Ireland secure the Six Nations title with a bonus point 28-8 victory over Scotland at the Aviva Stadium earlier today.

Once again Jacob Stockdale stole the show with a brace of tries and shows why he is the inform winger in Ireland. Conor Murray and Sean Cronin rounded off the score.

Ireland started positively and Stockdale scored his first try after a Greig Laidlaw penalty. Stockdale intercepted a loopy pass from Peter Horne. In the first fifteen minutes, Ireland controlled the game with ease but came out of that period without a score. As Scotland grew into the game, Ireland clinically capitalized on their mistakes.

I touched on the Laidlaw/Russell partnership in the preview on how it would be crucial to defeating Ireland at home for the first time in eight years. Ireland dominated possession with 63%, forcing the Scots to play on the back foot for most of the game. On the other hand, as expected Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray were at the forefront of the Irish victory.

With a confident start from Ireland, it was apparent that they had learned their lessons from the defeat in Murrayfield last year and the match never looked like one they would lose. Scotland were disappointing and their discipline was a worry with ten penalties conceded in crucial parts of the pitch. Just before the half hour mark, Scotland butchered a two-on-one opportunity. Huw Jones made the break but failed to find Stuart Hogg in what should have been an easy seven-pointer.

Stockdale’s second score came on the stroke of half time. Ireland worked their way into the Scottish 22m and after excellent ball retention, the pressure broke the Scottish defence with the former Wallace High School pupil sidestepping the rushing defender. Both Rob Kearney and Garry Ringrose played a part in manufacturing a super scoring position, to which they converted. A 14-3 lead at half time probably didn’t tell the full story but it left Scotland with a lot of work to do after the interval.

Murray grabbed his try five minutes after the restart. Ireland set up a solid maul five metres from the Scottish line. Murray broke and, coupled with Bundee Aki, powered his way over. Despite Blair Kinghorn’s consolation try eight minutes later, Ireland never looked like losing this game. Sean Cronin scored the vital bonus point try with 12 minutes remaining. This try forced an insurmountable amount of pressure on England as they needed the bonus point victory to remain in the hunt for the title, going into the final week.

Scotland’s mistakes made it easy for Ireland with a large number of unforced errors, however Ireland were clinical when they got into the Scottish 22. Ireland’s ball retention is second to none which is what makes them so dangerous. On first glance, Ireland have nothing to worry about ahead of the trip to Twickenham next Saturday, however I am certain England would like to inflict the same pain on Ireland as they received in their Grand Slam match last year.

6.8 Awesome

Scotland made life easy for Ireland as they coughed up three excellent try scoring opportunities.

Murray and Sexton controlled the game excellently, while Stockdale was in the right place at the right time for his two tries. Rob Kearney was awarded man of the match and deservedly so, while Ringrose didn't show signs of playing his first test match this season.

Dan Leavy and James Ryan were the stand out players in the pack and Ryan in particular leaves Joe Schmidt a decision to make as to who should start in the second row against England.

  • Cian Healy 7
  • Rory Best 7
  • Tadhg Furlong 7
  • Devin Toner 6
  • James Ryan 7
  • Peter O'Mahony 6
  • Dan Leavy 8
  • CJ Stander 7
  • Conor Murray 7
  • Johnny Sexton 7
  • Jacob Stockdale 8
  • Bundee Aki 6
  • Garry Ringrose 7
  • Keith Earls 6
  • Rob Kearney 8
  • Sean Cronin 7
  • Jack McGrath 6
  • Andrew Porter 6
  • Iain Henderson 6
  • Jordi Murphy 6
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  • Joey Carbery N/A
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