Six Nations 2014: Five talking points as Ireland beat Scotland
Six Nations 2014: Five talking points as Ireland are 28-6 winners against Scotland in their opening game at The Aviva
Slow starts will cost Ireland in future games
Despite scoring three well-worked tries and eventually running out comfortably winners, Ireland will be disappointed that they only really came into the game towards the end of the first half, and will need to address this in coming games when the challenges get considerably tougher. A lot of talk before the game concerned whether or not the home side would replicate the 40 minutes that blew away world champions New Zealand only three months ago. Ultimately, with opening day nerves perhaps playing their part, Ireland struggled to get going, and should this trend continue in future games, it could be their downfall in future games. To put it simply, a slow start could easily be punished a week from now.
Scotland confirm what many knew before the tournament
Much was touted before the tournament as to what kind of Scottish side would turn up on the opening weekend of the championship. Despite starting well and managing to gain plenty of territory and possession, Ireland’s try line was rarely threatened throughout the 80 minutes, and thus the worry continues at the lack of offensive threat and flair within the Scottish camp. Once Andrew Trimble was sent over on the stroke of halftime, any potential Scottish challenge seemingly evaporated, making the second half a long, hard struggle for the travelling support.
Heaslip back on form in the national shirt?
When Joe Schmidt was announced as Declan Kidney’s successor, part of the general consensus was whether or not he’d be able to get the most out players he enjoyed so much success with at Leinster. Once touted as one of the best number eight’s in the world, Jamie Heaslip’s star had begun to wane in the final two years of Kidney’s reign – raising concerns as to would the Newbridge back row ever rediscover the blistering form that lifted Ireland to their one and only Grand Slam four years ago. Following a superb man-of-the-match performance against the Scots to back up recent impressive displays in both the Heineken Cup and the autumn internationals in-between, Heaslip could well end up being Ireland’s lynch-pin once more. Another performance of merit against the Welsh next week will go quite some way to making this possible.
Scotland must once again look to Murrayfield for happier times
With no disrespect to Scotland, an opening day victory away in Dublin was never going to be easy. Much like Italy in recent years, the Scots will have to look to home if they are to avoid a second dreaded wooden spoon in only three years. At Murrayfield, we have often seen a different Scotland, incomparable to performances much like the one that tried their best to put up a fight to Ireland. Next weekend’s Calcutta Cup showdown with England will say a lot about what exactly Scotland are going to bring to the Six Nations table in 2014. With some pride to restore following this defeat, and England heading to Edinburgh with a potential Parisian hangover, there could well be the chance for a famous upset once more which could kick-start their campaign.
The Martin Moore fairy tale continues
Few fans outside of the Leinster branch would have heard of Martin Moore before the season’s start back in the autumn. A former Under-20 Grand Slam winner with Ireland in 2011, Martin ‘Marty’ Moore’s reputation has seen a meteoric rise less than a year since making his full Leinster debut in April of 2012. Now challenging to be a Leinster regular in Matt O’Connor’s current set up at provincial level and now a fully-fledged international to boot following just one outing for Ireland A a week previously, the only way is up for the 23-year-old – and following a solid eighteen minutes against a tiring Scotland, this certainly wont be the last we’ll see of him in this championship.
In the video below, Matt Dawson returns to join Will Carling & Scott Quinnell as they catch-up on the nail-biting final rounds of the Heineken Cup, catch up with another one of Matt’s Celebrity Friends and answer your Twitter questions.