Saturday 16 December 2017

No excuses

Frustrated D’Arcy tells Ireland team-mates to be ‘harder on themselves’ to cut costly penalty count

Gordon D'Arcy. Photo: Getty Images
Gordon D'Arcy. Photo: Getty Images

Hugh Farrelly

NO excuses. That was the message from Ireland's Gordon D'Arcy in relation to Ireland's near disastrous penalty count against Scotland, but the centre believes the team's problems "are rectifiable".

Ireland conceded 13 penalties in Murrayfield, bringing their tournament tally to 37, and despite scoring three tries to none conceded, it allowed Scotland to notch up 18 points through the kicking of Chris Paterson and substitute Dan Parks.

That left Declan Kidney's side clinging on for a three-point win when they had been 21-9 ahead with nearly half an hour left.

"We can't make excuses for giving away penalties; we've got to be harder on ourselves," said D'Arcy.

"It's nothing new, it's not rocket science. In previous years we were the most disciplined team in the world but scored just one try, yet won by the same margin.

"Without a shadow of a doubt it's rectifiable. Composure was a big thing against Scotland because nobody panicked," he added.

"When it mattered there were no penalties, no infringements, so that begs the question: why didn't we do that for the other 70 minutes?"

Ireland play Wales in Cardiff on Saturday week but some of the squad will play next weekend, including out-half Jonathan Sexton, who was dropped for man of the match Ronan O'Gara against Scotland.

Sexton is set to line out for Leinster in their Magners League clash with the Scarlets on Friday night.

Leinster expect to discover today if they will be able to pick Sexton, but they should have fellow Ireland internationals Fergus McFadden and Leo Cullen back, while Scotland's versatile forward Nathan Hines could also line out for Joe Schmidt's men.

Irish Independent

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