Rugby Ireland past Scots and clinches Triple Crown

Six Nations Championship - Ireland vs Scotland
Rugby Union – Six Nations Championship – Ireland v Scotland – Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland – March 19, 2022 Ireland’s Hugo Keenan in action with Scotland’s Chris Harris REUTERS/Lorraine O’Sullivan

March 19, 2022

By Padric Halpin

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland clinched their first Triple Crown in four years with a 26-5 win over Scotland on Saturday that kept the Six Nations Championship alive for several hours until France ended the Grand Slam against England in Paris.

While Ireland weren’t at their best, a first clean win over their ‘home nation’ rivals in four years looked tempting after first-half attempts from Dan Sheehan and Cian Healy from the front rows and a third after an hour from Josh van der Flier hardly doubtful .

Reserve scrumhalf Conor Murray’s bonus point attempt meant France had to win in Paris to secure their first title in 12 years and left Ireland “for the first time ever” to cheer on arch-rivals England, captain Johnny Sexton said.

“I don’t think it was perfect, we did just enough but exactly what we wanted to do,” said Sexton before the side watched the game against France over dinner.

Fourth-placed Scotland, with nothing to lose, came flying out of the blocks, an early reminder of just how dangerous they can be with the ball in hand. Still, it was Ireland’s more controlled attack that struck first.

Man of the match Sheehan, who is Leinster’s top scorer this season with seven tries from eight appearances, most of them off the bench, scored two of seven for Ireland as he ended a period of stubborn Irish dominance.

Ireland relentlessly sought more pressure on the scoreboards – as they often do when they take the lead – and another wave of forward play led to a second try for the front row, this time for Healy in his 116th appearance in Ireland.

Scotland’s efforts were rewarded five minutes before the break when prop Pierre Schoeman over-revved for his first international attempt and only fourth-placed Ireland conceded all tournaments.

Blair Kinghorn, coming on for regular flyhalf Finn Russell, missed the easy switch and captain Stuart Hogg had an even better chance of closing the 14-5 deficit early in the second half when he decided to go into the corner to go instead of just passing inside were stopped by a great tackle from opponent Hugo Keenan.

Ireland had plenty of possession and little to offer until Van der Flier, one of the most consistent players on Andy Farrell’s improving squad, accelerated and built a much more comfortable 16-point lead with 20 minutes remaining.

The extra point seemed to slip away until Scotland were reduced to 14 men before the final game of the game when winger James Lowe was turned on by his teammates and Murray threw back a basketball pass to score.

Ireland celebrated as if it were the winning effort and although the title proved a step too far after last month’s defeat in Paris, the second-placed Irishman finished with more than twice as many points as any other team.

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Ken Ferris) Rugby Ireland past Scots and clinches Triple Crown


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