Rugby: Scotland stun Ireland at Murrayfield

Scotland's Gordon Reid celebrates winning the Six Nations rugby match against Ireland at BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo / AP.
Scotland's Gordon Reid celebrates winning the Six Nations rugby match against Ireland at BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo / AP.

It says much of Scottish expectations that beating Ireland 27-22 to sensationally open the Six Nations was no turn-up at Murrayfield on Saturday.

What was eye-opening was how Scotland led 21-8 by halftime, with three tries of verve and genius. Murrayfield was delirious.

Then it was silenced, as Ireland inevitably roared back in front by a point. But, crucially, the Irish missed chances to finish off Scotland.

The Scots buckled but didn't break, and the scoreline kept their hopes up. They realized they needed to find a way back into Ireland's grass, and pressure might turn into penalties.

Penalties came, two in the last seven minutes that captain Greig Laidlaw kicked to give them a win they fully expected.

Even so, it was only Scotland's fourth win over Ireland since the championship expanded in 2000.

And it was also the first time it has won its opener in 11 years.Scotland finally also produced a signature win in the Vern Cotter era.

Cotter took charge in 2014 and leaves after this tournament. But he has resuscitated Scotland so it no longer thinks of avoiding the wooden spoon.

Having beaten the only team to topple the All Blacks last year, the Scots must believe they can finish in the top half, at least.

-AP

- NZ Herald

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