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Mick Galwey: 'If Ireland play like that against Wales, we will lose – and it won't even be close'

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Ireland players celebrate at the final whistle during the Guinness Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Photo: Donall Farmer/PA Wire

Ireland players celebrate at the final whistle during the Guinness Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Photo: Donall Farmer/PA Wire

PA

Ireland players celebrate at the final whistle during the Guinness Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Photo: Donall Farmer/PA Wire

Well, we won. But what else is there to remember from Saturday's game?

Ireland never played with any fluency in the Aviva Stadium last night against Scotland.

There was the odd glimpse of what new coach Andy Farrell might be trying to bring to the party, with little flicks, long passes to make space and high kicks that wingers can chase.

But too often last night Ireland just got drawn into scrapping it out with their visitors.

What we should have been doing more often was getting the ball wide to Andrew Conway and Jacob Stockdale, with Jordan Larmour coming in support.

That was when Ireland looked good and looked dangerous.

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Ireland's Johnny Sexton scores the first try during the Guinness Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin.

Ireland's Johnny Sexton scores the first try during the Guinness Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin.

PA

Ireland's Johnny Sexton scores the first try during the Guinness Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin.

But far too often in this match all we tried to do was head into contact.

The Scots were well up for any physical showdown and Ireland suffered plenty of injuries.

Cian Healy must have been dizzy from jumping up off the bench – as he had to come on again and again in the second half.

To be fair, two of the injuries, to Caelan Doris and Dave Kilcoyne, came about through accidental clashes of heads and there was nothing anyone could have done about that.

We were wondering why Peter O'Mahony was put on the bench for this one.

Well, Farrell certainly got that call right.

All of O'Mahony's vast experience came in handy when he had to come into the match after just four minutes for the so-unlucky Doris.

It would have been very hard for another, younger player, to have come into the game in those circumstances.

O'Mahony was just the perfect Johnny-on-the-spot.

And speaking of Johnny, well scoring all the points is one way to mark your first evening as the official Ireland captain.

Ireland's out-half led from the front at all times and showed typical bravery in the tackle.

His decision-making in open play was as excellent as ever, but he'll have to be wondering if he'll have a new partner against the Welsh at the Aviva next Saturday because replacement scrum-half John Cooney was very lively when he came on and must be forcing the door down in the battle to get that starting Ireland shirt.

Whether the coaching staff opt for changes for the Welsh match may hang on Ireland's injury situation.

If any of Doris, Garry Ringrose or Kilcoyne are able to recover within the week and start against Wales, it will give Farrell a wealth of options.

And he will want to have them for this was an Irish display of doggedness rather than class and panache.

The first half was scrappy in the extreme.

Ireland could develop no rhythm to their play, kicking the ball away and not looking to impose themselves on the Scots.

Eight of our starting team play for Leinster and you'd wonder where the flowing rugby those lads play in blue was on Saturday?

Are the lads told to play a certain way, the percentage way? Keep in tight, grind it out and then open things out when the opposition starts to tire.

Yet Leinster just go at teams. They take them on and make them make mistakes.

For long spells of this Six Nations game Ireland just played into Scotland’s hands – Scots' coach Gregor Townsend couldn't have asked for Ireland to do more for him.

We should have been trying to open the game out, not hammering into bodies around the fringes.

Scotland are good at that tight, tackling, game, why did we give them what they wanted?

There's work to be done for next Saturday. Ireland have to be a lot better against a Welsh side that got its own Six Nations off to a fine start against Italy on Saturday.

One thing is for sure, if Ireland play like that against the Dragons, we will lose – and it won't even be close.

But then the Irish players will know that and I expect to see them take a step up the next time out.

We can beat Wales, and we will, if we step up and are much sharper and play to our strengths.

Online Editors


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