Tuesday 20 March 2018

Reddan hails Irish mettle in holding nerve under fire

Hugh Farrelly

WHILE Ireland's penalty count has dominated analysis of their 21-18 victory over Scotland on Sunday, scrum-half Eoin Reddan preferred to focus on the positive aspects of their Murrayfield experience.

Declan Kidney's side scored three tries and conceded none, with Reddan, starting his first international since the defeat to New Zealand last November, crossing for the second touchdown under the posts after good work from Jamie Heaslip off the scrum.

It was the Limerick man's first try in 27 appearances for Ireland and he could not contain his jubilation afterwards.

"It's great to get one," said Reddan. "It is every boy's dream growing up to score a try for Ireland so it was nice. Jamie did all the hard work, there was no one there so it was an opportunity.

"There were positives to review when we sit down and have a look at it. It is an away win in Scotland. Last year we lost at home so there are always good positives as well.

"Obviously, it could have been more comfortable. We scored three tries, we gave away penalties, we made it hard; we were two scores ahead and we didn't chase the game as hard as we could have. Because of that, it was always going to be a closer game than it should have been."

Ireland were clinging on in the final few minutes as the Scots came in search of a match-winning try. It was a nervous finish to the game, with Paul O'Connell playing a key role by securing three turnovers under pressure and Reddan believes the experience in the Irish ranks shone through when needed most.


"The last 10 minutes, it was key that we didn't give any penalties away," said Reddan (right). "We showed a lot of mettle there not to. The key in that situation is you have to make sure whoever you are playing against earns their points; that it is doesn't become a soft draw or a soft loss.

"Everyone was on their mettle for the last 10 minutes, we defended very well and competed well at the line-out, where there was a key turnover. We did very well -- Paulie winning that line-out at a key point, then we got another key turnover.

"We were good at the breakdown at that stage so we will be focusing on what we did right in the last 10 minutes as opposed to what went wrong at other times and bring that into the next game."

Ireland travel to Cardiff in two weeks' time and, while Reddan was steadfastly upbeat about Sunday's victory, he conceded that there are areas they have to improve on if they are to defeat the Welsh, accepting that the three tries to none statistic should have resulted in a far more comprehensive victory.

"Definitely," said Reddan. "The half-time message was, 'more of the same', keep playing field position, keep playing position and go after them.

"You get a bit of a buzz out of it (scoring tries), you should get to play a bit more and put on more pressure. We haven't done that."

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport