Ireland got their World Cup campaign off to the perfect start with a 27-3 victory over Scotland this morning in Yokohama.
Joe Schmidt’s side were dominant from start to finish scoring three first-half tries through James Ryan, Rory Best and Tadhg Furlong before Andrew Conway put the final nail in Scotland’s coffin midway through the second half.
The win means Ireland are in pole position to top the group. However, heading into the game there was doubt in certain corners of the country given that Rob Kearney, Keith Earls and Robbie Henshaw all missed out through injury.
Scotland’s potent back three of Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour and Duncan Taylor alongside out-half Finn Russell were deemed a dangerous threat and expected to bombard Jordan Larmour with testing high balls.
However, Gregor Townsend’s men underwhelmed on the day as they rarely threaten Ireland’s try-line and were second best in the physical stakes throughout.
Following the game, RTÉ’s World Cup panel consisting of Stephen Ferris, Jamie Heaslip and Eddie O’Sullivan tore Scotland apart.
“Every Six Nations, Scotland talk themselves up. Every Autumn Internationals: ‘Ah we’re going to get a big win against one of the big nations’,” bemoaned Ferris.
“Where does that confidence come from?”
Heaslip lamented Scotland’s failure to ‘step up to the plate’ by backing up the ‘odd scalp’ with more dominant displays.
“They’ve got to step up to the plate and they haven’t. That’s one thing from an Irish perspective, they definitely have,” said Heaslip.
“If you want to win a World Cup you’ve got to be consistent throughout the seven games. Scotland over the last couple of years. Yes, they have taken the odd scalp along the way but they haven’t been consistently good.”
Following Heaslip’s summary, Ferris joked that Scotland had been “consistently bad” while Eddie O’Sullivan branded their performance rudderless once Finn Russell failed to perform.
“That’s what they were trying to do today, they were trying to ambush Ireland,” said O’Sullivan
“But they didn’t show any creativity at all. Everything seemed to revolve around Russell to do all the magic but he’d a very poor game so once he didn’t fire Scotland were rudderless.”
— RTÉ Rugby (@RTErugby) September 22, 2019