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Rob Kearney returns at full-back as Ireland make five changes

10 February 2019

The last time Scotland claimed the Six Nations title Bill Clinton was US President and the millennium bug was a threat.

Toner has missed only six Test matches since Joe Schmidt took charge of Ireland in 2013, featuring more regularly than any other player under the Kiwi's stewardship.

"So I guess I'll leave them to do their analysis, and we'll keep analysing what we're doing, and trying to improve".

"You could just see Joey grow into the game", said the Ireland skipper. I think it was one of our guys who tripped over him.

Ireland's defence of their Grand-Slam title ended at the first hurdle last weekend going down to a comprehensive 20-32 defeat to their English counterparts in Aviva Stadium.

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"He got two knocks so they were cumulative, and he has a swollen ankle, but that's just swelling and he should bounce back from that pretty quickly".

"That pass release for Jacob's try was flawless, the guy maybe could have got to Jacob if not for that intent in trying to get to Johnny".

That gave Scotland a 5m lineout, but Peter O'Mahony got up and slapped the ball back and Rory Best put it down.

Conor Murray capitalised on a mix-up between Tommy Seymour and Sean Maitland to score the opening try after Greig Laidlaw put Gregor Townsend's side in front, while Jacob Stockdale added a second for the visitors.

The double grand-slam victor was omitted from last weekend's 32-20 defeat by England, although his replacement Robbie Henshaw struggled positionally at Dublin's Aviva Stadium.

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It was Italy who scored the first try when South African-born flanker Brahm Steyn barged across the line, breathing hope into the perennial wooden-spooners who have now lost 19 straight Six Nations matches stretching back to 2015.

Schmidt also applauded Carbery for responding to his early mistake as the fly-half also kicked a conversion and a late penalty to deny Scotland a losing bonus point.

"Scotland are benefitting from Glasgow and Edinburgh playing confident fast-flowing rugby and if they can produce that tempo and play at 100% they have a really good chance of beating anyone on their day despite having a smaller pool of players to choose from", said Pountney.

But the pre-tournament favorites displayed plenty of the impressive form and toughness that has seen them rise to No. 2 in the rugby world rankings as they eventually got the better of the hosts.

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Rob Kearney returns at full-back as Ireland make five changes