Who Jacob Stockdale has now tied in Ireland try stakes and four more talking points from Six Nations win over Scotland
What exactly can we take away from Ireland's Six Nations win in Scotland?
Here are five key points:
1. Time to get a little tougher in the tackle
Dominant tackles was the only stat that seemed to matter last week with England forcing Ireland behind the gainline close to 50 times.
Against Scotland, Ireland lost out on this count too — 35 to 19 on this occasion — but the hosts were forced into nearly a third more total tackles. The introductions of Sean O’Brien, Chris Farrell and Jack Conan all gave Ireland a bit more impetus in the carrying game
2. Keep super Stockdale scoring those tries
It’s a rare outing these days when Jacob Stockdale doesn’t add to his Test try tally and his score in the first-half was another classic Joe Schmidt strike move.
His 13th international try in just 16 Tests means only 13 players have ever scored more for Ireland and has him level with three recent greats Jamie Heaslip, Rob Kearney and Conor Murray.
3. Leave the number 10 jersey in capable hands
Much to the chagrin of other international sides over the years, the bedrock of Ireland’s success over the Joe Schmidt years has been built upon the foundations of an unerringly accurate kicking game.
Like the England game, it wasn’t up to its usual standard here, with too many kicks giving Scotland’s dangerous back three counter-attacking chances.
4. Cooney deserves his chance at scrum half
The Six Nations stat sheet has a few new additions this year, one of the categories coming in, the form of points per 80 minutes. At this rate nobody will be catching John Cooney Ulster’s impressive scrum-half was left kicking his heels for too long. Johnny Sexton’s injury helped, but with Conor Murray struggling for form, it makes sense to give Cooney more minutes to show what he can do.
5. Scotland fluff lines in World Cup dress rehersal
Of all the opposing teams in this competition, the one whose progress means the most to Ireland is Scotland. The pair meet in Yokohama in the opening pool game of the World Cup as favourites to progress but knowing the All Blacks await, most likely, the runner up. After beating Italy, this was a real chance to lay down a marker for Gregor Townsend’s men but their attack failed to fire.
Belfast Telegraph Digital