Rugby

England repel spirited Welsh

2011-08-06 17:43
Jonny Wilkinson (Gallo Images)

London - A first international try by Jo Ansbro saw Scotland grab a late 10-6 win over Ireland in their rugby union World Cup warm-up test at Murrayfield on Saturday.

The Irish, mainly a second-string side as coach Declan Kidney bids to reduce a 43-man squad to 30 for the World Cup, scored their points through two penalties by Jonathan Sexton.

Ansbro's fine late individual try was converted by Ruaridh Jackson while the Scots' other points came fron a penalty by veteran Chris Paterson, who is bidding to play in his fourth World Cup.

Scotland coach Andy Robinson credited 25-year-old Ansbro's try down to his scrum.

"What a great finish! Joe took his try absolutely superbly and I think we got what we deserved," said Robinson, rebuilding his reputation after a bruising spell as England coach.

"The score was all down to the speed of ball from the forwards.

"If you want to break down good defences you must have fast ball and the try underlined that.

"We had kept our shape in attack throughout the game and our scrum had been solid.

"Overall I am pretty pleased with the result and the performance at this stage in our build up to our departure for New Zealand."

Robinson, who was assistant coach of England when they won the 2003 World Cup, was full of praise for man of the match prop Geoff Cross.

"He (Cross) is a very strong man and I was good to see him using that power to such good effect," said Robinson.

"Another aspect which pleased me hugely was the fact that Ireland did not score a try against us - and didn't even look like scoring.

"But I am also the first to admit that we also need to improve our line-speed when we are in the opposition half.

"We need to step up and take our game forward when we face Italy here in a couple of weeks."

Kidney, who has been rewarded with a new contract ahead of the World Cup, insisted the outcome had not been a major setback.

"Obviously we came here wanting to win and I think we were a bit unlucky not to get that result," said Kidney, who guided Ireland to the Six Nations Grand Slam in 2009.

"But I was delighted with many features of our play and many of the younger guys did what was asked of them and more."

The Scots had made a storming start when wing Nikki Walker burst through three challenges before Johnnie Beattie burst into the danger zone.

But the good work was ruined when Jackson sent a wayward pass to Allan Jacobsen in the shadow of the posts.

The hosts suffered a setback midway through the half when Walker went off with a head injury and was replaced by Bath's Jack Cuthbert, who was earning his first cap.

His entrance was the cue for Ireland to pile on the pressure and unlike their opponents they capitalised by edging in front with a simple penalty Sexton.

The initial stages of the second half were a carbon copy of the first as the Scots earned the bulk of possession and territory.

But there was still no sign of the Irish defence buckling.

Beattie set up the most potent attack by grabbing Fitzgerald's chip-ahead, however instead of feeding the unmarked Ross Rennie he opted to duck infield and the move broke down.

Two minutes later the Scots did equalise via the boot of Paterson when the Irish defence sneaked offside close to their own tryline.

The Irish seized the initiative 15 minutes from time as Sexton found the target again to set up a tense finale and they looked like holding onto their advantage until Ansbro's moment of magic.

The Scots have just one more warm-up match while the Irish have four including two against the French and one against 2003 world champions England.

The World Cup gets underway on September 9 in New Zealand.

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