Well, Ireland’s World Cup preparations didn’t get off to a great start, losing the first of their warm-up games to Scotland, 10-6. Scotland seemed the more dynamic of the sides, looking to run the ball, while Ireland concentrated on their defensive game. This meant that Ireland had to keep Scotland from scoring 3 times in the first 15 minutes. It was exciting for a while but the game petered out as a spectacle around the half hour mark, and the only scores came from penalties. Sexton kicking 2 to Chris Paterson’s 1, leaving the half time score at 6-3 to Ireland. The Irish were no more adventurous in the second half, kicking for territory rather than attacking the Scots. This tactic would only really work if Ireland had had more of a lead to defend. With only 3 points in the difference, Scotland were still very much in the game and were winning after scoring a try and conversion a few minutes from the end of the game. There wasn’t enough time for Ireland to score and they lost the match. On a positive note, Rob Kearney looked hungry after his long lay off. And Trimble made some good runs (they were the only real threats in the Irish back-line), although he completely missed a tackle on the Scottish try-scorer. The team did defend well most of the time. But still, Ireland’s performance was very lacklustre. Its early days, but Ireland will need to attack more if they are to have any chance of beating the stronger sides they face. Especially considering that we’re playing France next, who we’ve only beaten once in the last 9 attempts! I would probably bring on Murphy for Kearney (the two full backs should share the warm-up games as they both need match practice). I would bring in Earls as well, either for Wallace or Fitzgerald. Sexton kicked well generally, though he did miss a penalty. O’Leary was alright but did nothing that put him ahead of the other scrum-halves. None of the forwards really cemented their places either. None of them were bad but no-one really put their hand up either. All in all, a competent enough performance. As long as the team know that this is the 1st gear performance. They will turn it up for the bigger opponents.

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