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Ireland grind down Scotland to win at Murrayfield

Ireland hit back following their defeat to England with a 22-13 victory over Scotland in a pulsating Six Nations showdown at Murrayfield on Saturday.

The defending champions were bullied by Eddie Jones’ side in Dublin last time out but responded impressively to deny Scotland a record-equalling eighth consecutive home victory in the tournament, despite losing Johnny Sexton to injury in the first half.

Conor Murray capitalised on a mix-up between Tommy Seymour and Sean Maitland to score the opening try after Greig Laidlaw put Gregor Townsend’s side in front, while Jacob Stockdale added a second for the visitors.

Stuart Hogg went off with a shoulder injury in an open first half, yet a first international score from Sam Johnson – converted by Laidlaw – reduced the deficit to 12-10 at the break.

Joe Schmidt’s men were not to be denied a fifth win in Six Nations matches against Scotland, though, with Joey Carbery – standing in for the talismanic Sexton at fly-half – laying on a try for Keith Earls and also scoring five points with the boot.

Laidlaw added another penalty midway through the second half, but that was all Scotland were able to muster after the break as they failed to build on an opening win over Italy.

INCONSISTENCY HAUNTS SCOTLAND AGAIN

Scotland had been challenged to prove they are the real deal and they showed their quality going forward in the first half. However, they lacked momentum following the interval, too many handling errors creeping in as Ireland used their experience to put the squeeze on.

CARBERY SHOWS STRENGTH IN DEPTH

Ireland were already without a host of key men before Sexton became their latest casualty. Carbery proved to be a more than able replacement, though, showing his class to glide through before putting a try on a plate for Earls. He was also reliable with his kicking game too, making sure his side remained out of reach.

OPTA FACTS

– Ireland have now won their last three away games in the Six Nations – they last achieved the same feat in 2010-2011.
– Scotland have failed to score a second-half try in nine of their last 11 Six Nations games against Ireland, including each of their last seven Six Nations encounters at Murrayfield.
– Stockdale has eight tries in just seven Six Nations matches for Ireland – only six Irish players have more in the Championships since 2000.
– Ireland’s Rob Kearney has become the third player to reach 100 defenders beaten in the history of the Six Nations (Brian O’Driscoll 163, George North 105).

WHAT’S NEXT?

Scotland open the third round of fixtures when they face France in Paris following a week of rest for all the teams, while Ireland round out the weekend by taking on Italy in Rome.

KEO.co.za News wire is powered by opta

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