.

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    • Naah it wasnt that bad, we just came up against a better team at the top of their game.

      Can happen.

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      • It’s happened an awful lot in RWC…..going thru last 3….we have beaten USA Samoa Romania Tonga Russia and a Japan side that was gubbed after a 3 day turnaround from SA heroics….we haven’t beaten a tier 1 side in last 3 RWC whilst Japanese have beaten SA us n Ireland. Fiji have beat OZ n should have beaten Wales at this one if it wasn’t for corrupt refereeing. Portugal gave decent sides more of a fright than we did. This is a long term downward spiral under (thanks to SRU) millionaire Dodson.

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  31. Gilchrist is not international class, and never has been. Easy to say with hindsight, but Harris was sorely needed in defence. To stand a chance we needed our back row (in particular) to step-up and protect our rucks. They didn’t. Dempsey and Darge were anonymous. Tuipolotu, Duhan and Finn did their best, but too many weak links currently. That moment of petulance by Smith summed it up. The fact he was grinning as he walked off only made it more egregious.
    I hope NZ bring O’Mahoney and Sexton down a peg or two.

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  32. Outplayed though a few crucial 50/50 decisions early on just didn’t go our way which may have changed the momentum. Odds were always slanted against us with having to win by x points.

    I personally wouldn’t mind if Ireland went on to win the thing.

    Scotland looked blunt up until the last 20. Ireland clinical.

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