SCOTLAND bounced back from a nightmare opening quarter to salvage some respectability in their final match of a tough Six Nations Summer Series campaign.  

At 24-0 down with a man in the bin after 16 minutes of play, the writing was on the wall but the young Scots showed commendable tenacity to slow down the Irish procession and strike back with three tries of their own. 

However, the team’s resilience against the odds cannot paper over the cracks which have been exposed during this tournament. Scotland are way off the pace at this level having lost their four games this summer – against Wales, Italy, Georgia and Ireland – by an average of just over 26 points per game. The age-grade side’s losing streak now stretches back 14 games to March 2020. 

“When I was sitting up there in the stand after 15-20 minutes, I had my head in my hands,” admitted head coach Kenny Murray.

“But the big thing I spoke to the boys about before the game was having some character, showing some fight and staying together as a group – that was the three things we had to do to compete today – and I thought it was a great effort to come back the way they did.”  

Murray added that a late arrival at the ground didn’t help his team’s cause. “There was a car accident outside the stadium which meant it took us 50 minutes instead of 20 minutes to get to the game, so we arrived less than hour before kick-off meaning we were under a bit of pressure in the warm-up and just a bit flat,” he explained. 

He also argued that his team were let down by the match officials for Ireland’s fifth try, which was scored immediately after Patrick Harrison had opened Scotland’s account on 20 minutes.  

“After you score a try, you are allowed to come to the touchline to get a drink, but the referee allowed them to restart the game before our boys got back on the pitch,” he claimed. “That isn’t allowed but the TMO didn’t pick it up, so the try stood, which is really disappointing.” 

Ireland raced into the lead with less than two minutes played when Daniel Hawkshaw capitalised on Sam Prendergast's neat chip over the top, and that was followed up by tries from tight-head prop Scott Wilson, winger Aitzol King and Prendergast. 

The last of those scores came after Scotland flanker Gregor Hiddleston had been sent to the sin-bin for killing the ball five yard from his own line following a length of the park break from Prendergast. 

As the game entered its second quarter, Murray's men finally managed to get a foothold, with a featured a brilliant offload from Gabe Jones to Duncan Munn leading to Harrison’s opener. Euan Cunningham nailed the tricky conversion. 

Ireland bounced right back with that controversial try straight from the restart, scored by Fionn Gibbons, but they were no longer bossing the game with the same authority, and they lost Diarmuid Mangan to the sin-bin for not rolling away at a ruck in front of his own posts. 

Keiran Clark's break down the left would certainly have led to a try had the full-back been able to gather his own chip ahead, before Harrison claimed his second try of the match, his fifth of the tournament, off a line-out drive, with Cunningham once again converting.  

Scotland started the second half brightly and Cunningham slotted a ruck penalty to make it a 12-point game, which was astonishing given the tenor of the first 20 minutes – but that's as close as they got.  

Mangan burst over for Ireland’s seventh try following a quick tap penalty on 53 minutes and replacement winger Shay McCarthy claimed try number eight when he expertly collected Prendergast's cross-field kick and dotted down. 

Scotland had the last word when Ollie Leatherbarrow spun out of a tackle and battled over the line following a fine break by Andy Stirrat, before the match petered out. 


Ireland P Campbell (R Malone 63); A King (S McCarthy 46), F Gibbons, D Hawkshaw, G Coomber (H West 54); S Prendergast, A O'Mahony (M Moloney 50); G Hadden (K Ryan 55, O Michel, 72), J Hanlon (J McCormick 54, D Rhys Hey 72), S Wilson (J Mawhinney 60), C Irvine ( R O'Sullivan 68), A McNamee, D Mangan, R Crothers, L McLoughlin (G Shaw 72). 

Scotland K Clark; K Johnston (T Glendinning 76), D Munn, A Stirrat, G Jones (R McKnight 56); E Cunningham, B Afshar (F Burgess 72); I Carmichael ( J Lascelles 50, A Rogers 72), P Harrison (D Hood 60), C Norrie (G Scougall 45), J Taylor (J Spurway 66), M Williamson, R Tait (L McConnell 50), G Hiddleston (T Brown 50), O Leatherbarrow (R Brown 72). 

Referee Federico Vedovelli (Italy) 


Ireland Tries: Hawkshaw, Wilson, King, Pendergast, Gibbons, Mangan, McCarthy; Cons: Pendergast 3. 

Scotland Try: Harrison 2, Leatherbarrow; Con: Cunningham 3; Pen: Cunningham.  

Yellow cards 

Ireland Mangan (26mins) 

Scotland Hiddleston (15mins), Munn (58mins)