Ireland 36-14 Scotland
Andy Farrell’s men booked their place in the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals for the fourth consecutive time following their comfortable 36-14 victory over Scotland last Saturday.
The result cemented Ireland’s flawless pool stage as they finished top of Pool B with four victories from four with South Africa clinching the remaining qualifying spot in second.
The number one ranked team in the world headed into the game against Scotland feeling rejuvenated following on from a two-week break, with the statement victory over South Africa being their last outing.
And they certainly picked up where they left off a fortnight ago, with James Lowe crossing the try-line just 64 seconds into the clash. Lowe received the ball from Hansen in the corner which left Johnny Sexton with a tricky conversion where he failed to split the posts.
The Scots enjoyed a brief spell of domination following their early setback but failed to make any of their pressure count with an incredibly resilient Irish defence answering any questions their attack poised.
The defensive momentum shifted to attack as tremendous work from Sexton and Bundee Aki, who’s been sensational all tournament for Ireland, leaving full-back Hugo Keenan with a golden opportunity as he slid for their second try on 26 minutes.
Sexton made no mistake from his second conversion, and he was lining up for his third just five minutes later as Iain Henderson added to the Irish onslaught with another try to make it 19-0.
A dismal first half for Scotland, who were winless in eight against Ireland heading into the clash, got even worse as Hugo Keenan claimed his second try of the half with Sexton converting yet again to make it 26-0 at the interval.
A rocking Stade de France greeted the players as they returned for the second forty minutes, with the Irish support already shifting their attention to a quarter-final date with New Zealand.
But the players were still focused on the task in front of them and were aided by Scottish complacency as Ollie Smith was sin-binned after a trip on Sexton which flared tempers on both sides.
However, Ireland used that energy positively with a fifth try just minutes later, this time through Dan Sheehan.
Munster’s Jack Crowley played a vital role in Ireland’s sixth and final try, with his kick-pass leaving Garry Ringrose with little to do as Ireland secured a 36th and final point.
Scotland did however put two scores on the board in quick succession through Ewan Ashman and Ali Price with Finn Russell converting both.
Their fourteen points would only prove to be a mere consolation as Ireland capped off an incredible pool stage campaign with yet another statement victory as they continue to prove their worth in this year’s competition.
A mouth-watering quarter-final clash with New Zealand this Saturday awaits as Ireland look to end their quarterfinal hoodoo and seal their first ever Rugby World Cup semi-final berth.
Ireland – Hugo Keenan, Mack Hansen, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, James Lowe, Johnny Sexton, Jamison Gibson-Park, Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan, Tadhg Furlong, Tadhg Beirne, Iain Henderson, Peter O’Mahony, Josh Van Der Flier, Caelan Doris.
Replacements – Ronan Kelleher (Sheehan 47’), Dave Kilcoyne (Porter 48’), Finlay Bealham (Furlong 48’), James Ryan (Beirne 47’), Jack Conan (O’Mahony 48’), Conor Murray (Lowe 41’), Jack Crowley (Sexton 44’), Stuart McCloskey (Hansen 21’,34)
Scotland – Blair Kinghorn, Darcy Graham, Huw Jones, Sione Tuipulotu, Duhan van der Merwe, Finn Russell, Ali Price, Pierre Schoeman, George Turner, Zander Fagerson, Grant Gilchrist, Richie Gray, Jamie Ritchie, Rory Darge, Jack Dempsey.
Replacements – Ewan Ashman (Turner 58’), Rory Sutherland (Schoeman 58’), W P Nel (Fagerson 58’), Scott Cummings (Gilchrist 44’), Luke Crosbie (Darge 64’), Matt Fagerson (Ritchie 18’), George Horne (Graham 49’), Ollie Smith (Kinghorn 8’).