Dominant Ireland put Scotland to the sword and fire Rugby World Cup warning shot to the All Blacks

Dominant Ireland put Scotland to the sword and fire Rugby World Cup warning shot to the All Blacks

Ireland's Hugo Keenan, center, celebrates with teammates after scoring a try during the Rugby World Cup Pool B match between Ireland and Scotland at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis outside of Paris, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2src23.

Scotland were unable to match the relentless dynamism and intelligence of Ireland

Credit: AP Photo/Aurelien Morissard

It had been billed as the most important game in Scotland’s history, a do-or-die moment for their golden generation. But instead it was Ireland who delivered an utterly ruthless performance to suggest that their long wait to go beyond the World Cup quarter-finals may finally be coming to end.

A six-try victory not only ensured Andy Farrell’s side finished top of the ‘pool of death’, knocking Scotland out of the World Cup at the pool stages for the second successive tournament. But the manner of the performance also fired a warning shot to their last-eight opponents New Zealand.

Ian Foster, the All Blacks head coach, had last week questioned the quality of Ireland’s victory over South Africa following their rout against Italy. It seems that Farrell’s men were only too happy to pick up the gauntlet, baring their teeth to show they are also capable of cutting sides open with their attacking prowess in stunning fashion.

“Well it’s what dreams are made of,” said Farrell, when asked about the prospect of facing New Zealand at the Stade de France next Saturday night.

“As far as a quarter-final is concerned it doesn’t get any tougher, the respect we have got for New Zealand is through the roof and hopefully they have got a bit of respect for us.

“We will dust ourselves off first of all and recover properly from this one. But I would say that a couple of weeks ago we got some stick from walking around and thanking our fans, when they turn out in their thousands like this it is the least we can do.”

James Lowe gave Ireland the perfect start

Credit: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

It was a tough, tough night for Gregor Townsend’s side, who had talked up their chances all week only to once again fail to deliver against their Six Nations nemesis. A ninth defeat to Ireland, whose winning run has now reached 17 Tests.

Scotland could simply not live with Ireland’s aggressive defending and power at the breakdown. The biggest game of the weekend ended up a procession for the men in green.

“I think it was a special performance because Scotland really came off the blocks,” Farrell added. “We were calm enough and clinical enough when we got back down the other end of the field to put some points on the board.”

It was a humble assessment by Farrell, whose side were imperious and overwhelmed Scotland with a first-half display that blew away any hopes of creating an upset.

It took Ireland fewer than two minutes to stamp their authority on the contest, with James Lowe touching down after a brilliant incision by Garry Ringrose.

Yet Scotland, impressively were not daunted, at least initially. They attacked with vim and vigour, putting the Ireland defensive line under intense pressure.

But critically Scotland turned down the option to kick several penalties at goal, chasing the try, and when the Ireland defence held firm, and Scotland’s line-out began to creak under pressure of Peter O’Mahony and Iain Henderson, it was Farrell’s side who drew further confidence from weathering the storm.

What followed next left the rugby world in no doubt that Ireland are backing up their status as the no 1 side. With Lowe and Jamison Gibson-Park able to lift the pressure with some siege-busting kicking, Ireland began to secure the attacking platform to squeeze Scotland first with another first-phase strike before their forwards took complete control.

Sexton took the ball to the line before another out-the-back pass enabled Aki to break through the Scotland defensive line and his brilliant offload to Ringrose enabled Keenan to race over for Ireland’s second try.

Scotland were in disarray, with Ireland’s speed of ball enabling them to send decoy runners to plant seeds of doubt across the Scotland defensive line. Stuart McCloskey, on for Hansen, sliced through and after a snipe by Gibson-Park, Henderson burrowed over for Ireland’s third try.

The atmosphere in Paris was akin to a home game for Ireland


With the result already beyond Scotland, Ireland turned to their forwards, with their maul taking control, and after twice tapping five-metre penalties, the pressure told when Keenan went over for his second after taking a high pass by Sexton to secure the four-try bonus point before half-time.

It would only get worse for Scotland. A flash of indiscipline by Smith, when he tripped Sexton, sparking a brawl between both sides. Smith was eventually shown a yellow card, to give Ireland a fresh advantage, and from the penalty, Ireland struck again, with Aki again piercing the midfield and Dan Sheehan finishing in the corner.

