Wednesday 21 February 2018

Scotland's Tim Swinson admits that a lot of soul-searching needed after Ireland defeat

Tim Swinson, Scotland, wins possession for his side in a lineout against Ireland yesterday
Tim Swinson, Scotland, wins possession for his side in a lineout against Ireland yesterday

Andy Newport

Scotland forward Tim Swinson admits the defeated Dark Blues face a week of soul-searching before they take on England.

Scott Johnson's side lost their opening RBS 6 Nations clash 28-6 to Ireland after starting off brightly at the Aviva Stadium before fading.

It was a familiar story for the visitors in Dublin - a city where they had won just once in their previous seven attempts before Sunday. They worked themselves into promising positions but made a mess of their attempts to cross the whitewash at crucial moments.

And they played their part in the Irish success, missing 17 tackles as well as handing Joe Schmidt's side 11 penalties to all but present the home side with the win.

The match was Glasgow second-rower Swinson's debut in the tournament but he admits the Scots have to face up to their weaknesses and try to rectify them quickly before the Auld Enemy visit next Saturday.

He said: "It was not a good result for us and there was quite a big gap between the sides.

"There were some positives that we can look back to but we can't hide from the fact there is a lot we need to work on.

"There were spells in both the first half and the second half where we looked like a good side who could beat any of the other sides in the Six Nations.

"But then there were obviously times when we didn't do anything like that.

"We need to find that consistency in our performances that will improve our results and allow us to win games.

"We will review that game but there will be a lot of soul-searching. We will look at what we did wrong and hope to improve on that because it doesn't get bigger than England at Murrayfield and we have to put up a better fight."

Scotland were matching the hosts up until the final stages of the first half when Andrew Trimble found himself free on the right to dart past a disorganised Dark Blues defence.

Jamie Heaslip and Rob Kearney added further scores in the second half as Ireland streaked ahead for a comprehensive win that showed up the Scot's inexperience.

As well as Swinson, three other Scots - Alex Dunbar, Duncan Taylor and Ryan Wilson - made their tournament bows.

Glasgow fly-half Duncan Weir, meanwhile, was chosen to start in the crucial number 10 role head of club-mate Ruaridh Jackson despite being just 22 years old and only nine caps into his international career.

The Scotstoun stand-off showed glimpses of being able to play pro-actively as Johnson has asked but the youngster admits the Irish's big-game nous was the difference between the sides.

"The Irish are a strong side and have got a lot of experienced players in the pack and in the backs," said Weir. "They have that knowledge and wisdom needed to take the opportunities that come along.

"We had a young back line and we just didn't sneak in when we created those opportunities.

"It was a tough lesson for us. Look at the Andrew Trimble try. It was nothing clever, just quick hands to the wide channel and then they squeezed over. We need to learn to stop that happening.

"We did create chances but it's about being clinical in those moments."

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