Scotland 27-22 Ireland: Scots win Murrayfield epic in Six Nations
By Tony Tighe
Last Updated: 05/02/17 12:57pm
Scotland began the Six Nations with a victory for the first time since 2006 after a thrilling 27-22 win over Ireland at Murrayfield.
Vern Cotter's side stormed out of the blocks at Murrayfield and scored three tries in the opening 29 minutes, with Stuart Hogg crossing for a brilliant double and Alex Dunbar touching down from a slick lineout move.
All Ireland had to show for bags of possession and a dominant scrum was a Keith Earls try and Paddy Jackson penalty as they trailed 21-8 at the interval, but they dominated after the restart.
Iain Henderson cut the gap on 47 minutes before Jackson gave his side the lead when he ran a brilliant line to take Conor Murray's pass and stretch out to score.
But Scotland dug deep to produce a late rally and Laidlaw slotted two penalties to clinch victory.
In a game of twists of turns, Jackson's try on 62 minutes gave Ireland the lead and looked to put them on course for victory.
However, Scotland hit back and Jamie Heaslip was penalised twice for failing to roll away at the breakdown, allowing Laidlaw to kick his side to victory.
Try of the match
When Scotland stuck two backs at the front of a lineout on 28 minutes and stacked their forwards at the tail, Ireland's pack expected a catch and drive.
But they were caught napping as Fraser Brown's quick throw sent Dunbar over unopposed.
Scotland's defence and breakdown work was outstanding, particularly in the first half with Jonny Gray leading the way. And they were clinical in attack, scoring three superb tries in a 21-minute spell.
Ireland have now conceded three or more tries in their last five Test matches. Their lineout was shaky and they looked ponderous with ball in hand during the opening 40.
Heaslip had a second half to forget, attempting an offload that was never on after Murray had charged down Finn Russell's kick and fed the No 8, before then conceding two late penalties.
Man of the match poll
Stat of the match
28: The number of tackles made by Jonny Gray, twice as many as Ireland's leading tackler Devin Toner.
Scotland head coach Vern Cotter: "I'm really happy for the players that put in so much work. It validates that work.
"It certainly changes the dynamic, to start the Six Nations with a win.
"But it's only one game. I know their feet will be firmly on the ground to make sure we back this up with another good performance."
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt: "We arrived about 15 minutes late to the stadium and we were late for most things all first-half.
"We were sluggish, we got some really good field position in the first half and didn't convert. That was frustrating.
"They got too much room to move, we were sluggish to close that space down and missed a few tackles."