Category: Archive

5 Nations ends in frustration

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Mark Jones

Ireland’s Five Nations rugby season finished in disaster with a depressing 30-13 defeat at the hands of Scotland in Edinburgh last weekend. At the end of a tournament that had begun to promisingly, the Irish wound up with just one win from four games.

Despite a good start with a try after 90 seconds, captain Paddy Johns and his players never looked like breaking a long losing sequence against the Scots.

Ireland haven’t beaten their Celtic rivals since 1988 and they haven’t won at Murrayfield since 1985.

Johns won’t look back on his 50th international cap with much fondness. A David Humphreys penalty had closed the gap to 15-13 midway through the second half, but then the Irish self-destructed in a welter of needless mistakes.

The Scots scored two quick tries through Cameron Murray and Stuart Grimes and Kenny Logan added a penalty to complete the rout. Ireland had gone into decline during the earlier loss against England, but this was the fall.

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For the second game in a row, key players such as Andy Ward, Paul Wallace, Keith Wood and Conor McGuinness failed to perform. The forwards failed to dominate the Scots as had been predicted and behind the scrum, the green defense was torn apart by the brilliant combination of Gregor Townsend and John Leslie.

Scotland were just too quick in thought and mind for an Irish team which looked dispirited and jaded by the end. In fact, only two players, Humphreys and the highly impressive Dion O’Cuinneagain, emerged with any credit.

"We set a goal of finishing third in the championship and I’m disappointed we haven’t achieved that," said coach Warren Gatland. More disappointing, however, was the way the team slipped off its pedestal following some good early season displays.

As England now go for the Grand Slam following a 21-10 triumph over France at Twickenham, Ireland are faced with the realization that 1993 remains the only season in the entire 1990s that they have won more than one game in the Five Nations.

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