Six Nations: Ireland relaunch with win over Scotland

Hannah Smith scores Scotland's only try of the game against Ireland.. Image

The Scots wasted several opportunities in attack as they crashed to a first home loss in the Six Nations since 2016.

With Best's Ulster team-mate Jacob Stockdale among the scorers, Ireland bounced back from their harrowing loss to England in Dublin that opened the Championship but, while Best said the side were more like themselves, the hooker does not yet feel that they hit the high watermark of previous year.

"I believe that the way we play will put pressure on any team, whether we're playing at home or away".

They have beaten England, Australia, Ireland, France, Wales and Argentina in the past two years, while Edinburgh and Glasgow - who contribute about three quarters of the national team's players - have both reached the last eight of the European Champions Cup, the first time two Scottish clubs have done so. 'In the second half, the execution of our set-piece plays to get us into our game and to put more pressure on Ireland just didn't happen. Scotland also lost three throw-ins. Despite matching the team ranked No 2 in the world for long spells, Sam Johnson's first-half try was the only time they managed to breach the Irish defence.

Scotland finally forced some possession in the Irish 22 but Ireland willingly surrendered a soft penalty, and Laidlaw brought Scotland back to six points behind.

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"A game of rugby is a lot of things, it's the defense battle that you have to do, the contact battle, the kicking game is so important and the pressure we put on Ireland's kicks, I think we won those battles", he added. "We are frustrated and disappointed".

"It worked out well for Ireland and it probably affected Scotland a little bit, but I think regardless of whether Hoggy is on the pitch or not Ireland were going to win". 'I just felt that Romain was right there (looking at it), but he gave a knock-on against us when it clearly wasn't a knock-on.

"Joey is a quality player, you don't want to see anyone go off injured, but it's great to see everyone coming off the bench and stepping up", he said. 'He's sore, very sore, ' said Townsend.

Scotland never got enough of the ball in the final ten minutes to even threaten getting back into the game and by the end their attempts to strike from deep were frantic and disorganised. "We'll need to be at our best if we are to win over there".

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