Monday, May 27, 2024

Ireland 17-13 Scotland: Andy Farrell’s side claim back-to-back Six Nations titles with win

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Ireland secured back-to-back Six Nations titles for just the third time in their history as Andy Farrell’s side eventually saw off a stubborn Scotland 17-13 at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

Tries from hooker Dan Sheehan and loosehead prop Andrew Porter, added to by seven points via the boot of Jack Crowley saw Ireland to victory, with Finn Russell notching two penalties in response for Scotland, and Huw Jones a late try.

Repeat outright championship victories in 1948 and 1949 and 2014 and 2015 have been added to after Ireland won a Grand Slam in 2023, and though last-gasp defeat at Twickenham denied them the chance of historic repeat Grand Slams, the title was duly wrapped up again.

Ireland 17-13 Scotland – Score summary

Ireland – Tries: Sheehan (13), Porter (65). Cons: Crowley (14, 65). Pens: Crowley (43).

Scotland – Tries: Jones (77). Cons: Russell (78). Pens: Russell (8, 18).

The title is Ireland’s sixth in the Six Nations era, and fifth in the last 11 years, while they now have 19 total outright championship successes.

Ireland’s Six Nations titles

2009 – Grand Slam won in Cardiff

2014 – Six Nations title won in Paris

2015 – Six Nations title won in Edinburgh

2018 – Grand Slam won in Twickenham

2023 – Grand Slam won in Dublin vs England

2024 – Six Nations title won in Dublin vs Scotland

2024 Six Nations standings

Team W D L SD BP P
Ireland 4 0 1 84 4 20
France 3 1 1 6 1 15
England 3 0 2 -5 2 14
Scotland 2 0 3 0 4 12
Italy 2 1 2 -34 1 11
Wales 0 0 5 -51 4 4

Scotland hit the lead in the eighth minute via the boot of Russell, after wing James Lowe was penalised for crawling with a jackal in place, and the hosts were guilty of some early self-inflicted pressure.

Image:
Scotland fly-half Finn Russell kicked the opening points of the contest in Dublin

Ireland were shorn of the influential Hugo Keenan after a warm-up injury, but probing Crowley and Lowe kicks penned Scotland into their 22 in response, and after Ireland kicked an offside penalty to the corner, the opening try arrived, though not through the route expected.

Ireland produced a clever lineout move to the front within the Scotland 22, only for Scotland to read it well and drive Sheehan into touch. The result was a Scotland defensive lineout, and when George Turner overthrew, Sheehan collected and stepped to score from the gift.

Sheehan
Image:
Sheehan got over for Ireland’s opening try following a Scotland lineout overthrow

Dan Sheehan celebrates after scoring Ireland's opening try against Scotland

A poor clearance kick from Ireland scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park from the restart put Scotland back onto the attack, and when Joe McCarthy was caught offside, Russell narrowed the gap to a point at 7-6.

Some brilliant defence from both sides kept the other out when under pressure for extended spells, while Crowley missed the chance to restore Ireland’s lead to four points when he hooked a penalty wide from over 40 metres out in the closing stages of the opening half.

Ireland started the second period with a much more determined tempo, as a magnificent Lowe offload sent Bundee Aki sprinting into the 22, and the home side almost in for a try with quick ball. Scotland did just enough to keep their defensive structure intact, but conceded a breakdown penalty which Crowley chipped over for 10-6.

Crowley
Image:
Jack Crowley missed a penalty attempt before half-time, but did add three points after the break

Russell kicked the restart straight out as the Irish fans continued in fine voice, before a dominant scrum penalty brought more territory, but full-back Jordan Larmour – in to replace Keenan – let the ball through his hands with the try-line at his mercy.

Ireland had been playing on penalty advantage, so attacked again, but prop Tadhg Furlong then knocked on over the try-line as he dived to score in the ensuing attack.

Tadhg Furlong crosses the try line but his effort is ruled out for a knock-on
Image:
Tadhg Furlong crossed the try-line but knocked on as he looked to ground the ball

Another huge try-scoring chance was passed up by Ireland when replacement Garry Ringrose knocked on mere metres from the try-line as he sought to step back.

With 16 minutes to play, Robbie Henshaw looked to have finally broken Scottish resistance, but a TMO review showed Cameron Redpath had somehow kept the ball up in a remarkable piece of defence.

Scotland had conceded three penalties in the lead-up to that incident, however, and so hooker Ewan Ashman was sent to the sin-bin, and this time Ireland would not be denied as Porter stormed over following a five-metre tap attack and Ronan Kelleher flick-pass.

Porter
Image:
Andrew Porter grabbed the vital second Ireland try, after so many chances spurned beforehand

Crowley converted for 17-6, and from there Ireland appeared comfortable until a brief late scare when Jones sprinted in with Irish replacement Harry Byrne in the sin-bin for a high tackle on Russell.

Ireland forced a knock-on to recover the ball following the restart, though, and could then tick down the seconds before kicking out for a huge ovation.

Farrell: I’m unbelievably delighted | Russell: Scotland must improve mentality

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell told ITV Sport…

“There were two sides going for a trophy. The conditions didn’t help in the first half so it was a war of attrition.

“I am unbelievably delighted for the lads. To go back-to-back is hard to do, history tells you that.

“The players committed to what they are about in the second half. They came out really strong. If we had taken out chances it could have taken it away from them a little bit but you don’t get it all your own way in Test rugby.

“Everyone talks about Grand Slams but it is so tough to do that. We are delighted [to win the title].”

Farrell, Peter O'Mahony

Scotland captain Russell told ITV Sport…

“We gifted them that try in the first half, which sums up how the campaign has been. A bit up and down.

“We need to get a lot better mentally for next year’s campaign. We can’t keep being up and down in a competition.

“As good as today was, it has been a frustrating campaign.

“Ireland are the team to beat, in my opinion. The best in the world.”

What’s next?

After a second successive Six Nations title win, Ireland next turn attentions to a two-Test summer tour of world champions South Africa in July.

Ireland’s Six Nations 2024 results

Friday, February 2 France 17-38 Ireland 8pm
Sunday, February 11 Ireland 36-0 Italy 3pm
Saturday, February 24 Ireland 31-7 Wales 2.15pm
Saturday, March 9 England 23-22 Ireland 4.45pm
Saturday, March 16 Ireland 17-13 Scotland 4.45pm

After a disappointing championship of two wins and three defeats, Scotland will embark on a summer tour of the Americas to face Canada, the USA and Chile in July.

Scotland’s Six Nations 2024 results

Saturday, February 3 Wales 26-27 Scotland 4.45pm
Saturday, February 10 Scotland 16-20 France 2.15pm
Saturday, February 24 Scotland 30-21 England 4.45pm
Saturday, March 9 Italy 31-29 Scotland 2.15pm
Saturday, March 16 Ireland 17-13 Scotland 4.45pm

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