LAST WEEEKEND Ireland played Scotland in one of the best rugby games this year.
Andy Farrell's men came out on top in the pulsating clash at Murrayfield. Ireland won 7-22 on Saturday in a game that was described by Andy Farrell the win as the 'best game he'd been involved in his coaching career.'
Ireland's ability to overcome every obstacle thrown at them was one of the main highlights of the game.
The Irish lost forwards Dan Sheehan, Caelan Doris, and Iain Henderson in the opening 30 minutes.
Ireland went into the break 8-7 up, thanks to a Mack Hansen try. The Australian canceled out Huw Jones' opening try.
Things would get worse for Ireland on the injury front in the second half when their starting hooker Ronan Kelleher had to leave the pitch.
World Player of the Year Josh van der Flier a back-rower, was tasked with hooker duties.
When he came on, Van der Flier was later replaced by Cian Healy as Ireland's hooker.
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) March 13, 2023
Gary Ringrose later had to leave on a stretcher with an oxygen mask after suffering a head injury.
Ireland scored would then score three tries, with Hansen, James Lowe, and Jack Conan closing the game out.
James Ryan could have sealed a bonus point win for Ireland, but his wayward pass to Lowe near the end of the second half could not find his Leinster teammate.
The win ended Scotland's chance to win their first Triple Crown since 1990 and this year's Six Nations Championship.
Ireland now marches on to play England in what could be their first Grand Slam win on home soil ever next weekend.
One man who played for Ireland on more than one occasion and knows all about big games is former Ireland and Leinster inside centre Gordon D'Arcy.
D'Arcy played 82 times for his country and was also part of two British & Irish Lions teams in 2005 and 2009.
This week the 43-year-old sat down with the Irish post and Ice36 to discuss Ireland's hard-fought win over Scotland.
Gordon D'Arcy on Ireland's win over Scotland
Ireland's win against Scotland will be remembered for a long-time for the reasons said above, but according to D'Arcy Ireland's win was a 'poor reflection on Scotland'.
"Was it one of Ireland's best wins, probably not. You know the series win in New Zealand will be probably top that," said the former Leinster player
"I think what it shows the level of resilience within the squad is that it shows that stuff just isn't shaking them and that confidence in their own ability when the next guy comes on as long, he keeps doing what he's doing, then it keeps the ship tipping along.
"Not to be disrespectful to Scotland, but they are at a different stage with their development curve. They are working on their attacking game, and you can see that within the first 40 minutes.
"That was one of the best matches we (Ireland) have had against Scotland in the professional era.
"They are probably missing a few aspects of their game on reflection and that fact that they weren't able to capitalise on what should have been classified as two inherent weaknesses in the Ireland back line.
D’Arcy also felt that if the same thing happened against France, South Africa, or New Zealand, the outcome would be different
"When you boil it back, you probably go if that happened against France, South Africa, or New Zealand, you wouldn't be as hopeful for the same outcome.
"It just shows that Scotland didn't lay a glove on Ireland. Josh van der Flier had a 100% success rate with his lineouts. Not being able to flip that back on Ireland was a poor reflection of Scotland.
"That tempers the win a small bit for me but take nothing away from the players that they weren't rattled by the setbacks."
Gordon D'Arcy on Ireland's growing World Cup hype after the Scotland win
D'Arcy also wants Ireland fans to enjoy the golden period of success in Irish rugby and that talking constantly about next year's Rugby World Cup isn't something that people should focus on for now.
"People who follow rugby have this weird focus on the Rugby World Cup because we never broke that glass ceiling, we have never got past the quarter-final stage," added D'Arcy.
"It's the only thing we haven't done in rugby; everyone focuses on that.
"I am very much in the case of 'we need to enjoy the success while we have it and when we have it.
"So, we win in New Zealand, and half the conversation is about the World Cup, 15 months ahead.
"That is unfortunate because you don't fully appreciate what is happening at the time.
The former Ireland player believes that winning a home Grand Slam will go down history and will hold more weight than a World Cup semi-final
"If we can park the World Cup for a second, to win a home Grand Slam which we have never done, is something that will go down in history and potentially holds more weight than a potential World Cup semi-final.
"The World Cup is a different challenge. You know we won three games in New Zealand. If there was a 4th or 5th, how well stocked would we be? I am not so sure.
"It's a seven-game tournament. It is tough. We will be playing France or New Zealand in a quarter final. It's a different challenge. The World Cup is going to take care of itself.
"We really need to enjoy the success that is on offer in front of our noses."
Ireland plays England at 5 pm for the Grand Slam.
That game will be live on Virgin Media and the BBC this weekend.