Ireland hold on to beat Scotland at Murrayfield

Ireland held out a determined Scotland team to win 18-21 at Murrayfield in the Six nations on Sunday.

Ireland outscored Scotland by three tries to none but Chris Paterson kept Scotland in the game with his four penalties and then Dan Parks weighed in with another penalty and a drop goal.

A superb performance from veteran fly-half Ronan O’Gara inspired Ireland in the Six Nations at Murrayfield on Sunday.

Recalled to win his 106th cap, the 33-year-old Munster tactician scored 11 points with a try and three conversions to go alongside first half tries from Jamie Heaslip and Eoin Reddan.

Irish generosity on the penalty count kept Scotland in the game with Chris Paterson sending over 15 points with the boot and Dan Parks adding a drop goal.

The win keeps Ireland’s championship hopes alive while Scotland are now staring down the barrel of a likely Wooden Spoon showdown with Italy having lost three in a row.

O’Gara – who took his international points total to 998 – said that he had seen some good and some bad stuff in the 2009 Grand Slam winners play.

“It was very tight, but that has been our tournament so far with just one score difference in all three matches (13-11 win over Italy and a 25-22 defeat by France),” said the 106-times capped O’Gara, a two-time European Cup winner with Munster.

“In the end it comes down to one’s tactics and one’s intensity. We were very good at times today and at others we were very poor.

“These days I treat test rugby differently. I am a family man and I no longer go on to the pitch with the feeling that I have the weight of a nations expectations on my shoulders.

“As someone told me its not what you’ve done it whats you you have still to do and I am far from finished.”

Scotland coach Andy Robinson was left fuming that despite conceding 12 penalties the Irish had not had one player sin-binned.

“With the penalty count there should have been (the Scots only gave away four),” said the former England coach.

“I was pleased with our attitude and commitment and the skills are improving so we have a lot to build on and to work on.”

Ireland applied the early pressure following a fine O’Gara cross-field kick over the head of Chris Paterson and into the corner.

The Irish pack was held up short of the line, before Heaslip darted over on an offload from Rory Best to put the visitors 7-0 ahead after six minutes.

Scotland were struggling to make much headway down the middle, but a break by Nikki Walker down the right wing after 16 minutes took them into the Irish 22m.

The Irish forwards then went offside at a ruck, and Paterson stepped forward to nail a perfect kick from near the touchline.

Two minutes later, Ireland offended again at a ruck as Scotland drove down the middle and again Paterson made no mistake from 40 yards out with the penalty.

O’Gara narrowly missed with a penalty attempt for Ireland, but he pinned Scotland back again with another inch-perfect kick deep into the Scottish 22m.

Scotland made a hash of the ensuing line-out and were forced into conceding a five-metre scrum from which Heaslip’s drive found scrum-half Reddan at his shoulder to scamper in under the posts.

O’Gara’s conversion made it 14-6 for Ireland after 29 minutes with the visitors enjoying most of the possession and territorial advantage.

More Irish indiscipline two minutes later, however, allowed Paterson to cut the lead to six points with a 38-metre penalty.

Ireland continued to look the more potent attacking force as the second half opened and when Scotland prop Allan Jacobsen was sin-binned after 44 minutes, the Scots were struggling to hold on.

Ireland were comfortably finding the gaps in the Scottish line, with two charging runs from flanker Sean O’Brien to the fore, but were failing to turn their domination into points.

All that

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