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Furlong to the fore in Six Nations win

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Tadhg Furlong is tackled by Jamie Ritchie and Hamish Watson

Tadhg Furlong is tackled by Jamie Ritchie and Hamish Watson

SPORTSFILE

Tadhg Furlong is tackled by Jamie Ritchie and Hamish Watson

It is one thing to win your opening Six Nations Championship game, but Tadhg Furlong had another reason to be satisfied with his afternoon's work as it showed that he has returned to his best form.

Some had doubted Furlong's play in recent times with Leinster, but he celebrated Ireland's 19-12 victory over Scotland in the Aviva Stadium with what head coach Andy Farrell described as an 'astonishing display'.

Given the high attrition rate during the course of the game, with the Irish front row coming under severe pressure through the inter-changing of players, Furlong played out almost the entire game, locking down the scrum despite the pressure being exerted by the Scots' front five.

While Farrell is left to reflect on his injury count ahead of next Saturday's game at home to Wales, he still found time to praise some individual performances.

'I thought he was great,' he said, referring to C.J. Stander's man of the match performance. 'I thought Josh van der Dlier made great yards in attack as well.'

Referring to Furlong, the coach said: 'when you see Tadhg Furlong with his head up and struggling to get over the gainline and then suddenly he has got three players on his back, I think you can see the fight that's throughout the pack.

Furlong played almost 70 minutes, was superb in the loose in curbing the late Scottish surge. It was a superb all-round display from the tight head.

For Furlong it was the thankless task of his role, doing what had to be done at the scrum, at close quarters and on the fringes, which left little time for the footballer's instinct to break out. But Furlong was immense throughout, particularly in those final minutes when Ireland were pinned back on their own line.

It was inspirational to watch the former New Ross player have such an impact on what was a hugely physical game.

Meanwhile, Ireland started their Under-20 Grand Slam defence with an impressive 38-26 victory over Scotland in Independent Park on Friday evening.

Ireland enjoyed a strong start, moving into an early 14-5 lead, with the display of second row Brian Deeny of particular interest to Wexford fans.

The result was never in doubt following that bright start, but there was a lot to like about the display of Deeny.

The former Wexford Minor footballer, who came up through the Wexford Wanderers ranks, was a powerhouse in the pack, showing his aerial ability in the line-out, while his quick hands and short, sharp bursts helped created so much space for his outside players.

Deeny maintained a huge consistency throughout.

Online Editors