Paul O’Connell was left in little doubt as to the significance of Ireland’s win over Scotland as his former side bounced back from defeat to snatch the spoils from BT Murrayfield.
O’Connell, who helped Ireland to three Guinness Six Nations titles during his playing career, watched on from the BBC studios as Ireland ran out 22-13 victors in Edinburgh.
And after their high-profile loss to England on home soil last weekend, O’Connell took the pragmatists’ view of the situation after the match.
“There was a lot of doubt around Ireland coming into this game,” he said.
“While it wasn’t a spectacular performance they’ll take the win. We spoke a little bit about Ireland not getting the bonus point; the win is the most important thing for Ireland now. It’s a good win, a really important win.
“There wasn’t a lot of complication to how they played. They kept it very simple, didn’t put themselves in danger and just ground out the game.”
A frenetic first half saw Ireland take a narrow 12-10 lead into the break, but Keith Earls went over in the second 40 to deal Scotland a first Guinness Six Nations defeat on home soil since Round One of 2016’s Championship.
And there was heartier praise for Joe Schmidt’s side from a more unlikely source, as former England captain Martin Johnson weighed in.
“I think it’s a really good away win for them (Ireland),” he said.
“It was chaotic in the first half and Scotland probably enjoyed that better. Ireland just took a grip of that game, raised the stakes.
“I think the Irish forwards will sit there and look at themselves and appreciate what they did.”