Six Nations: Ireland 32-14 Scotland

By Lyle Jackson BBC Sport

Tries from captain Rory Best, Eoin Reddan, Andrew Trimble and Fergus McFadden gave Ireland a deserved Six Nations win over Scotland in Dublin.

Scotland led 6-0 through two Greig Laidlaw penalties, but Ireland hit back quickly with the opening try by Best.

Reddan nipped over for another converted try but Richie Gray's score brought the visitors to within three.

Trimble got a try just before half-time with McFadden adding a late fourth Irish touchdown.

The result puts Ireland - who travel to Twickenham for their final match of the Championship next Saturday - on five points from their four matches, three behind leaders Wales, while Scotland are left to contemplate yet another Wooden Spoon decider with Italy, in Rome.

It was a fine performance by Declan Kidney's men who must be rueing that narrow opening home defeat by Wales.

They did not make the brightest of starts with Scotland grabbing the initiative to establish a 6-0 lead by the 10th minute.

Laidlaw kicked the points after Ireland had been penalised for illegal binding and then joining the ruck from the side.

When Ireland got a kickable penalty, home skipper Best ambitiously instructed Sexton to kick for the corner and the enterprise paid off as it led to the opening try.

Man-of-the-match Donnacha Ryan caught the line-out and slipped the ball to Peter O'Mahony, who fed Best for the home skipper to get over in the left corner.

Sexton landed a fine touchline conversion to put Ireland into the lead and, when Scotland were blown up for collapsing a scrum, the Leinster fly-half made it 10-6.

Laidlaw's third penalty cut the deficit to one again but then Ireland got their second try with another piece of adventurous play.

Jamie Heaslip took a quick tap penalty and charged forward. The support was there and, when the ball slipped out of the ruck, scrum-half Reddan snapped it up and popped over on the left, taking advantage of Sean Lamont's reckless charge out of the defensive line.

Sexton again did the business with a replica of his first conversion to put Ireland into a 17-9 lead.

Scotland hit back quickly as huge second-row Gray got the ball from Laidlaw 25m out, charged through attempted tackles from Reddan and Tommy Bowe and then dummied past Rob Kearney to score his first Test try. Laidlaw missed the conversion.

The clock had passed the 40 minutes when winger Trimble profited from some more flimsy Scottish tackling to get over in the right corner for Ireland's third try after the hosts had recycled quickly.

Ireland thought they might have engineered another try 10 minutes after the break when Sexton kicked a penalty cross-field for Bowe on the right.

But Graeme Morrison wrestled Bowe on to his back and the television match official's verdict was that the Irish winger had grounded the ball with a second movement.

A sickening clash of heads between Trimble and Lee Jones just after the hour saw the Scotland wing stretchered off, and the lengthy break in play seemed to affect both sides in a disjointed second period.

Sexton's second penalty with eight minutes left made it 25-14 before Scotland's hopes of a late rally were further hampered when Max Evans was sin-binned for tugging the arm of Keith Earls as the Irish centre appeared poised to touch down his own kick ahead.

That impression was confirmed three minutes from time when replacement back McFadden squeezed over under the posts, Sexton adding the extras.


Ireland: Kearney, Bowe, Earls, D'Arcy, Trimble, Sexton, Reddan, Healy, Best, Ross, O'Callaghan, Ryan, Ferris, O'Mahony, Heaslip.

Replacements: Cronin (Best, 54), Court (for Healy, blood, 51-58, for Ross, 78), McCarthy (for O'Callaghan, 78), Jennings (for O'Mahony, 62), O'Leary (for Reddan, 54), O'Gara (for D'Arcy, 54), McFadden (for Kearney, 74).

Scotland: Hogg, Jones, Evans, Morrison, Lamont, Laidlaw, Blair, Jacobsen, Ford, Cross, Gray, Hamilton, Barclay, Rennie, Denton.

Replacements: Lawson, Murray (for Cross, 46), Kellock (for Hamilton, 59), Vernon (for Rennie, 58), Cusiter (for Blair, 50), Jackson (for Laidlaw, 56), Scott (for Jones, 62).

Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)

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