With the lead of 31 points, Farrell had the luxury of withdrawing Sexton as early as the 44th minute and soon after replaced five forwards.

The changes initially made little impact, with Ringrose, who had switched to the wing in place of Hansen, gathering a brilliant cross-kick by Jack Crowley to compound Scotland’s misery to cross for Ireland’s fifth try.

But Scotland at least were able to save a modicum of pride, by seizing back the initiative, scoring two tries in as many minutes by Ewan Ashman and Ali Price. It was a cold consolation.

Match details

Scores: 5-0 Lowe try; 10-0 Keenan try; 12-0 Sexton con; 17-0 Henderson try; 19-0 Sexton con; 24-0 Keenan try; 26-0 Sexton con; 31-0 Sheehan try; 36-0 Ringrose try; 36-5 Ashman try; 36-7 Russell con; 36-12 Price try; 36-14 Russell con.

Ireland: H Keenan; M Hansen (S McCloskey 35), G Ringrose, B Aki, J Lowe  (C Murray 41); J Sexton (J Crowley 45), J Gibson-Park; A Porter (D Kilcoyne 48), D Sheehan (R Kelleher 48), T Furlong (F Bealham 49), T Beirne (J Ryan 48), I Henderson, P O’Mahony (J Conan 49), J van der Flier, C Doris.

Scotland: B Kinghorn (O Smith 8); D Graham (G Horne 50), H Jones, S Tuipulotu, D van der Merwe; F Russell, A Price; P Schoeman (R Sutherland 53), G Turner (E Ashman 59), Z Fagerson (WP Nel 60), R Gray, G Gilchrist (S Cummings 45), J Ritchie (M Fagerson 20), R Darge (L Crosbie 65), J Dempsey.

Ireland v Scotland: as it happened

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Jubilation for Ireland

Irish fans celebrate back-to-back wins in Paris to qualify for the quarter-finals

Credit: Getty Images/Ramsey Cardy

Ireland centre Bundee Aki celebrates with a child on his shoulders

Credit: AFP/Franck FIfe

Peter O’Mahony celebrates on the occasion of his 100th cap

Credit: Getty Images/Harry Murphy

Commiserations for Scotland

A dejected Jamie Ritchie looks on with his arm in a sling

Credit: PA/Adam Davy

Scotland’s Wp Nel (L) is consoled by fellow prop Zander Fagerson

Credit: AFP/Anne-Christine Pouloulat

Scotland’s George Turner sheds a tear after the final whistle is blown

Credit: AP/Christophe Ena

Peter O’Mahony on Ireland’s win and earning his 100th cap

It’s a very special night for me and my family. It was the way the boys showed up for me. It was a big occasion for lots of reasons. We spoke about it being about the performance. 

Some special words were said in the dressing room beforehand by people I look up to a lot, and we all responded really well.

We certainly put that first half together nicely. I though some of our defence was very very strong. As an attacking side they are one of the best in the world. We were clinical in that first half.

The boys rocked out in that second half and dragged it home.

We’ll have bigger challenges next week. I think we’ll enjoy the next 60 or 70 minutes anyway.

Scotland Captain Jamie Ritchie: ‘We need to look within ourselves’

I’ve got to credit Ireland – they were the better team on the night. We thought we had enough, but we didn’t put it out there tonight. I’m proud we stayed in the fight.

Credit to Ireland, I think it’s probably the best they’ve played. There’ll be stuff in there we need to do better as well.

[It feels] pretty raw just now. In terms of looking at it, we knew we had two big games and we had to get at least one of them right – we didn’t get either of them right. We need to look within ourselves and see if we can get better.

It’s a hard thing to do to stay away from your family for such a long time with a group of blokes, but I’m really proud of [my team]. 

South Africa through to quarter-finals

With Ireland’s win, South Africa also secure their second-place finish in the Pool to reach the knockout stages.

Former Scotland flanker John Barclay:

Johnny Sexton: World Cup draw ‘unfair’

The way the draw was done a few years ago it turned about to be a bit unfair, but that’s the hand that we were dealt.

Johnny Sexton: ‘It’s important we keep turning up for the crowd’

I thought it would get any better after South Africa a couple of weeks ago but [the crowd] turned up again. It’s important that we keep turning up for them. They give us the best days of our lives and it’s important that we give them something similar.

