The six nations continued into its second weekend with a thrilling match with a full capacity Murrayfield crowd shivering in a mixture of icy breeze and pre-match tension. The Gullivers group rolled smoothly into town courtesy of the Edinburgh tram system and, with hotels within a short stroll of Murrayfield or either end of Princes Street, were well positioned to enjoy the beautiful architecture, sights and sounds of Edinburgh. Our representatives Nikki and Jody were on hand at the hotels to assist clients with check-in, distribute match tickets, help with tips on how to navigate around Edinburgh and out to Murrayfield and make recommendations on the best places to eat and drink and soak up the pre and post-match atmosphere.

Blue and green shirts mingled freely, with the opinions of the Gulliver’s group divided between a home or away win. Ireland, coming off the back of a home defeat by the English had more to prove than usual; and an ever-improving Scotland with a strong win behind them in the first week over the Italians, along with the added home advantage it was very hard to predict who would prevail.

The home side kicked things off with a Greig Laidlaw penalty but tries from Conor Murray and Jacob Stockdale put the visitors ahead and then Sam Johnson went over to narrow the gap to two points as the Scots piled on the pressure. Scotland had more chances – but sadly didn't take them. More than 70% of the first half was played in Ireland's end of the pitch but the Scots couldn't break through the Irish defence. Just before the end of the half they were camped on Ireland's five-metre line for minutes on end, going through 25 phases and stretching Ireland almost to breaking point, but not quite.

Ireland grabbed the first points of the second half as Carbery waltzed up the middle from loose ball and found space before releasing Earls for their third try. On the hour, Scotland won a turnover through Ritchie and Ireland then were penalised at the subsequent breakdown. Laidlaw was on the mark with Scotland’s first points of the half.

That effort, however, was cancelled out by Carbery as Ireland bulldozed through a sustained set of phases to put the ball over the line. The ferocity was unrelenting and the tackle count on both sides exorbitant. With 10 minutes left to play, Scotland had made an astonishing 225 tackles and Ireland 149. Dell, Grant Gilchrist, Jonny Gray, Ritchie and Strauss were in the mid-to-high 20s. Ireland's individual numbers weren't as earth shattering, but they were made to work over and above for everything they got.

For all Gullivers clients, readily identifiable in their Wooden Spoon wooly hats, an evening of revelry in Edinburgh nightlife, the Irish clients celebrating and the Scots still happy to commiserate in an electric post-match environment was something to experience.

Jody Allan



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