Ireland Set For 2017 Six Nations Campaign

Scotland held on for a surprise win over Ireland in the 2017 Six Nations opener and head coach Vern Cotter feels lessons have been learned.

Scotland will reckon on having a much more balanced half-back pairing in Laidlaw and Finn Russell while centre Huw Jones' dual with young Garry Ringrose looks tasty.

Ireland mounted a comeback with tries from Iain Henderson and Paddy Jackson to put Joe Schmidt's side within one point.

Although Ireland kept applying the pressure it was Scotland who took the lead once again when Laidlaw scored a 73rd minute penalty to dent Irish hopes after they were penalised for not releasing on the floor.

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Converted scores from Iain Henderson and Paddy Jackson after the interval had Ireland ahead by a point and Scotland fans could have been forgiven for fearing another narrow defeat like the ones suffered against Australia in the 2015 Rugby World Cup and in the November Test past year.

Scotland were rewarded for their outstanding defence - they made 92 first-half tackles - and sublime line speed to lead 21-8 at the break at Murrayfield. "We needed to score at least once more". Scotland tried to maul for a bonus point try in the dying minutes but a subsequent high tackle from replacement Tommy Bowe, winning his first cap since the 2015 World Cup, allowed Laidlaw to wind down the clock and clinch the result with his second penalty success of a memorable six-try clash. They've got some very sharp players, especially when they're given some width.

"We were late arriving to the stadium and we seemed to be late to everything in the first half", he said. I think we will get closer than those last two games in the Six Nations.

While their second half display was miles better - and they even crept into the lead for a brief period - they got what they deserved as Greig Laidlaw nailed a penalty seven minutes from time.

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"We let slip chances".

He added: "We were very passive, we were very slow to get ourselves set, and that was incredibly disappointing because it's something that we work incredibly hard on". We know what plays to go to when we're in tight games. It will be a tough reflection on Monday.

"We got narrow in defence, we weren't physical, and we knew they'd come at us". It was all down to that first half.

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