Rugby Union: Hero O'Driscoll the Toast of Dublin ; SIX NATIONS' CHAMPIONSHIP Ireland Centre Leads the Celebrations after Hat-Trick of Tries Secures Emphatic Win; Ireland 43 Tries: O'Driscoll 3, Horgan, S Easterby Cons: Humphreys 2, O'Gara Pens: Humphreys 4 Half-Time: 22-12 Scotland 22 Try: M Leslie Con: Laney Pens: Laney 5 Attendance: 48,898

By Godwin, Hugh | The Independent (London, England), March 4, 2002 | Go to article overview
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Rugby Union: Hero O'Driscoll the Toast of Dublin ; SIX NATIONS' CHAMPIONSHIP Ireland Centre Leads the Celebrations after Hat-Trick of Tries Secures Emphatic Win; Ireland 43 Tries: O'Driscoll 3, Horgan, S Easterby Cons: Humphreys 2, O'Gara Pens: Humphreys 4 Half-Time: 22-12 Scotland 22 Try: M Leslie Con: Laney Pens: Laney 5 Attendance: 48,898


Godwin, Hugh, The Independent (London, England)


BRIAN O'DRISCOLL moved less smoothly through the throng outside the post-match banquet than he had done through Scotland's porous midfield earlier in the day.

Ladies old and young kept wanting to plant kisses on the hat- trick hero's cheek. "She doesn't treat me like that," grumbled one jealous husband.

As one of Dublin's own, O'Driscoll is accustomed to the warmth of feeling towards him in his home city, and scoring three tries in a Six Nations match for the second time in three years helps too. He is the first man since the war to achieve such a double in the Championship. Eddie O'Sullivan, Ireland's coach, said that O'Driscoll was "a marked man, but he still delivered". What Scotland would have suffered if they had not been marking him just does not bear thinking about.

Every one knows that O'Driscoll has a shimmy of the hips that John Travolta would be proud of, allied with blistering pace and that preciously instinctive eye for the gap. He also possesses a set of prop's shoulders that enable him to ride out the rough stuff.

"I took a bang and got a bit winded," O'Driscoll said of one first-half tackle. "I had to get rid of some of my dinner at half- time, but was grand afterwards." Grand, indeed, albeit that some shoddy Scottish defence and shocking misuse of the ball by the visitors helped make O'Driscoll's day. "The tries haven't been coming for god-knows how many games," the 23-year- old added, "so it's funny that three come up in one game.

"In some games you feel you're well marked but luckily I was the one who went through a lot of gaps today. A lot of credit must go to the guys around me. They're running some great lines."

The first time Ireland got their geometry right was after 25 minutes. Much as in the corresponding fixture two years ago, which Ireland won 44-22, Scotland had taken the lead (this time it was 9- 3), and troubled their hosts at scrum and line-out. But a simple move from a scrum in the Scottish 22 drew Brendan Laney and James McLaren towards Kevin Maggs on O'Driscoll's inside. A miss-pass from David Humphreys to O'Driscoll did the rest.

Having seen their nemesis slice through once, the Scots tried a different tack in the 34th minute. Three of them converged on O'Driscoll as he received the ball in centre-field from a long pass by Peter Stringer. But a marvellous pass out to Shane Horgan off the Lion's left hand - "Brian's best moment of the game", O'Sullivan called it - sent the wing away for Ireland's second try.

When Bryan Redpath's pass evaded Laney's fingertips as the full- back joined the line, and O'Driscoll raced away on an 80-metre run- in just before half-time, Scotland's self-inflicted wounds became terminal.

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Rugby Union: Hero O'Driscoll the Toast of Dublin ; SIX NATIONS' CHAMPIONSHIP Ireland Centre Leads the Celebrations after Hat-Trick of Tries Secures Emphatic Win; Ireland 43 Tries: O'Driscoll 3, Horgan, S Easterby Cons: Humphreys 2, O'Gara Pens: Humphreys 4 Half-Time: 22-12 Scotland 22 Try: M Leslie Con: Laney Pens: Laney 5 Attendance: 48,898
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