Scotland have played Ireland enough in recent years to know what they are going to come up against, but in the first half especially in their Rugby World Cup opener they did little to counteract the latter’s tactics.
Tries from James Ryan and captain Rory Best put Ireland up 12-0 early on and although a Greig Laidlaw penalty got the Scots on the scoreboard, Ireland did score a third try by half-time.
It came from Tadhg Furlong and at 19-3 down Scotland had a mountain to climb in the second half.
They did not manage to climb that mountain, Andrew Conway getting Ireland’s fourth try as they won 27-3 in the Pool A clash in Yokohama.
Scotland now have a lot to think about ahead of their next match with Samoa on September 30.
They looked devoid of threats and ideas in this first game and also lost key man Hamish Watson to a serious looking injury.
Everyone has been talking about the Japan game in a few weeks being crucial, but now all concentration must be on Samoa who are certainly no mugs.
"…we're massively disappointed, we put a lot into the lead up of that game and we came off second best". @Scotlandteam captain Stuart McInally gives honest interview after his side lost their opening match against Ireland at #RWC2019 pic.twitter.com/fIqBu4qJr5
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) September 22, 2019
Head coach Gregor Townsend has talked a lot of late about wanting to play the fastest game in the world.
That plan is all well and good when a match is open or you are chasing things like they were in the draw against England back in March, but when you take on a side like Ireland you have to play through the phases.
Their defence is too well organised to go wide off first phase play and the Scots just coughed up possession too often. You have to earn the right to go wide and they just did not do that, everything seemed a bit rushed in the face of some strong Irish defence.
As for Ireland, well it was physical, clinical and the perfect start for them.
Main photo by David Gibson/Fotosport
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