Ireland 32 - 14 Scotland
Ireland had a significantly strong start to the game. But it wasn't without it's challenges. The Irish team had lost it's first two captains due to injury. With Brian O'Driscoll and Paul O'Connell on the bench, many critics thought the team would fall apart. This is something Ireland's lock, Donnch O'Callaghan recognised going in to last weekend's match:
'It's important that when there's a bit of a void, other people step up and that's what happened throughout the team against Scotland'
Ireland was not short of stars during the game. Captain Rory Best, Eoin Reddan and Andrew Trimble all scored tries in the first half, securing a strong lead for Ireland going into the second half.
Stepping up to the captaincy must have been daunting for Rory Best. But he kept calm and issued a thoughtful game plan. His early decision to kick to the corner instead of trying for three points was a risky manoeuvre. But Best followed the thought through, which resulted in the first try of the game and set the pace for the remainder.
Most importantly, his team had confidence in him. Ireland's blindside flanker, Stephen Ferris outlines this:
'I think his leadership from day one in the camp, all those weeks ago alongside Paul O'Connell [former captain], has been great. He's helped out Paul in the last numbers of the weeks and he was the perfect man to come in there and lead us out there today'
But the moment of the match came from Richie Gray, who ended a 30 metre run to the line with a try. A tight second half was out to rest with a try from Fergus McFadden, which secured the win for Ireland.
Rory Best was very pleased with the final result especially because 'to score 32 points against the Scottish team you take a lot of confidence into next week', when Ireland meets England at Twickenham. It will certainly be a St. Patrick's Day to remember.
For coach Declan Kidney, Saturday's win is an opportunity to measure Ireland's progress:
'I think our decision-making is getting better all the time, when to move it, when to play position, we are asking more questions of the opposition'
The celebrations will be short as preparation for next Saturday's match begins. Like The Wild Geese, the team will be looking toward the nation they represent.
'This team is super professional. Other people in Ireland are working harder than we are. Why shouldn't we work hard?'
Congratulations to the entire team for a very impressive win!