Boks to face France after Ireland produce a masterclass against Scotland
MATCH REPORT: Ireland secured top spot in Pool B and their passage to the World Cup quarterfinals after they produced a masterclass to beat Scotland 36-14 in Saint-Denis on Saturday.
Andy Farrell’s side will face the All Blacks in the last eight next Saturday in Saint-Denis, while the second-placed Boks will have a meeting with hosts France a day later.
Ireland outscored their opponents by six tries to two in the match and they were absolutely brutal in the first half where they raced to a 26-0 lead.
It was a fantastic start for the Irish with Garry Ringrose slicing through the Scottish defence before the ball went through the hands to James Lowe who sprinted to the corner for the first try of the game in the second minute.
Sexton was unable to convert the try.
Scotland had a few kickable penalties after that, but they opted for line-outs in Ireland’s 22. Townsend’s side were camped in the strike zone, but they were unable to break through an excellent Irish defensive system.
The Irish were nearly in again in the 19th minute, but Mack Hensen could not hold onto a pass near the Scottish tryline after a powerful run by Peter O’Mahony.
Scotland then suffered a blow when their captain Jamie Ritchie left the field with an injury.
A few minutes after that fullback Blair Kinghorn failed his HIA and he was permanently replaced by Ollie Smith.
Ireland then cut the Scottish defence to shreds again in the 26th minute when Hugo Keenan was put into space after great running and passing from his centres before racing away for his team’s second try. Sexton added the extras with the conversion.
The momentum was all with Ireland after that and they were in again in the 32nd minute with lock Iain Henderson smashing his way over after sustained pressure inside Scotland’s 22.
Sexton made it a 19-point lead with the conversion.
It was just relentless from Andy Farrell’s side and they ended the half with Keenan getting his second try and his team’s bonus point after some more great interplay between forwards and backs in Scotland’s 22.
Sexton’s successful conversion made it a 26-point lead at half-time.
Things went from bad to worse for Scotland in just the second minute of the second half when Smith was yellow-carded for tripping Sexton, which led to a delay for a scuffle.
Ireland made good use of their extra man and the space out wide and it was Dan Sheehan who was put into space to score his team’s fifth try of the game in the 44th minute. Sexton could not find the target with a conversion attempt.
There was just no stopping Ireland after that and Sexton’s replacement Jack Crowley showed why he is being tipped to be the next big thing at No.10. After several phases in Scotland’s 22, the young playmaker produced a neat kick pass to Ringrose, who gathered easily to score a try. However, Crowley could not convert the score.
Scotland eventually got their first points in the 64th minute with replacement hooker Ewan Ashman racing down the touchline for a five-pointer. Finn Russell added the extra two points with the conversion.
Gregor Townsend’s side were in again moments later when the ball was worked wide from their own half and after some interplay, Ali Price was in space to run in for his team’s second try. Russell made it a 22-point ball game with his conversion.
Ireland thought they had ended the game with another try, but there was a knock-on in the build-up before Finlay Bealham crashed over.
Man of the match: There were plenty of contenders from Ireland, Johnny Sexton dictated play, especially in the first half when the Irish raced to a 26-0 lead. Fullback Hugo Keenan showed off his finishing skills with two tries. Centre Bundee Aki was a key figure in the midfield again with some big carries and strong tackles. Loose forwards Caelan Doris and Josh van der Flier were unbelievable in defence and they notched up over 40 tackles between them. However, the award goes to scrumhalf Jamison Gibson-Park, who also played on the wing in the match. He was a constant threat with ball in hand and he made over 80 metres with his carries. He was also punched above his weight with some big tackles.
Tries: Lowe, Keenan 2, Henderson, Sheehan, Ringrose
Cons: Sexton 3
Tries: Ashman, Price
Cons: Russell 2
Yellow card: Ollie Smith (Scotland, 42′ – cynical play, tripping an opponent)
Ireland: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Mack Hansen, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 James Lowe, 10 Johnny Sexton (captain), 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Caelan Doris, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 Iain Henderson, 4 Tadhg Beirne, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Dan Sheehan, 1 Andrew Porter.
Replacements: 16 Ronan Kelleher, 17 David Kilcoyne, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 James Ryan, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Jack Crowley, 23 Stuart McCloskey.
Scotland: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Darcy Graham, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Sione Tuipulotu, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Rory Darge, 6 Jamie Ritchie (captain), 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 George Turner, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Ewan Ashman, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 WP Nel, 19 Scott Cummings, 20 Matt Fagerson, 21 Luke Crosbie, 22 George Horne, 23 Ollie Smith.
Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Jordan Way (Australia)
TMO: Brett Cronan (Australia)