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Scotland Gain Back Some Credibility
Posted Mar 03, 2011 by Shaun Edwards
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Following two previous and fairly miserable defeats, all eyes were on Murrayfield to see exactly how Scotland would react to their Six Nations campaign seemingly disappearing down the toilet. As it turns out, they reacted superbly in what was an excellent match with an Irish side who were also seeking to gain the maximum points.
The atmosphere at Murrayfield can sometimes be a little questionable, but by the end of this enthralling match it resembled a powder keg, the locals roaring their nation along to what was a superb comeback by a Scots team that fought back skilfully and powerfully despite having seemingly run out of energy by the end of the third quarter.
Dan Parks – who had actually been dropped following the defeats to France and Wales - came on during the 54th minute and seemed to give his team-mates a shot of adrenaline on his way to scoring both a drop goal and a penalty that so nearly gave Scotland what would have been a deeply impressive win. It was only a solid last-gap rearguard action from the Irish that prevented them achieving it.
Despite the excellent performance, though, it seems a legitimate worry that the Scots have now gone eight matches at home without actually scoring a try. No, it doesn’t technically matter where the points come from as long as they do, but if their kickers have a bad day, that leaves the Scots in a bit of bother. It is a point that Andy Robinson will need to rectify if he wants his team to improve their general standing in world rugby.
Ireland for their part will also be concerned, simply by the fact that they let a 21-9 lead slide so much, with Paterson clipping over his fourth penalty in addition to Park’s excellent final quarter performance. The Irish didn’t seem to quite register that their lead was rapidly shrinking until the Scots had reached 18, and it was only then that they summoned up the concentration to avoid an embarrassing defeat.
Whilst Scotland still haven’t won in the tournament, it’ll be consoling to know that they have at least introduced some form of quality to their rugby in advance of their fixture against England.