Scotland Club XV claim historic win over Ireland

Scotland Club XV defeated their Irish club counterparts 19-13 in a close encounter at Temple Hill to retain the Dalriada Cup and become the first Scottish Club XV team to win back-to-back matches in a season. 

The early exchanges proved effective for the visitors with Jack Turley touching down and Lee Armstrong adding points through the boot, even though it was Ireland who secured two tries before the interval to settle the scores at 10-13.

Several penalty opportunities in the second-half kept the hosts at bay as they moved the ball with width and pace, but it was Scotland who maintained control to see out the victory and record history, following their 57-27 win over England Counties in February. 

Scotland Club XV head coach, Phil Smith, said: "I thought we clicked defensively and the boys found their attacking rhythm early, managing to maintain it for a fantastic victory.

The Club XV's achievement of winning the double this season proves that the standard of Scottish club rugby is really high."

Scotland opened the scoring in the 5th minute with a penalty strike from out-half Armstrong, after Ireland were penalised. 

Minutes later, Armstrong sent a ball high from the half-way to find Jordan Edmunds on the left wing, who came up metres short before Jack Turley gathered and crashed over for Scotland’s first try.

Turley and Robert McAlpine impressed in the loose throughout with the Irish defence feeling the pressure from the Scottish forwards from the outset.

Armstrong added the extras with the boot and come the 20 minute mark converted another opportunity to slice the sticks, given Ireland’s inability to roll away.

A break from Ireland’s Neil Cronin down the left wing led to a cross-field kick from Scott Deasy to locate Daniel Riordan for the score in the right corner.

Scotland captain Ross Curle threatened the Irish defence on several occasions with quick ball providing the platform for the Scottish backs to launch the attack and distribute effectively. 

Minutes before the end of the half, Ireland struck again with captain Matt D’Arcy breaking from deep before Mark Roche went over in the left corner to conclude the half-time score at 10-13.

Half-time: 10-13

A penalty infringement in the 42nd minute provided Armstrong with an opportunity to extend Scotland’s lead, the out-half converting successfully. 

Ireland began to pressurise the Scottish defence deep inside the 22 before Lewis Carmichael received a yellow and Ireland took the three-point opportunity through Deasy.

D’Arcy made a break off an intercept pass in the 51st minute and the Irish looked certain to score but solid defence from the Scottish contingent held the ball up.

Curle went on the attack from deep with Turley close to a second try before Armstrong took full advantage of a penalty in front of the posts to extend Scotland’s lead with minutes left.

The Irish maintained possession in the closing stages but the Scottish defence remained strong to see out the game and retain the Dalriada Cup. 

Full-time: 13-19 

Man-of-the-match: Ross Curle 

The Teams...

Scotland Club XV: Fraser Thomson (Melrose); Sam Pecquer (Melrose), Ross Curle (Ayr) CAPTAIN, Brendan McGroarty (Glasgow Hawks), Jordan Edmunds (Boroughmuir); Lee Armstrong (Hawick), Paddy Boyer (Glasgow Hawks); George Hunter (Ayr), Ross Graham (Hawick), Nick Beavon (Melrose), Robert McAlpine (Ayr), Lewis Carmichael (Melrose), Jack Turley (Heriot’s), Will Bordill (Ayr), Peter McCallum (Ayr). Replacements: Michael Liness (Heriot’s), Alistair Hamilton (Heriot’s), Jamie Bhatti (Melrose), Russell Nimmo (Heriot’s), Neil Irvine-Hess (Melrose), George Graham (Gala), Cameron Ferguson (Heriot’s), Harvey Elms (Currie).

Ireland Club XV: Danny Riordan; James McInerney, Stephen Murphy, Matt D’Arcy CAPTAIN, Mark Roche; Scott Deasy, Neil Cronin; Ian Prendiville, Matt Abott, Ger Sweeney, Ciaran Ruddock, Phillip Donnellan, Charlie Butterworth, Paul Pritchard, Tony Ryan. Replacements: Patrick Finlay, Declan Lavery, Brian McGovern, Connor Smyth, John Fitzgerald, Angus Lloyd, Jack McDermott, Rodger McBurney.

Referee: Dewi Phillips (Wales)