McFadden on song as scrum troubles spoil Wolfhounds' 'debut' victory
Ireland Wolfhounds 34
Scotland 'A' 19
Ireland's second string began a new life with an old tag by chalking up a useful victory over a strong Scotland 'A' side at Ravenhill.
The Wolfhounds may be noted for exhibition rugby in days of yore, but they showed plenty of bite against a vastly experienced visiting outfit, particularly in the first half.
Gavin Duffy was very impressive at full-back, with the trio of Shane Jennings, Chris Henry and Dan Tuohy a magnificent back-row unit. Fergus McFadden showed up well in midfield and picked up a couple of tries for good measure.
The Irish front-row had troubles in the tight, with Marcus Horan exchanging pleasantries with Euan Murray throughout the game. The Munster man collected a yellow card at the death following another wayward scrum.
With five minutes gone, the home side conjured up a fine opening try. Tony Buckley made up for an earlier spill to bludgeon his way upfield, with Jennings finding Darren Cave, who then gave skipper Henry a run-in to the line.
Humphreys banged over the conversion and then tagged on a 35-metre penalty 10 minutes later.
McFadden was in the thick of things to score the Wolfhounds second score. Devin Toner stole Scottish possession in midfield and as the ball whizzed across the backline, McFadden executed an exquisite inside pass to Duffy, who repaid the kindness by given the inside centre a clear path to the line.
Humphreys added the extras and just flicked the wrong side of the upright with a snap drop goal before half-time.
A punch by Toner earned him a spell in the sin bin early in the second half, and Ireland found themselves under extreme pressure. Horan was having trouble at a seven-man scrum near his own line, and while he was querying the penalty against him, Scotland took a tap penalty and flanker Jim Eddie crashed in at the corner.
Duffy then fielded a high ball on his 10-metre line before sprinting 30 metres to release McFadden who touched down in the 56th minute.
Scotland grabbed a try in the 67th minute through Michael Robertson, but Ireland bounced back as Isaac Boss started the move from a turnover with a break and loopy pass to Johne Murphy, who then supplied the return pass to the replacement scrum-half for his side's fourth try. Murphy finished off a flowing move in the corner in injury-time.
Ireland Wolfhounds -- G Duffy; J Murphy, D Cave, F McFadden (K Matthews 57), I Dowling; I Humphreys (I Keatley 68), P Stringer (I Boss 64); M Horan, S Cronin (N Brady 64), T Buckley (M Ross 64); R Caldwell, D Toner (E O'Donoghue 76), D Tuohy, S Jennings (N Ronan 68), C Henry.
Scotland A -- J Thompson; N Walker (M Robertson 63), B Cairns, N De Luca (R Dewey 68), J Houston; R Jackson (F McKenzie 74), M Blair (Capt, G Laidlaw 57); J Welsh (K Traynor 57), D Hall (A Kelly 66), E Murray; S MacLeod (C Hamilton 57), J Hamilton; J Eddie, R Grant, S Gray.
Ref -- P Gauzere (FFR).