Ireland 36-14 Scotland: Rampant Irish score six tries to top their Pool after scintillating display as the Scots crash out of the World Cup despite showing late spirit
- Ireland thrashed Scotland 36-14 to ensure they qualified for the quarter-finals
- It was a statement display from Andy Farrell’s side as they tore apart the Scots
- Scotland scored two consolation tries but crashed out of the tournament
- Latest Rugby World Cup 2023 news, including fixtures, live scores and results
There was no Celtic collision in Paris on Saturday night, but rather a brilliant, brutal reminder from Ireland of rugby’s prevailing order.
They obliterated Scotland, turning what was predicted to be a tight encounter into a rout.
They scored six tries, four in the first half, and reduced the ambitions of Gregor Townsend and his players to ash.
Coming a fortnight after they defeated the world champions South Africa here in the Stade de France, it is the second bellowing statement of intent from Ireland at this World Cup.
They are in France to win this competition outright, and it falls to the mighty New Zealand to face them down in the quarter-finals next Saturday night.
Ireland beat Scotland 36-14 to finish top of their Pool and reach the World Cup quarter-finals
It was a simply superb performance from Andy Farrell’s side as they tore apart the Scots
They got off to the perfect start as James Lowe scored within a minute after a fine move
Now that is a contest that should live up to its billing as a heavyweight clash.
This, though, was a hopeless mismatch, with Ireland scoring their first try inside a minute and then withstanding everything Finn Russell and his team-mates could throw at them for the next ten minutes, before pilfering tries with accuracy and ruthless economy at the other end.
Injuries were Ireland’s most troubling opponents over the 80 minutes, with their two first-choice wingers, Mack Hansen and James Lowe, taken off by the interval.
Their health will be causes for concern in the coming days, but every other aspect of the occasion will have filled Andy Farrell with satisfaction.
The Fields of Athenry was getting an early airing when Garry Ringrose confounded Grant Gilchrist with a dummy and broke free, the ball moving from him to Hansen for Lowe to go over.
It was precisely the start the Scots didn’t want, but they responded with a long spell of dominance, giving their outnumbered fans reason to keep believing.
The pressure was incessant but it wasn’t extreme. They weren’t threatening the Irish line and after ten minutes owning the ball and hogging territory, they were no closer to scoring.
This was one of their deepest fears made flesh: yet again against Ireland, they were on top everywhere but the scoreboard.
Scotland responded well and raised hopes of a comeback, but Ireland defended superbly
It was a tough night for the Scots as they crashed out of the tournament after the heavy loss
Hugo Keenan added two first half tries as Ireland were rampant and hammered the Scots
Ireland: H Keenan; M Hansen (S McCloskey 23-34, 36), G Ringrose, B Aki, J Lowe (C Murray HT); J Sexton (J Crowley 45), J Gibson-Park; A Porter (D Kilcoyne 49), D Sheehan (R Kelleher 49), T Furlong (F Bealham 49); T Beirne (J Ryan 49), I Henderson; P O’Mahony (J Conan 49), J van der Flier, C Doris.
Scorers: Tries – Keenan (2), Lowe, Henderson, Sheehan, Ringrose; Cons – Sexton (3)
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 60), Z Fagerson (WP Nel 60); R Gray, G Gilchrist (S Cummings 45); J Ritchie (capt, M Fagerson 19), R Darge (L Crosbie 65), J Dempsey.
Scorers: Tries – Ashman, Price; Cons: Russell (2)
Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)
The cost to their morale of failing to register a point despite playing the game in the Irish 22 was ruinous, with Russell’s decisions to forego kicks at goal from three penalties, in favour of going to the corner every time, looking more ill-advised with each fresh call.
Losing Blair Kinghorn and Jamie Ritchie, their captain, inside 20 minutes to injuries didn’t help, but there was no complement of their players that could have lived with Ireland in this form.
The Scots thought they were competing as equals but in reality, they were chasing scores that Ireland just wouldn’t countenance conceding.
And when the Irish attack ripped them asunder again with a move of devastating speed in the 26th minute, the game was already gone from them.
Aki managed a delightful offload to put the brilliant Ringrose through a gap, and he put Keenan over, with Sexton landing the conversion from the sideline.
Scotland came again, gamely trying to attack the Irish line off the restart, but when they were penalised, they looked devastated.
They were done.
Five minutes further on, Ireland were over for their third, as Iain Henderson bludgeoned through the scattered Scottish defenders after Ireland battered the line.
From their first four meaningful incursions into the Scottish half, they had grabbed three tries.
It’s the sort of efficiency expected of would-be world champions, and it was on a level way beyond anything Scotland could manage.
Ireland centre Garry Ringrose was fantastic on the night and repeatedly broke open Scotland
Iain Henderson also added a first half try after a relentless spell of Irish pressure in attack
Jonny Sexton ran the show for the Irish as usual before he was withdrawn to a standing ovation
The stiffest resistance to Ireland’s search for a fourth came from referee Nic Berry, who got in the way of an Andrew Porter pass as Ireland tried to work a move off a tapped penalty five metres out.
His sheepish apologies were brushed off on the pitch, but in the coaches’ box Andy Farrell was indignant.
He was soothed a minute later when, off the same platform, Ireland charged again, with the ball moved right and Keenan going over for his second.
They had their try bonus point with a minute to spare in the opening period, but they sped off the pitch at the half-time whistle like men who were far from sated.
In contrast, the Scots looked spent. They came vowing to end Ireland’s eight-match winning streak against them, and here they were trooping in 26-0 down.
The most difficulty the Scottish players caused the winners was in a row a minute after half time, started by Ollie Smith tripping Johnny Sexton in an act of measly petulance.
It pulled in players from both teams and much pushing and shoving ensued, with Smith eventually sent to the sin-bin and Scotland obliged to chase respectability with 14 players.
It didn’t work: Dan Sheehan, who had fallen over an advertising hoarding while wrestling with Pierre Schoeman, dived over for Ireland’s fifth try shortly after Smith was shown yellow.
Dan Sheehan added a fifth try in the second half as Ireland asserted their dominance and class
Ringrose completed the demolition after collecting a fine crossfield kick from Jack Crowley
The luxury of a 31-0 lead allowed Farrell to get his star men off, with Sexton gone after Sheehan’s try, and all five forward replacements coming on in one swoop in the 49th minute.
This wasn’t macho flexing with a Bomb Squad statement, but rather a pragmatic case of protecting key players with the spectre of New Zealand now filling Irish horizons.
Jack Crowley’s lasered cross-kick was gathered by Ringrose for try number six, as fans busied themselves with Mexican waves.
This had long passed the point of humiliation for the Scots, unrelieved by late tries for Ewan Ashman and Ali Price, but they had vanished from Irish thoughts with the final whistle.
A resurgent New Zealand now await, with Joe Schmidt, Ireland’s one-time maestro, at the centre of the All Blacks’ operation.
There is also the matter of revenge for the embarrassing beating Ireland suffered at the hands of New Zealand at the quarter-final stage four years ago.
Scotland showed fight though and Ewan Ashman (pictured) and Ali Price both scored late on
Despite the one-sided match, there was a brilliant atmosphere inside the Stade de France
Then, the All Blacks were still dominant figures in the Irish rugby psyche.
The teams will meet as equals in the Stade de France, both with viable designs on winning this tournament.
Ireland might never have a chance this good – and no matter what they say publicly, Farrell and his players know that, too.
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