80 min IRE 36 SCO 14

It looks for a moment like Scotland may have something. Duhan van der Merwe gets the ball on the left flank and has the running of his opposite man.

The big winger streaks up the touchline, but Ireland have numbers back. As he looks to offload, Ireland gather before simply dribbling it into touch. 

It’s all over in Paris. Ireland top Pool B, earning themselves a spot in the quarter-finals. For Scotland, it’s the end of the road at this World Cup.

The final score at the Stade de France: Ireland 36 – 14 Scotland. 

79 min IRE 36 SCO 14

With a minute to go, Scotland concede another penalty and Ireland opt for a quick tap.

They crash in with a couple of big forward carries before going over for what looks like a score. But the ball is called back by the TMO for a knock-on.

There is exactly one second on the clock. Scotland will have to play from their own line. 

78 min IRE 36 SCO 14

IReland set a drive from the lineout which splinters. They hold onto it well though and hit narrow through Doris. Veteran scrum-half Murray is dictating the pace of play. 

77 min IRE 36 SCO 14

But it could yet be Ireland who have one final flourish. Scotland are penalised at the scrum for hinging and Jack Crowley pings it into the corner for a line-out.

76 min IRE 36 SCO 14

The scrum goes down, winding the clock down further. Scotland probably have one more chance to chip away at Scotland’s lead. Their hopes of doing anything more than that have long since vanished.

76 min IRE 36 SCO 14

A good choke tackle by Scotland becomes a maul, giving them a scrum as the ball is held up. But that will only wind the clock down further in these dying moments.

75 min IRE 36 SCO 14

Ireland crash it up from the line-out for a couple phases before moving it back left.

They will be happy to play the phases now and let the clock wind down.

73 min IRE 36 SCO 14

With all the kick-tennis going on, the ball has been in-play for what feels like an age, and some poor forwards are left just running shuttles between the two 10-metre lines.

Eventually Ireland force another breakdown turnover and nudge it up the right touchline for a lineout.

71 min IRE 36 SCO 14

Ireland win another turnover in midfield and play the phases around half-way. 

They look to chip cross-field but it is well read by Russell who, under pressure, also manages to squeeze an off-load away.

Scotland are showing good energy levels at this late stage, but it is all in the wrong areas of the field. Ireland will be happy to let Scotland play from that far out.

70 min IRE 36 SCO 14

Tuipulotu finds a weak shoulder and moves up to his own 10.

Russell then slots into the pocket, noticing a hole in behind and a chance at a 50-22. It is well read though by Hugo Keenan who back-pedals to catch and call the mark. Cool-headed play from the full-back.

69 min IRE 36 SCO 14

The game is starting to break up a little bit.

Scotland move forward with purpose, but the ball is knocked on, and then Ireland have a go.

After Ireland hang up a high bomb, Scotland gather on their own 22 and Russell wills them to play from inside their own half.

66 min IRE 36 SCO 14

Off the re-start, Scotland win a penalty and Russell thumps it up-field for a line-out – he is keen for more.

A player is down though and play is called to a halt.

Off the line-out, Scotland lose it after a big hit in midfield, and Ireland clear.

Scotland will have to play again from their own half.

TRY SCOTLAND! 66 min IRE 36 SCO 14

Unbelievably, Scotland have two in two minutes!

Huw Jones gets the ball in hand – a rarity this game – and gets around the edge of the Ireland defence. He races up the left wing and passes inside to Ollie Smith who off-loads to Ali Price. The veteran scrum-half then has a run-in under the sticks.

It’s not the miracle of Saint Denis quite yet, but Scotland have something to show for their efforts.

Russell converts.

Ali Price dives for the line to get a try back for Scotland

Credit: AP/Christophe Ena


After receiving a return kick, Scotland run it back and Russell shows off his full bag of tricks, sending the defence the wrong way with a side-step before hoisting up a late offload (he gets a little lucky with the bounce).

Scotland then move the ball to the right and Tuipulotu gets on the outside of a rushing Iain Henderson. 

The Scotland centre then plays a two-on-one to Ewan Ashman who goes over to score what can only be deemed a consolation try for his side.

Russell converts the extras.

