Six Nations

Ireland pile agony on Scots

2012-03-10 21:15
Jonathan Sexton (File)

Dublin - Ireland extended Scotland's winless streak with a 32-14 Six Nations victory at Lansdowne Road on Saturday.

Defeat for Scotland was their sixth in a row and left them facing yet another 'wooden spoon' decider away to fellow strugglers Italy in Rome next weekend.

The injury-hit Irish put the disappointment of squandering an 11-point half-time lead in last week's 17-17 draw away to France behind them as they outscored Scotland four tries to one.

This defeat, which meant Scotland had won just two out of 14 Six Nations matches under coach Andy Robinson, was compounded when Lee Jones was carried off on a stretcher in the 62nd minute after being seemingly knocked out cold by charging opposing wing Andrew Trimble.

Scotland took an early 6-0 lead courtesy of two Greig Laidlaw penalties against an Ireland team missing both Brian O'Driscoll and Paul O'Connell in a Championship match for the first time since 2001.

But Ireland hit back through stand-in captain Rory Best's 14th minute try.

Flyhalf Jonathan Sexton booted a kickable penalty into touch for a close range lineout.

Best, who'd already seen one lineout throw go astray, found man-of-the-match Donnacha Ryan - in for injured captain O'Connell - and the second row fed Peter O'Mahony.

The flank, a late call-up after Sean O'Brien was ruled out, passed back on the blindside and Best, equalling Keith Wood's record of 58 caps as an Ireland hooker, brushed aside Scotland scrum-half Mike Blair's tackle for a try in the left corner.

Scotland wing Sean Lamont tried to disrupt the conversion by charging off his line and kicking the ball before Sexton had started his run-up.

Sexton, though landed the difficult kick at the second attempt to give Ireland a one-point lead before his penalty made it 10-6.

Scotland then saw John Barclay force a turnover before fellow flanker Ross Rennie hacked downfield.

The Scots tried to create a try by opting to kick a couple of penalties for five metre lineouts rather than go for goal.

Ireland escaped a yellow card from New Zealand referee Craig Pollock and when Laidlaw did go for the posts his third penalty cut the hosts' lead to 10-9 on the half hour mark.

But an increasingly open game then yielded three tries in the final six minutes of the first half as Ireland turned round 22-14 in front.

Ireland won a penalty from the restart and took a quick tap and go.

Recalled scrum-half Eoin Reddan, in for the injured Conor Murray, cleaned up untidy ball and, sliding under one attempted tackle and scrambling on the turf, somehow forced his way over for an unlikely try.

Sexton added the conversion and Ireland were 17-9 ahead.

Scotland, however, hit back when lock Richie Gray scored his first Test try with a fine solo effort, standing up Best and Reddan before beating fullback Rob Kearney with a huge dummy.

Laidlaw's conversion hit the post but, at 14-17, Scotland were back in the match.

However defensive errors have cost Scotland dear all tournament and Ireland regained the lead as the clock ticked past 40 minutes.

Flank Stephen Ferris grabbed lineout ball and Best carried on the movement.

Kearney squandered an overlap but, after the ball went to the blindside, Trimble, who'd come across to the right wing, stepped inside Jones's challenge.

Sexton missed the conversion but Ireland still had a two-score lead.

Ireland nearly extended their advantage in dramatic fashion when Sexton cross-kicked a penalty regathered by wing Tommy Bowe.

But Bowe was held up by centre Graeme Morrison before touching down and Italian replay official Giulio de Santis ruled him guilty of a double movement.

No points had been added in the second half until, with eight minutes left, Sexton kicked a penalty to put the result beyond doubt.

Scotland were then reduced to 14 men when Max Evans was yellow-carded for tackling opposing centre Keith Earls off the ball before Irish replacement back Fergus McFadden's try four minutes from time wrapped up victory.

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