Player ratings: Pace and brutality
OPINION: The pace and brutality of the game were right up there in what was a bitterly close contest between two sides desperate to bag the win in Murrayfield.
Scotland will be disappointed they couldn’t edge this one, but Ireland was in the driving seat for the guts of this encounter and deserved to nick this one.
15. HUGO KEENAN – 6.5
Imperious under the ball in a solo capacity but was part of a number of communication failures in both attack and defence in the first half. Edge defence is proving a problem for Andy Farrell’s Ireland, a facet the Scots exposed.
14. KEITH EARLS – 6
Did well to disrupt Stuart Hogg and co in the lead-up to Ireland’s opening try. Made himself useful, his 77th-minute catch possibly clinching the result. He did fall off a few tackles but he was marking Duhan Van Der Merwe.
13. GARRY RINGROSE – 6
Akin to using an expensive sports car to ramraid a convenience store, Ringrose is often left to eke out marginal gains as opposed to cutting loose, and so it was today. A poor choice to chip Stuart Hogg backfired terribly but he contributed gamely elsewhere.
12. ROBBIE HENSHAW – 8
Scored maybe his easiest career try ever to open Ireland’s account off aerial pressure. Ireland’s form back was a rock in the midfield; a dominate hit on the Duhan Van Der Merwe was a highlight even if the big winger got his own back by breezing past him 60 seconds later.
11. JAMES LOWE – 5.5
Marked out of the game in the opening exchanges by Scotland. Bafflingly, the left-wing was again found dawdling back for Finn Russell’s kick ahead try, which he could and should have covered; and was found wanting again in the second half for Huw Jones try. On the flip side, the brutal physicality of the game suited Lowe and his bulldozing proved increasingly useful as the game wore on, making more metres than any other back.
10. JONATHAN SEXTON – 8
In typically angry and shouty form, Sexton pulled the strings in a lively start for Ireland. Drove Ireland around the pitch thereafter and slotted an awkward matchwinning penalty from the sideline. Vintage Sexton.
9. JAMISON GIBSON-PARK – 7
Came out of the blocks flying. How telling was it that Conor Murray didn’t come on to finish the game out? The Irish scrumhalf baton may now have been passed.
1. CIAN HEALY – 6
WP Nel just about shaded their individual battle. A relatively quiet inning around the pitch.
2. ROB HERRING – 6
Another solid if low-profile display from the Ulsterman.
3. TADHG FURLONG – 8
Gifted Scotland their first points after going off his feet in the 11th minute but what a joy to see the Wexford tighthead jinking, weaving and sidestepping around defenders. Struggling with the pace of the game but this was a return to Lions form, no doubt.
4. IAIN HENDERSON – 8
Mercilessly destroyed Scotland’s lineout alongside James Ryan. Ireland’s turnover king today, with three steals to his name.
5. JAMES RYAN – 7
A couple of uncharacteristic handling errors from the towering Leinsterman. More than made up for them with his rousting of Scotland’s lineout.
6. TADHG BEIRNE – 8
Big, big game from the Munsterman. Limpet like over the ball and scorer of Ireland’s game-changing try. BBC’s MOTM.
7. WILL CONNORS – 7.5
Tackled his face off, with a resounding hit on Hamish Watson and a try-saving effort on Van Der Merwe reverberating around Murrayfield. With Ireland relying so heavily on Stander for go forward, it would be nice to see Messrs Connors and Beirne taking some of the pressure off their No.8.
8. CJ STANDER – 7.5
Mr Dependale was Ireland’s leading forward carrier once again, with 80 plus metres to his name.