Ireland vs Scotland, Sat, 19/03/2016 - 17:00

Ireland
35 - 25
Full time
Scotland
Saturday, 19 March, 2016 - 17:00 | Aviva Stadium

For a mid table match in the final round of the 2016 RBS 6 Nations there was an awful lot at stake and a hard fought game demonstrated both sides clear desire to win.

Scotland had the momentum after home and away wins in the previous two rounds and was aiming to finish the championship in third place and put a host of old, unwanted statistical records to bed in the process.

Ireland had struggled for momentum and suffering a hangover after back to back title wins. A glut of tries against Italy though in the previous game had injected some confidence and they were back at home for the second week.

Despite numerous penalties and a game that lacked any consistent rhythm from either team it still had plenty of incident and bite in front of a sell-out Aviva crowd.

The odds were stacked against the upbeat Scots; they had never won at the Dublin Stadium, with their last victory in Ireland coming at Croke Park in 2010.

The first half was a stop start affair, lacking any fluency as Scotland struggled for possession and territory and Ireland varied their approach to break the defence.

Sexton and Laidlaw traded penalties early on, with the Scotland captain becoming only the third Scot to pass 500pts with his first successful kick at goal that reigned in Ireland’s earlier 6-0 advantage to 6-3.

It was 9-3 on 17mins when Stuart Hogg opened the game up with the first try.

A kick into the Scotland half from Ireland was returned with interest as Hogg went on a long distance run which suckered the Irish defensive line and enabled the full-back to sprint in untouched from 50metres to give to the Scots a vital in-road to the contest.

It was the brightest moment of the first half though for the visitors who struggled with referee Pascal Gauzere’s interpretation at the breakdown and were consistently penalised.

This culminated in the 24th minute with John Barclay, winning his 50th cap, being yellow-carded.

This opened up a fruitful spell for Ireland who kicked to the corner from the subsequent penalty, drove the lineout and set up flanker CJ Stander for a dive over try from short range on 26 minutes. Sexton converted for a 16-10 advantage.

From the restart Ireland countered again and Sexton’s chip behind the Scotland defence saw Hogg and Seymour collide as they both went to cover.

The loose ball was picked up by Keith Earls, also on his 50th appearance, and he scampered in. A missed conversion saw Ireland up 21-10 on the 30-minute mark.

A penalty on the stroke of half-time by Laidlaw closed the gap to 21-13 at the break.

Half-time: Ireland 21-13 Scotland

Scotland started the second half brightly and tried to inject some pace in their game with tapped penalties and intent to keep possession.

An Ireland counter from a Hogg kick saw the home side nearly round off the attack with a score as Duncan Weir was forced to carry into touch metres out from the Scotland line after intercepting a certain scoring pass.

A driving maul from the resulting lineout took Ireland close enough for scrum-half Connor Murray to snipe in for a try on 48mins, which Sexton converted.

Scotland brought on fresh legs as Strauss replaced Hardie shortly after and a penalty enabled Scotland to kick to the Irish 22.

Quick ball from the resulting phases created midfield space for lock Richie Gray to run in under the posts on 55mins to bring the visitors back into the game.

While Scotland was now getting more possession and parity on the penalty count the balance of the game swung again back to the home side when Alex Dunbar was yellow-carded for lifting Jonny Sexton out of a ruck on 68 minutes.

A man up, Ireland kicked to the corner and after several phases lock Devin Toner scored under the posts, Sexton recovered sufficiently to convert.

The final 10minutes saw Scotland display resilience and the character Head Coach Vern Cotter has looked for in selection.

Tempers flared on several occasions as both sides fought hard for the right to win the game.

Scotland counter attacked when possible and drew a penalty when John Barclay kicked through only for supporting runners to be obstructed as they chased through.

A succession of penalties and drives into the Ireland 22 saw Scotland finish the match strongly. A couple of deft flicks in the backline eventually giving Dunbar a score on 78mins. Laidlaw couldn’t make the conversion from out wide.

Full-time: Ireland (21) 35-25 (13) Scotland

Scotland: 15. Stuart Hogg, 14. Tommy Seymour, 13. Duncan Taylor, Alex Dunbar, 11. Tim Visser, 10. Duncan Weir, 9. Greig Laidlaw Captain, 1. Alasdair Dickinson, 2. Ross Ford, 3. WP Nel, 4. Richie Gray, 5. Tim Swinson, 6. John Barclay, 7. John Hardie, 8. Ryan Wilson. Substitutes: 16. McInally on for Ford (50'), 17. Sutherland on for Dickinson (66'), 18. Low on for Nel (68'), 19. Harley on for Swinson (62'), 20. Strauss on for Hardie (52'), 21. Pyrgos, 22. Horne on for Weir (62'), 23. Lamont on for Visser (68').

Team lineups

Ireland
Scotland

Backs

Backs

Forwards

Forwards

Substitutes

Substitutes

RBS 6 Nations Championship 2016 latest results

France 21 v 31 England
Ireland 35 v 25 Scotland
Wales 67 v 14 Italy
Scotland 29 v 18 France
England 25 v 21 Wales