In our latest edition of remembering classic matches in the Championship, we took a look back at a 2004 clash between Scotland and Ireland at Lansdowne Road.
The two old rivals racked up six tries on the day, and this is the story of how the action unfolded.
SETTING THE SCENE
Going into the game Ireland were in excellent form, having won three of their four matches and within reach of the Championship title, with rivals France due to take to the field against England later that day.
Ireland had also been strong in 2003, finishing second in the table, and after losing to France in the curtain raiser to 2004 had gone on to beat Wales, Italy and England at Twickenham.
Scotland, meanwhile, were not enjoying the Championship that year with four defeats recorded and unable to trouble the scorers against France at Murrayfield a week before.
Ireland’s team contained plenty of famous names, with Anthony Foley at No.8, legendary lock Paul O’Connell starting and the ultra-competitive David Wallace at openside.
The backs contained two of their Championship record-holders, with top try scorer Brian O’Driscoll at centre and record points scorer Ronan O’Gara at fly-half.
Scotland’s record points scorer in the Championship was also present, Chris Paterson starting at full-back, with Dan Parks and Chris Cusiter in the half-backs.
HOW THE ACTION UNFOLDED
After a tentative opening, Scotland were first on the board when captain Paterson knocked over a penalty on two minutes, O’Gara levelling soon after.
The Scots brought plenty of aggression in defence but the home side grabbed a try midway through the first half with Gordon D’Arcy, who would go on to win Player of the Championship, finishing off a backs move.
O’Gara registered another penalty but Scotland fired back, with debutant fly-half Parks sending over a remarkable drop goal from almost 40 metres out.
Geordan Murphy scored a wonderful try just before the break but soon after the interval the away side rallied once again, with Ally Hogg going over from close range and Paterson converting.
The Irish were determined to seize the moment though, Wallace powering over on 56 minutes and scrum-half Peter Stringer sniping in soon after.
D’Arcy would have the last laugh as he crossed for his double, playing a one-two with Murphy to go in under the posts, starting the celebrations as Ireland claimed a first Triple Crown in 19 years.
WHAT THEY SAID
Ireland great Brian O’Driscoll talked up D’Arcy’s contribution: “His broken-field running is very, very special and I’d like to see the statistics because I wouldn’t say he’s missed too many tackles in the Championship.
“I don’t think there has been a better centre and you would struggle to find a better back.”
Ireland 37-16 Scotland Lansdowne Road Saturday 27 March 2004
Ireland: G Dempsey, S Horgan, G D’Arcy, B O’Driscoll, G Murphy, R O’Gara, P Stringer, R Corrigan, S Byrne, J Hayes, M O’Kelly, P O’Connell, S Easterby, D Wallace, A Foley. Replacements: F Sheahan, Horan, D O’Callaghan), V Costello, D Humphreys, G Easterby, K Maggs.
Scotland: C Paterson, S Danielli, T Philip, A Henderson, S Webster, D Parks, C Cusiter, A Jacobsen, G Bulloch, B Douglas, S Murray, S Grimes, J White, S Taylor, A Hogg. Replacements: R Russell, G Kerr, N Hines, J Petrie, M Blair, B Laney, D Lee.
Attendance: 42,750 Referee: Nigel Williams