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RUGBY: Ireland upbeat ahead of England clash


DUBLIN: Ireland coach Declan Kidney believes his team are heading in the right direction after a 32-14 win at home to Scotland set them up in style for their Six Nations finale against England.

Kidney's men outscored the Scots by four tries to one, with stand-in captain Rory Best, recalled scrum-half Eoin Reddan and wing Andrew Trimble all crossing in the first half before replacement Fergus McFadden went over late on.

Equally heartening for Ireland, who might have been travelling to Twickenham chasing a grand slam had it not been for blown leads in a defeat by unbeaten leaders Wales and a 17-17 draw with France, was that, having gone 22-14 up at half-time at Lansdowne Road, they didn't let Scotland back into the match.

"I think our decision-making is getting better all the time, when to move it, when to play position," said Kidney, adding: "We are asking more questions of the opposition."

Best, equalling Keith Wood's Ireland record of 58 caps at hooker and leading the side in the absence of Paul O'Connell -- one of several first-choice players missing through injury along with Brian O'Driscoll, Sean O'Brien and Conor Murray, said the Irish had only themselves to blame for not being better-placed in the tournament.

"Against Wales it was bitterly disappointing but the bottom line is were were six points up with eight minutes to go, at home, and we weren't able to close that out," Best said.

After two Greig Laidlaw penalties had given Scotland an early lead, Ireland hit back when fly-half Jonathan Sexton kicked a penalty to touch and from the ensuing lineout, where Best was throwing in, saw their stand-in skipper get on the end of a well-worked move for a try. AFP


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