Scotland go down fighting in wasted chance campaign

Scotland go down fighting in wasted chance campaign

Ireland 17-13 Scotland: 'Unpredictable Scotland go down fighting in wasted chance campaign'

For much of the last 40 minutes at the Aviva, Scotland resembled a fighter on the ropes - pummelled but refusing to go down, surviving on instinct and pride.

In Rome last week these same players folded under the pressure, but this was the other side of their split personality. This was belligerence and incredible cussedness.

If Scotland's accuracy in attack deserted them - the sloppiness in possession was again a curse - it is hard to remember such a prolonged period of assaults on the Scottish line met with such resistance.

The tackle count was astronomical, the aggression through the roof. Tadhg Furlong denied. Calvin Nash denied. Garry Ringrose denied. Robbie Henshaw denied.

Houdini would have applauded some of the escapology out there while scratching his head over Scotland constantly inviting Ireland on to them after daft errors.

Long before the final minutes, Scotland had crashed through the 200 barrier in terms of tackles made. Most of the Scots were into double figures on the stats. Their survival technique was almost surreal at times.

There were Irish gripes about Furlong's try not being awarded and George Turner's head-on-head with Furlong not being punished and both were legitimate. There were Scottish gripes about Andrew Porter's game-breaking score being awarded and that was legitimate, too. There looked to be Irish obstruction in that move.

This was the third meeting of these nations in a year. Unlike in Paris in the autumn, when Scotland were trounced early, and Murrayfield in the spring of last year when they fell away late on, this was resilience from start to finish. Scotland lost, but at least they turned up.

They gifted Ireland seven points in what proved to be a four-point game, but their doggedness was beyond dispute. And right at the end there was a hint of a sensation, a suggestion of a rope-a-dope that would have made the Rumble in the Jungle look like a warm-up routine.

Ireland, by their standards, were unimpressive, so that has to be factored in, too. That's 10 in a row over Scotland now, though.

In quality terms, this ranks pretty low on that list, but nobody in green would have been all that bothered. Peter O'Mahony, possibly making his last appearance for his country, called it a career highlight.




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