Pity that this Six nations have no audience because every entry in Murrayfield would have been worth every last pound. Scotland experienced another drama in Edinburgh, another agonizing duel in which a cross came out. Ireland, a heavyweight despite their recent decline, dashed their hopes of taking the title. After winning in London for the first time since 1983, XV del Cardo let slip a great income against Wales a month ago – in the middle of a break by Covid in France – and could not complete his comeback this Sunday against XV del Trebol. Only France and Wales, who meet next Saturday in Paris, can already win the trophy.
Ireland put the stripes on the table in an impressive start. Jonathan Sexton opened the scoring with a comfortable kick to sticks after his teammates brushed the test on the first pitch of the match. With no time to warm up, the Scottish defense watched a Sexton ball fall in the snow. He was met by Keith Earls and two blue jerseys, Chris Harris and Stuart Hogg; they canceled each other and Robbie Henshaw took advantage of the mess to arrive in second curtain and rehearse. In one breath, 0-8.
The clash of styles was clear between the Irish steel industry, looking for the percussions of its lead and to be played in short spaces, and the Scottish gazelles, happy in the chaos. The greens were in command, strong in the scrum and solid in the air game. So the XV del Cardo needed a real rarity to break the script. Hogg put his body to block an innocent kick from Hugo Keenan and began the gymkhana. The Scotsman 15 kicked the loose oval, which he touched on his own chest before shooting off towards the sticks. He was met by Finn Russell, who dodged a couple of dives from the Irish defense and dodged obstacles as the oval advanced beside him, like a trained mascot, towards the rehearsal.
After the unfortunate set, Ireland took advantage of two local indiscipline to regain the initiative before the break (10-14) after two successful kicks from Sexton while Russell missed his. Small details, big consequences after a first half that will be remembered for the great break of the stocky Irishman Furlong and his 122 kilos often Russell. Indeed, modern strikers do it all.
The Irish locker room exit was once again powerful. The hits from his front were a seismic force and the Scottish defense was finding it increasingly difficult to tackle. Irish courage and your attrition bet grows over time. The XV del Cardo was forced to retreat as if fighting a hurricane wind until Tadhg Beirne set the ball amid a pile of green jerseys. Ireland had moved their dominance to the scoreboard (10-24).
Having it all lost relaxed Scotland, much more comfortable in the role of victim. In those, the rear revved engines and Huw Jones struck like a knife through butter between the last Irish garrison, somewhat shy in the tackle. Russell scored the conversion and put his team to seven before leaving the game looking unfriendly; more pepper in the stormy relationship with his coach, Gregor Townsend.
Ireland, which went from dominating the match to defending rent with its last garrison, had run out of gas and Scotland was improving up front. They held on as best the green jerseys could with a heroic tackle to Van der Merwe, but they only bought time; after endless charges from his forwards, Watson held the oval in a pile of teammates and rivals and tied the game.
The duel would be taken by whoever landed the last blow and Sexton gave it, taking advantage of the Scottish foul after his teammates charged a kick to Ali Price. So much effort to take the fortress to leave the guard post on the first night. Scotland knocks on the door, but does not knock it down.