IRELAND 31–16 SCOTLAND

Scotland’s Autumn Nations Cup campaign ended with defeat in Dublin, as they finished fourth in the international competition.

The visitors started brightly and appeared to settle into conditions better, although both sides were forcing errors from one another from the off.

Edinburgh stand-off van der Walt had an opportunity to land his first points in international rugby with a massive penalty attempt from 45m and although it had the legs, the kick drifted wide.

Van der Walt did, however, land the next chance, from slightly closer, after Ireland were penalised for illegally trying to turn the ball over, and the playmaker repeated the trick seven minutes later to give Scotland a six-point lead.

The returning Duncan Taylor showed flashes of just what he can bring to the Scottish backline, getting his hands on the ball as often as possible and breaking the gain-line on more than one occasion.

Stuart Hogg was also clearly in the mood to dispel myths that rugby has lost some of its entertainment appeal in recent times, weaving his way past several Irish tacklers from inside his own 22.

After van der Walt grabbed his third penalty of the afternoon, things changed when the impressive Taylor was adjudged to have deliberately knocked the ball on to halt an Ireland attack and he was sent to the bin for his sin.

A galvanised Ireland took full advantage and after another Johnny Sexton penalty, the Leinster pivot lobbed a speculative kick over to his left at a penalty advantage, the ball somehow plummeting perfectly for Keith Earls to fall on and earn the hosts a very slight half-time cushion.

HALF-TIME - IRELAND 11-9 SCOTLAND

The hosts came racing out of the half time blocks and grabbed quick tries through Cian Healy, who burrowed over from close range, and Keith Earls, who finished in style to give Ireland a lead that they would never really look like relinquishing.

Scotland regrouped somewhat and after patiently building some possession and territory, Duhan van der Merwe spotted an opportunity to pick and go from distance and did just that, pinning his ears back and cantering over for a third international try in just four starts.

In what was a sixth game for the squad in seven weeks, fatigue definitely crept in for both sides, with Ireland’s experience essentially telling as they kept scoreboard pressure on with further penalties from Sexton and then Ross Byrne.

A fourth-place finish in the inaugural Autumn Nations Cup is the result of that six-match run, with Gregor Townsend and his charges now turning their attentions to the 2021 Guinness Six Nations, which starts in February.

FULL-TIME - IRELAND 31-16 SCOTLAND

Scotland:Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs) CAPTAIN, Darcy Graham (Edinburgh Rugby), Chris Harris (Gloucester), Duncan Taylor (Saracens), Duhan Van Der Merwe (Edinburgh Rugby); Jaco van der Walt (Edinburgh Rugby), Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors); Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh Rugby), Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors), Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors), Jonny Gray (Exeter Chiefs), Blade Thomson (Scarlets), Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh Rugby), Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors).

Subs:George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) for Brown (68 minutes), Oli Kebble, (Glasgow Warriors) for Sutherland (64), WP Nel (Edinburgh Rugby) for Z Fagerson (68), Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs) for Cummings (64), Blair Cowan (London Irish) for Ritchie (68), Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Exeter Chiefs) for Price (75), Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) for Taylor (64), Sean Maitland (Saracens) for Graham (60).

Ireland: Jacob Stockdale; Hugo Keenan, Bundee Aki, Robbie Henshaw, Keith Earls; Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray; Cian Healy, Rob Herring, Andrew Porter; Iain Henderson, James Ryan; CJ Stander, Peter O'Mahony, Caelan Doris.

Replacements: Ronan Kelleher, Eric O'Sullivan, John Ryan, Quinn Roux, Josh van der Flier, Jamison Gibson Park, Ross Byrne, Chris Farrell.

live commentary 2:15 PM Saturday 5 Dec 2020

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Kick-off 2:15 PM

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