The Centenary Quaich (pronounced Quake) is contested annually between Ireland and Scotland since 1989. To date, Scotland have won the Quaich 11 times to Ireland's 9, though the sides have met some 121 times with Scotland winning 63 to Ireland's 54 (5 draws). In 2009, Ireland held on the the Quaich, having held it since 2002.
In this match, Scotland were playing to avoid the wooden spoon, having lost three and drawn one game. Scotland were 1 point away from fifth place. Should Scotland win, Italy would get the wooden spoon.
Ireland had a mathematical possibility of winning the championship, but they need a good margin and for England to bear France (ideally by a good margin). Assuming England and Ireland win, Ireland need the combined margin of the two teams to be something like 50 points to surpass France - this makes France near to a dead certainty for the championship. Before the match, Coral were offering odds of 16:1 against for Ireland to win overall, and 100:1 on for France to win overall. It looked unlikely.
Kickoff was at 5pm.
Both Scotland and Ireland made early attacks with Kaplan being pinged for not rolling away, Scotland opened the scoring. 0-3.
In the 11th minute, Sexton came past D'Arcy to collect a pass and then passed to O'Driscoll, who duly scored. A lovely piece of work. Sexton converted. 7-3
Almost immediately, Scotland had a reply in the form of a superb sequence of play down the left wing, each player drawing in tacklers before offloading. Beattie had the ball at the crucial point and placed it over the line. Dan Parks failed to convert, so the score was 7-8.
There the score stayed until the 36th minute, Ireland was pinged for not rolling away, and Dan Parks earned three points. 7-11.
In the 40th minute Scottish pressure gave Dan Parks the room for a drop goal, which was duly kicked over. 7-14 at half time.
The second half began with some penalties, Scotland, then Ireland. 10-17.
The first major score came from Bowe in the 65th minute. Sustained Irish pressure drew in Scottish defenders, eventually Tommy Bowe saw enough of a gap and made for the line, stretching as he was tackled to place the ball. The conversion equalised. 17-17.
The game was decided on kicks, first Scotland, then Ireland. 20-20.
In the dying minutes of the game, Scotland won a penalty. Dan Parks kicked the ball, Scottish players chased it, and Rob Carney held onto the ball, conceding a penalty. The Irish crowd at Stoke Park were unsporting at this point, and began booing and whistling, not good. Dan Parks kicked sweetly, and at 79 minutes Scotland were three points up, 20-23. There the score would remain. The restart was made with 50 seconds on the clock. Ireland were not to make a last second score.
This result confirms Italy with the wooden spoon, and means that France has won the tournament, though the Grand Slam is still to play for. Nobody wins the triple crown.
Scotland have won in Ireland for the first time since 1998, and Ireland's last match at Croke Park ends with a loss.
The match between France and England would be played for bragging rights.
|Table Built: Saturday, 20 March 2010 19:33 UK|