Wednesday 24 July 2019

'A really pleasing day' - Ronan O'Gara beams after Ireland show Scotland 'who's boss'

Joey Carbery of Ireland makes a break in the build up to Keith Earls scoring his side's third try during the Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Scotland and Ireland at the BT Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Joey Carbery of Ireland makes a break in the build up to Keith Earls scoring his side's third try during the Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Scotland and Ireland at the BT Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Munster and Ireland legend Ronan O'Gara was delighted with how Ireland ground out a result to hand Scotland their first Six Nations defeat at Murrayfield in three years.

Joey Carbery steered Ireland to a redemptive but patchy 22-13 Guinness Six Nations victory over Scotland, as Joe Schmidt's men edged back to winning ways in Edinburgh.

Johnny Sexton suffered a nasty-looking facial injury as the British and Irish Lions talisman copped a string of big hits from the hosts, leaving Munster fly-half Carbery to pilot Ireland home.

Conor Murray, Jacob Stockdale and Keith Earls all crossed for Ireland, while Sam Johnson replied for Scotland with Greig Laidlaw posting eight points from the boot.

Sexton's understudy Carbery so nearly fluffed his lines when throwing an intercept pass to Finn Russell, who raced on and popped off the ground for Johnson to score.

But the 23-year-old Carbery quickly found his place in the script, wriggling free and lofting out a fine pass for Earls to score the winning try.

Scotland lost Lions full-back Stuart Hogg to a shoulder injury, with Gregor Townsend's men unable to add enough industry to their impressive finesse.

Ireland failed to convince for long stretches in their search for a riposte following last weekend's punishing 32-20 home loss to England.

Scrum-half Murray again struggled with his kicking out of hand, and Sexton only lasted 24 minutes before being withdrawn, with Scotland constantly targeting him physically.

Schmidt's men found the route to victory however, and having been so shaken and bullied by England last week, he will take this win any which way.

Reflecting on the game on Virgin Media Sport, O'Gara said:  "A really pleasing day I think. I think Sean O'Brien was immense, the scrum blitzed them, Rob Kearney had his best running game in an Ireland jersey, Joey Carbery's kicking, Joey Carbery playing consistently for his province and the difference it means to the Irish team when  your quarter-back goes off, Quinn Roux did well, the 23-man effort.

"You've got to grind it out when you at Test level.

"Today wasn't about entertainment.

"Today was about showing who was boss between Ireland and Scotland."

Man of the match Peter O'Mahony put the Irish performance down to the mental fortitude of the squad.

"It says a lot about our character, our fans at home fill the Aviva every time and we let them down last week," he said.

"We have character in this team and that didn't dissolve overnight.

"We get huge confidence from each other. We know how good we are."

Ireland captain Rory Best was pleased with the response to defeat to England.

Best told BBC Sport: "We have a lot of belief in what we are doing and how good a team we are.

"That was a really tough game, and it was tough mentally in the build-up, but we asked for the physical reaction we didn't get last week and by and large we got that.

"It wasn't the most spectacular game of rugby that there ever was but we are very grateful for the win. We had a couple of chances and we took them. We were quite clinical when we had it."

Online Editors

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