Ireland v Scotland

Stuart Hogg kicked off to start his own tenure as captain and the early signs certainly gave rise to optimism.

Scotland’s intensity was obvious from the off, Huw Jones’ quick hands finding Blair Kinghorn. It came to no avail but represented an attitude from Gregor Townsend’s men that was perhaps lacking when the sides last met in Yokohama last year.

Scotland took an early lead through the boot of Adam Hastings after Ireland were penalised for not moving away, but the hosts responded in style, eschewing three points and then scoring a well-worked try through skipper Johnny Sexton, which he duly converted.

A collapsed scrum allowed Hastings to cut the lead back to a solitary point from 40m out, and when captain Stuart Hogg sent a howitzer of a touch-finder soon after, the visitors were perfectly set for another attack.

A relentless Irish defence stood firm and not for the last time in the half as Scotland knocked on the door several times without being able to put the finishing touches on any promising situations.

A Peter O’Mahony obstruction gave the Scots relief inside their 22 when Ireland were well set and although Hogg this time missed his touch, Ireland went in off their feet, much to their own consternation, and Hastings was afforded a shot at the sticks which just kept right.

When Ali Price was penalised for being offside, Sexton slotted from distance to restore Ireland’s four-point advantage, which remained until Mathieu Raynal blew for the end of the half.

​HALF-TIME Ireland 10-6 Scotland

The Ireland stand-off added another three points from Scottish transgressions in the ruck and then with the clock showing 50 minutes had gone, Hogg went so close to hauling his side back into it, only to lose control of the ball as the try line beckoned.

After a delay for attention to the injured Dave Kilcoyne, Hastings landed a third penalty to offer more hope, although Ireland responded in kind four minutes later from in front of the posts.

After Hamish Watson produced a sublime turnover to stifle a rare Irish attack, Hastings once more landed from the tee to make it 16-12 with 25 minutes left to play.

Ireland looked to be home and hosed when Sexton again knocked over a penalty after Sam Johnson had taken out Andrew Conway illegally, but Scotland refused to give up and went within centimetres of scoring a try themselves.

With a couple of minutes left on the clock, and Scotland going through phase after phase, they just couldn’t breach an heroic defence at the end of an encouraging performance.

FULL-TIME Ireland 19-12 Scotland

Ireland: Jordan Larmour; Andrew Conway, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale; Johnny Sexton ©, Conor Murray; Cian Healy, Rob Herring, Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson, James Ryan, CJ Stander, Josh Van der Flier, Caelan Doris.

Replacements: Ronan Kelleher, Dave Kilcoyne, Andrew Porter, Devin Toner, Peter O'Mahony, John Cooney, Ross Byrne, Robbie Henshaw.

Scotland: Stuart Hogg ©; Sean Maitland, Huw Jones, Sam Johnson, Blair Kinghorn; Adam Hastings, Ali Price; Rory Sutherland, Fraser Brown, Zander Fagerson, Scott Cummings, Jonny Gray, Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson, Nick Haining.

Replacements: Stuart McInally, Allan Dell, Simon Berghan, Ben Toolis, Cornell Du Preez, George Horne, Rory Hutchinson, Chris Harris.

live commentary 4:45 PM Saturday 1 Feb 2020

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Kick-off 4:45 PM



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