Sport / Columnists

Jon Swift
2 minute read
8 Feb 2017
10:36 am

No lucky day for the Irish as pipers prevail

Jon Swift

It was one of those surprises that sport is full of.

Jon Swift

The Supersmous, a man more at home in Kimberley than he ever would in Kilmarnock, should arrive, loudly proclaiming his allegiance and wearing his Scottish jersey for the Six Nations game against the Irish at Murrayfield. And he managed to get the first barb in before kick-off by giving the Irish supporters – and he was outnumbered in this department – by comparing the rugby anthems.

“Not bad, the Irish song,” he said, “but you can’t compare it with Flower of Scotland and proud Edward’s army getting sent homewards tae think again. Just watch what happens to Ireland”.

The roots of the Caledondian passion beating deep within the breast of the Supersmous, remain both tenuous as distant at best, but his prediction was delivered with all the vehemence of a skillfully-wielded claymore … and, it could be argued, cut just as deeply.

But some sense of equilibrium was restored after the boat had been so severely rocked, when the Irish pack literally destroyed the Scots in the first two set scrums and some distinctly unmusical echoes of Ireland’s Call floated skywards from the supporters of the men in green. Surprisingly though it was just eight minutes into the opening match, that Scots fullback Stuart Hogg went over for a try duly converted by the reliable boot of captain Greig Laidlaw.

“What did I tell you?” yelled the Supersmous as the strains of the Irish rugby anthem dramatically dried up from one section of the assembled gathering. When Hogg went over for his second on 20 minutes and Laid law again delivered the extra two points, it would have taken steel cables to keep the Supersmous in his seat as he ratcheted up the decibel levels even further.

An unconverted try by rightwing Keith Earls got the Irish on the scoreboard just five minutes later, but when inside centre Alex Dunbar replied almost immediately with a third try for the Scots to give Laidlaw his third successful conversion, the Irish were beginning to look ragged around the edges.

Second-half tries by Irish lock Iain Henderson and flyhalf Paddy Jackson – both converted by the pivot who had also contributed a penalty in the 33rd minute – gave the Irish some hope. But two late penalties by Laidlaw shut the door and the Scots left Murrayfield to the skirl of the pipes ringing in their ears and thousands of kilometres away, a supporter hardly able to contain his glee.

“Told you so,” said the Supersmous, raising his shirt to strike his bare chest in defiance. “And you are lucky,” he remarked adding insult to injury as he replaced the tail of his replica jersey inside the waistband, “that I didn’t offer you the same kilted greeting Sir William Wallace gave the English all those years ago.”

There was absolutely no argument about that.