Saturday, 10 March 2007

Result Scotland 18 - Ireland 19

Every action has an equal and opposite re-action. From the heights of thumping victory against England it seems Ireland found it difficult to pick themselves up and gain the motivation against Scotland. Knowledge that the Grand slam was lost, suspecting that France would beat England and beating Scotland would only result in another Triple crown, which these set of players had won 3 times in since 2003, meant Ireland didn't have much to play for. Scotland battled on with an "active defense", as I discussed in the preview and nearly caused an upset with Ireland playing a few percent off their normal game. This time round Scotland took their penalties and and kept the score board moving, putting pressure on Ireland to score and stop giving away penalties. If Scotland could have stopped giving away penalties and kicked the ball away quicker to prevent another kick being charged down for a try, they would have stood a chance of a famous victory.

Lack of celebration of the Irish team showed lack of motivation for triple crown, as it's the championship/Grand Slam they want. With England winning against France the points difference becomes vital and good win against Scotland would have given them the edge going into the last weekend.

Ireland seem to struggle against weaker opponents and when playing away from home. Against the Welsh they nearly came unstuck and against the Scottish it nearly happened again. Against the French they took their eye off the ball and only against the English with a game of huge historic importance did they play to their full potential.

Facing the Italians on Saturday in Rome, plus being the first game in the final weekend I don't believe they will have the necessary mind set to score enough points to secure the championship. I fancy the Italians may even spring a surprise against the Irish if the play the right kind of game. More of this in my Preview post for Italy v Ireland.

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