IT’S been a long time coming, but back-to-back wins in the RBS 6 Nations on Sunday at Murrayfield tasted very sweet.
Captain Kelly Brown said that we should celebrate the fact, but not for long! And he is right, because we never should have won that game. I hate to rain on the parade, but Ireland outplayed us and then did everything in their power to throw the game away.
Against Italy the stats were also poor, but we had four chances gifted to us and we took them all. We didn’t get any try-scoring chances from Ireland, but our rare visits to the Irish 22 – and we didn’t visit that part of the pitch until the 50 minute mark – saw us coming away with four penalties thanks to the accurate boot of Greig Laidlaw.
Scotland have always led the field with world-class kickers. Andy Irvine, Gavin Hastings, Chris Paterson and now Laidlaw have won their fair share of games for us. But Ireland’s new cap Paddy Jackson showed us on Sunday that it doesn’t always go your way. He had a nightmare debut in that department, missing three kicks, and that contributed to our win.
Our attitude, in scrapping for everything and fighting to the death, is admirable, but it’s exactly what fans expect from everyone who pulls on the Scotland jersey.
At 8-0 down, we could have crumbled. Instead, we went on to win the game. Our defence in keeping Ireland out at the end was first class, but we allowed the Irish to cut through us easily in midfield and we were fortunate not to concede a lot of tries.
Irish mistakes kept us in the game when forward passes and wrong decisions let us off the hook.
We need to improve for the Welsh game – that is a given. For all his faults, Dan Parks was a master at putting us in the right area of the park to play in.
Ruaridh Jackson isn’t doing this and maybe a change at 10 would be a good decision. Duncan Weir, Scott Wight and Tommy Allan are all players who offer a lot more in this key position in my opinion and I would like to see one of them – presumably Weir – getting a chance to do so against Wales.
One last thought. We have played better rugby under Andy Robinson in the last two years and lost games.
We have won two matches out of three under Scott Johnson playing worse.
Johnson knows that only too well and, refreshingly, he gives it to the players and media straight. We have potential, but we are a long way from being the finished article. We need a big improvement against Wales.