Match Report: Ireland 36-14 Scotland
Scotland departed the Rugby World Cup before the knockout stages for the second successive tournament as Ireland were once again our nemesis with a six-tries to two victory, at the Stade de France tonight.
Ireland extended their unbeaten run in all Test matches to 17 and demonstrated every ounce of their world number one ranking. Scotland sadly were a long distant second best and defeats against the world’s top two confirmed our exit from Pool B. Ireland now look forward to facing New Zealand in next week’s quarter-finals.
Ireland, having won 12 of the last 13 matches between the countries, dominated from the early exchanges and Scotland’s tries from Ewan Ashman and Ali Price came too late to have any influence on the outcome.
Peter O’Mahony led Ireland on to the field on the occasion of his 100th cap, with Blair Kinghorn, becoming the 52nd Scotsman to win 50 or more caps, doing the honours for Scotland.
Conditions in Paris were muggy with precious little wind as Hamish Weir, eldest son of the late Scotland and Lions lock Doddie Weir, delivered the match ball alongside former Scotland winger Kenny Logan as part of a fund-raising long-distance cycle and walk from Edinburgh to Paris for the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.
Ireland kicked off through Jonny Sexton and Jamie Ritchie had the first catch. Just Inside the second minute, Garry Ringrose on the break eluded Grant Gilchrist and with Mack Hansen popping up on the left, James Lowe stormed in for the opening try. Sexton missed the conversion (0-5, 2 mins).
In Scotland’s response, Kinghorn rose high, and Pierre Schoeman twice carried purposefully, before the referee brought play back for a penalty to Scotland, awarded against Caelan Doris for a high tackle on the Scotland loosehead.
Scotland opted for the touchline rather than the posts and though Sione Tuipulotu made inroads from the lineout, Duhan van der Merwe was pinged for holding on.
Kinghorn departed for an HIA as Ireland were penalised at the game’s first scrum, with Finn Russell, from the 10-metre line, opting again for the touchline, rather than a kick at goal.
Lowe, off his feet after a tackle on Darcy Graham, saw Scotland awarded another penalty and they went through 18 phases desperately trying to find an opening, without any joy. Within the 18 phases there was a high tackle by Tadhg Furlong on Russell which went unpunished.
Kinghorn’s departure was permanent as Scotland were left to wonder anew at a TMO call that went against them, with Hugo Keenan, clearly in touch, allowed to clear to Lowe, who booted the ball downfield.
Inside the first quarter, Scotland’s captain Ritchie made a saving tackle on Tadhg Beirne as the lock galloped towards the try line. It was Ritchie’s last contribution sadly as he departed with a shoulder injury, with Russell taking on the captaincy.
Scotland had pressed but had nothing thus far to show for it on the scoreboard, as Ireland showed their ruthlessness. Sexton did the wrap around on substitute Stuart McCloskey, Bundee Aki and Garry Ringrose linked for Keenan to blaze away for Ireland’s second try. Sexton converted. (0-12, 26 mins).
Ireland extended their lead minutes later, as Iain Henderson crowned a sustained close-range attack with Jamison Gibson Park pulling the strings for the Ulster lock to plunge over for their third try. Sexton converted. (0-19, 32 mins).
And before the break, matters worsened as, off another sequence of close-range forward assaults, Sexton fired the ball wide, left to right, for Keenan to gather acrobatically and dot down. Sexton converted (0-26, 40mins).
Half-time: Ireland 26-0 Scotland
The second half could not have begun much worse for Scotland with Ollie Smith yellow-carded for a crass trip on Sexton and within 90 seconds Gibson Park released Dan Sheehan for the hooker to bullock in for try number five. Sexton missed the conversion (0-31, 44 mins).
Scotland did construct an attack in which Price was denied one metre short, but from the penalty, Scotland knocked-on and Ireland cleared.
On the hour mark, Ireland scored their sixth try, substitute Jack Crowley launching a cross-field kick for Ringrose to dot down. Crowley missed the conversion (0-36, 58 mins).
Scotland, at last, broke their duck, as Russell danced, Jack Dempsey carried and Price found Tuipulotu who released Ewan Ashman on a 2 on 1 for the hooker to score in the corner, his fourth try for Scotland. Russell converted (7-36, 63 mins).
And rather like buses, you wait long enough and a second pops us, as Huw Jones found space on the left, Smith combined and released Price for his sixth try for Scotland and second in successive matches. Russell converted. (14-36, 66 mins).
As the game drew to its conclusion, Finlay Bealham had a try ruled out for a knock-on but it mattered not a jot as Scotland’s World Cup campaign was dynamited.
Full time: Ireland 36-14 Scotland
Scotland: Blair Kinghorn; Darcy Graham (both Edinburgh Rugby), Huw Jones, Sione Tuipulotu (both Glasgow Warriors), Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh Rugby); Finn Russell (Bath Rugby), Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors); Pierre Schoeman (Edinburgh Rugby), George Turner, Zander Fagerson (both Glasgow Warriors), Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby), Richie Gray (Glasgow Warriors), Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh Rugby) CAPTAIN, Rory Darge and Jack Dempsey (both Glasgow Warriors).
Subs: Ewan Ashman (Edinburgh Rugby) for Turner (58 mins), Rory Sutherland (unattached) for Schoeman (58 mins), W P Nel (Edinburgh Rugby) for Zander Fagerson (58 mins), Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors) for Gilchrist (44 mins), Luke Crosbie (Edinburgh Rugby) for Darge (64 mins), Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) for Ritchie (18 mins), George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) for Graham (49 mins), Ollie Smith (Glasgow Warriors) for Kinghorn (8 mins).
Ireland: Hugo Keenan; Mack Hansen, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, James Lowe; Johnny Sexton CAPTAIN, Jamison Gibson-Park; Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan, Tadhg Furlong, Tadhg Beirne; Iain Henderson, Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier and Caelan Doris.
Subs: Ronan Kelleher for Sheehan (48mins), Dave Kilcoyne for Andrew Porter (48 mins), Finlay Bealham for Furlong (48 mins), James Ryan for Beirne (48 mins), Jack Conan for O’Mahony (48 mins), Conor Murray for Lowe (40 mins), Jack Crowley for Sexton (44 mins) and Stuart McCloskey for Hansen (20-32 mins then again 34 mins).
Referee: Nic Berry (Australia) Assistant referees: Wayne Barnes (England) and Jordan Way (Australia) TMO: Brett Cronan (Australia).
Yellow card: Ollie Smith (Scotland) 42 mins
Mastercard Player of the Match: Jamison Gibson Park (Ireland)