Six Nations 2017: Pain of past defeats drove Scots to victory - Jonny Gray

Jonny Gray
Jonny Gray made 14 carries against Ireland in addition to making 27 tackles

Forward Jonny Gray says Scotland were determined not to repeat the mistakes of previous narrow losses as they held on to beat Ireland in the Six Nations.

The Scots have lost in the dying minutes in two meetings with Australia and in home Six Nations defeats by France and Italy in recent years.

"The experiences we've had before, there's been a lot of pain in the Scotland shirt," Gray said.

"It's how you learn from that. We've still got a lot to grow."

After scoring three tries in a breathless first half - Stuart Hogg crossing twice with Alex Dunbar grabbing the other - the Scots repelled a storming Irish fight-back to seal a first opening day championship win since 2006.

"We talk a lot about not making the same mistakes," the Glasgow Warriors lock said.

"In life and in rugby when you make mistakes it's important to learn from them. Personally and as a team we've got a lot of improvements to make. We're happy, it's a good start but it's going to be tough going forward.

"The belief is there. We want to do the jersey proud and you do that by making yourself better."

The Irish did come back to lead by a point following Paddy Jackson's converted try, but the Scots held firm and replied with two Greig Laidlaw penalties to close out the match.

Finn Russell
Finn Russell will be assessed before being cleared to train after suffering a head knock against Ireland

"Ultimately it comes down to times like that," said Gray, who made 27 tackles in a Herculean defensive effort.

"It was hard, the boys were tired and sore. It was tough out there. There could have been a moment when we put our heads down but we knew we had to grind and luckily we got the win in the end and we're absolutely delighted. That's just the first game. We'll enjoy this and have an extra day's recovery and then back on it for France [next Sunday].

"When you look at the French side, the individuals they've got, they're unbelievable talents. We're under no illusions how tough it's going to be out there. It's going to be very physical when you look at the players and stars they've got in their team."

Fly-half Finn Russell will be assessed on Monday before he is cleared to train following a head knock picked up against Ireland.

Russell was assessed during the match after a heavy collision with Robbie Henshaw. He was passed fit to return to the action in the 45th minute after a head injury assessment, and also showed no signs of concussion after the match.

Hooker Fraser Brown has been cleared to train after an eye injury forced his first-half removal against the Irish.

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Highlights: Scotland 27-22 Ireland

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