Autumn Nations Cup
Townsend takes positives from Ireland defeat
Satisfied: Gregor Townsend (pic: SNS Group)
Ireland 31 Scotland 16
It’s now 10 years since Scotland last savoured victory in Dublin and the indiscipline his team showed in this latest reverse will have left a bad taste in Gregor Townsend’s mouth.
The Scots’ game plan looked to have been executed perfectly in the first half, that was until Duncan Taylor found himself in the sin bin after 31 minutes.
Trailing thanks to some precision goalkicking from debutant Jaco van der Walt, the hosts had struggled to make inroads into a strong Scottish performance to that point, though the yellow card handed the initiative to the Irish.
Keith Earls went over as the interval approached to give his side a fortunate half-time lead, and he repeated the feat shortly after break after Healy had also crossed the line to turn the game in Ireland’s favour.
Duhan Van der Merwe breathed some life back into the Scots but they were unable to close the gap further with Ireland stretching the lead to consign the Scots to fourth place in what has been a disjointed inaugural Autumn Nations Cup.
“I thought for 30-35 minutes we played very well. But the five minutes before and after half-time they got away from us,” said Townsend, who is reported to be close to signing a new contract.
“Ireland played well, they really upped their game in the second half. We feel we’ve made progress and had a new team nearly every week given injuries but it’s been a good opportunity to build depth.”
Ireland: Stockdale; Keenan, Henshaw, Aki, Earls; Sexton, Murray; Healy, Herring, Porter; Henderson, James Ryan; Stander, O’Mahony, Doris. Replacements: Kelleher, O’Sullivan, John Ryan, Roux, van der Flier, Gibson Park, R Byrne, Farrell.
Scotland: Hogg, Graham, Harris, Taylor, Van der Merwe; Van der Walt, Price; Sutherland, Brown, Z Fagerson; Cummings, Gray; Thomson, Ritchie, M Fagerson. Replacements: Turner, Kebble, Nel, Skinner, Cowan, Hidalgo-Clyne, Jones, Maitland.
Scores: Ireland: Tries – Earls (2), Healy; conversions – Sexton (2); penalties – Sexton (2), Byrne (2). Scotland: Tries – Van der Merwe; conversions – Van der Walt; penalties – Van der Walt (3).