Gutsy Scotland End Dublin Hoodoo In Style

Gutsy Scotland End Dublin Hoodoo In Style

Ireland 20-23 Scotland For the first time since 1998, Scotland have defeated Ireland in Dublin with the boot of Dan Parks proving to be decisive in a thrilling match. The Glasgow stand-off delivered an assured performance with the kicking tee – he contributed 18 points – to ensure Andy Robinson’s team finished the tournament on a high note. With only two minutes of the contest remaining and the scoreline all square, Parks decided to place a probing kick deep into Irish territory. The recipient, Rob Kearney, was immediately put under pressure by Scotland pair Simon Danielli and Nick De Luca and the Ireland back was penalised for not releasing. Parks then shouldered the responsibility and directed his kick from the touchline and between the posts to cue scenes of jubilation from the men in blue.Afterwards, head coach Andy Robinson said: The guys have worked hard all year and deserve the plaudits from today’s win. I was pleased with the way they approached the game – as they have done throughout the tournament – and the game went down to the wire.Scotland’s pack put in a memorable shift and dominated at the scrum with props Allan Jacobsen and Euan Murray clearly having the upper hand over their opponents. Unlike in the Wales match, Scotland managed to maintain their collective concentration levels and kept plugging away until the end. At Test level, matches are decided by minimal margins and Scotland went the extra yard to ensure that the win was registered. Without getting carried away with the post-match euphoria, this result could prove to be a turning point for Scotland’s fortunes. Before kick off, the vast majority of so-called experts and pundits predicted a comfy win for Ireland, who were tipped to sign off their temporary stay at Croke Park with a handsome victory and Triple Crown triumph.   But Scotland refused to conform to that and set about spoiling the party with a sensible brand of rugby and commitment at both the lineout and breakdown. Asserting themselves physically, the away side refused to be overawed by the occasion and delivered a brand of winning rugby which should prove the template for the future.  Ireland came out of the blocks with a genuine sense of urgency about their approach play – keeping the ball alive with a high tempo passing game. As a result, Scotland had to continually apply pressure and that paid off with Ireland guilty of some basic handling errors. After Ireland’s threat was doused, Scotland set to work and playing sensible rugby took the ball into key areas and ensured they put points on board. On five minutes, former Lions captain Paul O’Connell was penalised by referee Jonathan Kaplan for not rolling away and Dan Parks put Scotland ahead with a straightforward penalty. Brian O’Driscoll finished off an enterprising move started by Jonathan Sexton and carving open Scotland’s defence on the 12 minute mark to put Ireland ahead. It was O’Driscoll’s first try of the tournament – both referee and touch-judges missed Sexton’s forward pass – but the Test centurion took his chance with ruthless efficiencyand Sexton added the conversion. Johnnie Beattie provided the perfect response by scoring a stunning try to put Scotland in front  – the Glasgow back row forward shrugged off a challenge from Geordan Murphy having bulldozed two other would-be tackles to dot down over the try-line. His Warriors team-mate Graeme Morrison had off-loaded to set the hard-running No 8 en route. Donncha O’Callaghan was then penalised and Scotland turned possession into points with a penalty from Parks in the latter stages of the first half which ended with a marvellous fillip for the visitors as Parks again capitalised on some quality, controlled possession to slot a drop goal.  Parks’ two kicks handed Scotland a seven-point advantage heading into the half-time interval and Parks then made it a 10-point lead with another expertly-taken penalty from Sean Lamont’s blazing midfield intrusion. After the break, Sexton was replaced by Ronan O’Gara, but before he left the pitch he scored a simple penalty to slash Scotland’s lead to just seven points. With the home crowd urging them forward, Ireland then drew level when Tommy Bowe combined with Gordon D’Arcy to plough his way over the whitewash to score. O’Gara landed a tricky conversion to set up a grandstand finale in the Irish capital and the resultant period of play proved to be a nerve-shredding experience for both sets of fans. But cometh the hour, cometh the man and Parks, named man of the match for the third occasion in this season’s competition, kept his cool. Firstly he stroked over a a 72nd minute penalty to edge Scotland ahead 20-17. Back came O’Gara to level anew at 20-all after 76 minutes but Scotland and Parks were not yet done and as the clock ticked down Simon Danielli’s magnificent chase set up the position for Parks to strike for glory from close to the left touchline. There was still time for Ireland to restart but Danielli – a 73rd minute substitute – claimed the kick-off and ended Scotland’s 2010 RBS 6 Nations Championship with a resounding triumph.  IrelandGeordan Murphy, Tommy Bowe, Brian O’Driscoll (captain), Gordon D’Arcy, Keith Earls, Jonathan Sexton, Tomas O’Leary; Cian Healy, Rory Best, John Hayes, Donncha O’Callaghan, Paul O’Connell, Stephen Ferris, David Wallace, Jamie Heaslip. Replacements Sean Cronin, Tony Buckley, Leo Cullen, Shane Jennings, Eoin Reddan,Ronan O’Gara, Rob Kearney. ScotlandHugo Southwell, Sean Lamont, Nick De Luca, Graeme Morrison, Max Evans, Dan Parks, Chris Cusiter (captain); Allan Jacobsen, Ross Ford, Euan Murray, Jim Hamilton, Alastair Kellock, Kelly Brown, John Barclay, Johnnie Beattie. ReplacementsScott Lawson, Alasdair Dickinson, Richie Gray, Alan MacDonald, Mike Blair, Phil Godman, Simon Danielli. Officials Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa) Touch judges: Craig Joubert (South Africa) and Paul Gauzerre (France)

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