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 Saturday, 2 March, 2002, 17:48 GMT
O'Driscoll hat-trick downs Scotland
Scottish captain Bryan Redpath  attempts to break clear of the Irish defence
Scottish captain Bryan Redpath attempts to break clear
Ireland 43-22 Scotland

A glorious hat-trick of tries by Brian O'Driscoll killed off Scotland as Ireland got back to winning ways at Lansdowne Road on Saturday.

The Lions centre showed that he was back to his best as the Irish buried the nightmare of Twickenham.

It also gave the men in green some measure of revenge over the Scots, who had denied them in the autumn of a possible Grand Slam with a trouncing at Murrayfield.

But in all honesty, Scotland were not as bad as the scoreline suggests.

Time and again they had Ireland on the rack only to miss out on tries with errors at crucial times.

Scoring details:
Ireland 43 :
Tries: O'Driscoll (3), Horgan, Easterby.
Cons: Humphreys (2), O'Gara
Pens: Humphreys (4)
Scotland 22:
Tries: Leslie.
Cons: Laney.
Pens: Laney (5).

Scotland also had the Irish scrum creaking while the home line-outs were not functioning to order.

But while O'Driscoll was the star of the show, he will admit that fly-half David Humphreys was instrumental in guiding Ireland to victory.

Humphreys landed four penalties and converted two of Ireland's five tries to become Ireland record points scorer.

It was another polished performance by the Ulsterman, whose kicking out of hand gave his side territorial advantage on numerous occasions.

Ireland began in a real hurry and kept Scotland pinned in their own half for the first 10 minutes.

But all the Irish could muster was a Humphreys penalty in the opening minute after scrum-half Peter Stringer was pulled into a ruck.

Townsend finally relieved the pressure with a bombshell clearance and when Mick Galwey fell over at a ruck, Brendan Laney levelled from 35 metres out.

Laney doubled his tally four minutes later when John Hayes was penalised 40 metres out and the full-back camly spliced the uprights.

Scotland, playing with the strong breeze, were putting together some excellent passages of keep-ball which had the Irish defence scrambling.

Brian O'Driscoll charging in for his second try
Brian O'Driscoll charging in for his second try
Laney put Scotland further ahead with his third penalty in the 22nd minute when the Irish came in from the side of a ruck in front of their own posts.

But Ireland exploded back into contention with the first try of the game three minutes later after bravely preferring to take a scrum at a penalty five metres out.

Stringer whipped the ball away left to Humphreys who put O'Driscoll through a yawning gap as the Scottish defence was caught by the decoy run of Kevin Maggs.

Humphreys missed the conversion, but was spot-on in the 33rd minute when Ireland stormed into the lead.

O'Driscoll started the move with a kick upfield, and then helped finish the move when his long pass drifted wide to left wing Shane Horgan, who ran in unaccompanied.

Under pressure

Scotland, however, paid for some poor handling as Ireland surged further ahead, with O'Driscoll again doing the damage.

The Ireland defence was under the cosh when the Scotland midfield dropped the ball on the home '22'.

Up stepped O'Driscoll who moved swiftly in to scoop it up and sprint all the way in for Humphreys to add the conversion.

But at least the Scots got some joy in first-half injury time with Laney banging over his fourth penalty.

Scotland started in very determined mood on the resumption and Laney reduced the deficit further with another pot at goal.

Humphreys relieved some of the pressure now being put on Ireland with two rifled penalties to give Ireland a 28-15 lead.

James McLaren caught by Kevin Maggs and Brian O'Driscoll
James McLaren caught in an Irish pincer movement
In doing so Humphreys reached a new milestone in Irish rugby when he passed Michael Kiernan's record of 308 points for his country.

To make matters worse for Scotland, flanker Budge Pountney was sin-binned in the 58th minute for preventing the ball emerging from a ruck.

That gave Humphreys his sixth penalty and moved Ireland further out of sight.

They were, though, out of sight with 15 minutes remaining with the Scottish midfield again dropping the ball for Horgan to feed Humphreys who in turn switched direction for Simon Easterby to glide in.

Once again Scotland moved up field and after some exerted pressure replacement Martin Leslie crashed over for Laney to convert.

But the last was left for O'Driscoll.

Ronan O'Gara's deft pass was taken at speed by the centre and he whipped home with devastating speed to score.

Ireland: G Dempsey; S Horgan; K Maggs, B O'Driscoll, D Hickie; D Humphreys, P Stringer; P Clohessy, F Sheahan, J Hayes, M Galwey, capt, M O'Kelly, E Miller, D Wallace, A Foley.
Replacements: P Wallace for Clohessy (78), S Byrne for Sheahan (35), G Longwell for Galwey (70), S Easterby for Miller (47), G Easterby for Stringer (80), J Kelly, R O'Gara for Humphreys (78).

Scotland: B Laney; G Metcalfe; J McLaren, A Henderson, C Paterson; G Townsend, B Redpath, capt; T Smith, G Bulloch, M Stewart, S Murray, S Grimes, J White, B Pountney, S Taylor.
Replacements: G Graham for Stewart (62), R Russell, M Leslie for White (55), J Petrie, G Beveridge, D Hodge, K Logan for Metcalfe (71).

Referee: Nigel Whitehouse (Wales).

 BBC Sport's Nigel Starmer-Smith
"Ireland's championship hopes are rekindled"
 Ireland captain Mick Galway
"It's all to play for now"
 Scotland coach Ian McGeechan
"We made far too many mistakes"
 Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan
"It was very important to bounce back"


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