Hooker Ewan Ashman scores a consolation try for Scotland

Credit: AFP/Anne-Christine Pouloulat

62 min IRE 36 SCO 0

Scotland steal back a scrum penalty – this one for Kilcoyne going to floor. But Scotland don’t kick the ball out.

59 min IRE 36 SCO 0

Ireland are back up and running again now. First they move it left to Gibson-Park who has green grass ahead of him.

Crowley then puts in a slightly scuffed chip, and Scotland end up with it.

Finn Russell looks to chip and chase from deep but runs straight into Murray.

When Ireland grubber back Scotland knock-on. Ireland have a scrum to the left inside the Scotland 22. 

TRY IRELAND! 57 min IRE 36 SCO 0

Brilliant vision from Irish deputy fly-half Jack Crowley.

With Scotland defenders flying up, Crowley gets the call from Ringrose, who is in acres of space on the left flank.

The ten drops it on his boot and punches a perfect cross-field kick to Ringrose, who barely has to break stride to catch and dive over the line.

Crowley misses the conversion though. 

Garry Ringrose (R) celebrates with centre Bundee Aki

Credit: AFP/Franck Fife

57 min IRE 31 SCO 0

Scotland disrupt on the jump, but Ireland just keep hold of it and carry into the guts of the opposition.

Bundewe Aki is putting in another stellar performance, barelling into defenders to give his side front-foot bal.

Ireland are playing under advantage as they continue to hit up.

54 min IRE 31 SCO 0

The ball stays in-field though, and as Scotland run it back, Ireland force a turnover – they are up to seven now.

The TMO spots a challenge off the ball by Richie Gray giving Ireland a penalty on their own 10.

Ireland kick up the left touchline for a line-out around the Scotland 22.

53 min IRE 31 SCO 0

With repeated re-sets delaying the re-start of play, Nic Berry has a word with both sets of props to ‘bring the height up’.

Front row savants can take from that what they will.

It proves wise advice though, and the ball comes out for Ireland to clear.

51 min IRE 31 SCO 0

Russell is pulling the strings well , exploiting small gaps to give his side front-foot ball.

He looks to break himself for perhaps the first time and carries right up to the opposition five. If Tuipulotu had come on the switch as Russell’s run invited, there was as a gaping hole for him to go through.

Instead, Ireland force the mistake a few phases later and win a scrum on their own five-metre line.

50 min IRE 31 SCO 0

Scotland retain their line-out ball and flash it across the field to van der Merwe to carry.

They make a little progress and move up inside the Ireland 22.

48 min IRE 31 SCO 0

Ireland steal it off the back of the line-out through a good read from van der Flier. 

When Ireland kick through, Scotland field well though and bring the ball back up to their own 10.

With Scotland going nowhere quickly, Russell produces a moment of brilliance to land a 50-22, somewhat atoning from his earlier poor kick.

Darcy Graham now limps off injured to be replaced by George Horne.

47 min IRE 31 SCO 0

The ball doesn’t go out, and Darcy Graham runs it back.

Ireland are penalised on half way and Finn Russell looks to land a kick on the Irish five-metre line. The ball lands just short though and Ireland gather before clearing back up-field.

Ireland then unload their bench, ‘bomb squad-style’ ahead of the next line-out.

46 min IRE 31 SCO 0

Scotland have the ball in hand following the re-start and work it up to the opposition 22.

They are not playing bad rugby, but this Irish defence has just been so organised.

Jones creates a half-break, showing his speed to get on the outside shoulder on the left flank and lifts up an off-load. But it’s too wide for van der Merwe to gather and Ireland win it back to clear.

TRY IRELAND! 43 min IRE 31 SCO 0

Ireland bust through the middle and are moving forward at pace once again. 

They move it right and throw it wide to carry up inside the Scotland 22.

With Scotland corner-flagging, Ireland have numbers and put the ball simply through the hands before it ends up with Sheehan on the left wing.

The powerful hooker has plenty of time and dives into the corner.

Sexton misses the conversion, in what proves to be his final act of the game.

Ireland are on the front-foot here and are going for the jugular.

McCloskey yellow-carded

For a moment of petulance, Scotland are punished. Gregor Townsend will be furious for his side’s ill-discipline just as they were looking to turn the game around.

…. to be continued
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