06 Feb Gray | Belief and determination saw us through
Scotland lock Jonny Gray says his teammates’ belief and determination was the key to their 27-22 victory over Ireland at a sold-out BT Murrayfield Stadium on Saturday.
The Scots recorded their first opening day win in the RBS 6 Nations since 2006 in an epic encounter at the home of Scottish rugby.
Three tries in thirty minutes courtesy of Alex Dunbar and a Stuart Hogg brace saw the hosts race away in the first-half.
But the Irish came back stronger after the break and took the lead, before captain and scrum-half Greig Laidlaw hit over two penalties to secure victory for the hosts.
Gray said: “The belief was there and we wanted to do the jersey proud. It ultimately comes down to times like that. There could’ve been a moment when we put are heads down but we knew we had to grind it out and luckily we got the win.
“The experiences we’ve had before, there has been a lot of pain in the Scotland shirt. It’s how you learn from that, and we still have a lot to grow.
“We often talk about not making the same mistakes. In life and in rugby when you make mistakes it’s important to learn from them.”
The Scottish determination and desire in defence was highlighted in Gray’s performance, making close to 30 tackles in a gruelling 80 minutes.
“We looked at Ireland and knew how hard a game this was going to be. You can see when their ball carriers got the ball how hard it was and how much we had to defend.
“It was tough, very tough. You saw their ball retention and speed to rucks. It was very physical.”
Scotland face France in Paris this Sunday (kick-off 3pm, live on BBC), where they haven’t won since 1999, an illustration of the challenge ahead, despite positive reflections on last season’s 29-18 home success and the fact the five preceding defeats were by seven points or fewer. The were, after all, still defeats.
Gray said: “We enjoyed this win and have an extra day’s recovery today (Monday) before getting back on it for France.
“We are under no illusion as to how tough it’s going to be out there.”