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'Never In Doubt' - The Scottish Media Reaction To Beating Ireland

'Never In Doubt' - The Scottish Media Reaction To Beating Ireland
By PJ Browne
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The Scots are elated after yesterday's win at Murrayfield - and why wouldn't they be? It was a fine performance. Incredibly, it's just the second time Scotland have won their opening game of the tournament since it became the Six Nations. Their last opening game victory was against France in 2006.

'Never in doubt'  is the headline on the front page of the Scottish Mail on Sunday's sport pullout.

'Dare to Dream' is the headline on the back.

'High on the Hogg' is Scotland on Sunday's headline.



Only Tadhg Furlong and Sean O'Brien get praise for their performances in the Scotsman's player ratings for the game.

Robbie Henshaw was said to be a 'pale shadow' of the player we saw in November. Conor Murray 'suffered from special treatment' at the breakdown and CJ Stander 'failed to bully' Scotland backrow.

Roy Kearney 4
Keith Earls 5
Garry Ringrose 4
Robbie Henshaw 4
Simon Zebo 4
Paddy Jackson 6
Conor Murray 5
Jack McGrath 6
Rory Best 6
Tadhg Furlong 7
Iain Henderson 6
Devin Toner 5
CJ Stander 6
Sean O'Brien 7
Jamie Heaslip 4

Jim Hamilton, writing in his column for the Scotsman, hailed the Scottish defence. The former Scotland international also thought Ireland's attacking play in the first half was 'poor and predictable'.

The talk of Scotland’s performance, aside from the world-class display from Hogg, will be the defence. I have played in games when we have had to defend for huge parts of the game. I actually thought Ireland’s attack in the first half was pretty poor and predictable. Paddy Jackson was not going to the line and it was very easy for Scotland to defend, but when Ireland came head on, the power of the collisions… CJ Stander and Sean O’Brien were being smashed back by one, two and sometimes three Scotland defenders. This meant the breakdown for Ireland became slow, something they will not have been used to and probably didn’t expect.

Also writing for the Scotsman, Aidan Smith called yesterday a 'famous win'.


Before this game, an English-based newspaper seemed to momentarily forget it’s supposed to be in the middle of a big sales push north of the Border when it spoke of the “fun to be had” in trying to guess how few Scots would be chosen for the Lions. After 80 pulsating minutes of course nothing was decided. No places were awarded and won’t be until the conclusion of the Six Nations. But how many in dark blue advanced their case for inclusion even ever so slightly? Was is three, four or maybe five?

We can have this debate later. This was a famous win deserving of its own headlines.

In his match report for The Herald, Stuart Bathgate says that this is a Scotland team which has learned to conquer adversity.


France had been the last team to lose the Scots on opening day, back in 2006, and now they will be the next team to face up to Vern Cotter’s team, in Paris a week today. Scotland have not won there since the turn of the century, but on this showing they must be in with a chance.

They have long been accustomed to facing up to adversity: now they are a team who know how to conquer it.

In his column for the Herald, former Scotland international Craig Chalmers speculates that the good weather suited the home side more than it did Ireland.

Looking at the match as a whole, Scotland played with great intent, and at a good tempo. The fair weather probably suited us more than it did Ireland, as with a wet ball on a wet pitch they might have been able to play a slower, more possession-based game.

We did struggle a bit at times in the scrum, especially early on, but that was counterbalanced by a fine performance in the lineout. Our props were penalised a few times at the scrum in the first half, but on the whole the team played the referee really well.

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