Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Ireland crush Scots

Ireland scored four tries in a 32-14 victory of the RBS 6 Nations to send Scotland to a sixth successive Test loss and leave the visitors facing a trip to Italy to avoid the wooden spoon.

Ireland led 22-14 at half-time after tries from captain Rory Best, Eoin Reddan and Andrew Trimble, with Scotland's response coming from Richie Gray's solo try and three Greig Laidlaw penalties.

Replacement Fergus McFadden went over three minutes from time - Jonathan Sexton converting as part of his 12-point haul - to compound Scotland's woes after wing Lee Jones was carried off on a stretcher.

Laidlaw booted two early penalties but a perfectly executed set move at an attacking line-out enabled Ireland to take the lead, however, with man-of-the-match Donnacha Ryan taking and supplying Peter O'Mahony. O'Mahony switched back to the blindside and fed Best, who flattened scrum-half Mike Blair and touched down for a try converted by Sexton.

Ireland had opted for the line-out instead of Sexton taking a shot at goal, but in the 26th minute the Leinster fly-half chose the three points.

Once the omnipresent Best had dealt with a chip ahead that Sean Lamont was in danger of reaching and Scotland had launched a fruitless assault on the whitewash, Laidlaw landed his third penalty.

Ireland's response was their second try, though there was an element of luck involved as Reddan, having failed to distribute the ball from a ruck, was suddenly offered a sight of the line. Wriggling through tackles from Denton, Blair and Sean Lamont, he scrambled over from five yards out and Sexton converted.

An action-packed game continued to excite when Gray displayed tremendous skills to touch down, shrugging off Tommy Bowe and Reddan before dummying Rob Kearney to gallop over.

On the stroke of half-time Ireland almost squandered a glorious chance when Kearney went alone instead of using Trimble, but the ball was still recycled and the Ulster winger was in.

Yet Ireland still needed another score to calm their nerves and it was delivered by Sexton, who slotted a difficult penalty from a tight angle to secure a nine-point cushion and any lingering doubt over the result was dispelled four minutes before time when McFadden touched down.


From Belfast Telegraph