Stuart Hogg’s chin with the assist for Finn Russell score but it's the Irish who win 27-24
Scotland score comedy try against Ireland
It was a strange, unpredictable match that the TV pundits described as “bonkers” and “chaos”. Scotland looked the more dangerous side and outscored Ireland three tries to two, but ultimately the hosts’ penalty count and malfunctioning lineout proved costly.
Ireland had gone in front early on after neither Hogg nor Chris Harris could collect a cross-field kick from Sexton in the in-goal area. The kick was meant for Keith Earls, who also couldn’t catch the ball, but it bounced into the path of Robbie Henshaw for a simple touchdown.
Scotland took the lead in the 28th minute, though, when Finn Russell converted his own try following an unusual assist from Scotland captain Hogg.
CJ Stander won a turnover at the breakdown and Garry Ringrose went to kick downfield, but Hogg charged it down, kicked ahead twice and Russell was first to collect the ball to score.
There was a suspicion of a knock-on from Hogg’s first kick and referee Romain Poite went to the TMO to check, but replays showed that the ball had come off the full-back’s chin, not his hands, so the try stood.
The second kick infield from the outside of his boot was smart from Hogg and fell perfectly for Russell.
By half-time Ireland were back in front, two Sexton penalties making it 10-14, and they increased that lead with another ten points in the opening 15 minutes of the second period.
First came a try from Man of the Match Tadhg Beirne as ill-discipline from Scotland allowed the visitors to build pressure in the opposition 22.
Beirne burrowed over from close range and referee Poite burrowed into the pile of bodies to check that the ball had been grounded.
Scotland got themselves back into the game with a try from Huw Jones, the replacement making light work of attempted tackles from James Lowe and Hugo Keenan to get over the line.
Then it was Irish infringements that allowed Scotland to pile on the pressure close to the line. They opted to take the tap from a series of penalties and it was Hamish Watson who eventually got the ball down after showing great athleticism to spin around while being tackled by Andrew Porter.
Hogg converted to make it 24-24 with just five minutes to go.
Then came the decisive moment. From the restart, Ryan Baird charged down a clearance and then put in a big tackle on Ali Price, who was subsequently pinged for holding on. Sexton stepped up, as he has done so often before, and slotted the winning kick from a tight angle close to the touchline.
Scotland will feel it’s an opportunity missed having worked themselves back into the game, while Ireland will be disappointed with how they let a 14-point lead slip. Yet they will pleased to be heading into their final match against England on the back of a win.
To finish, we have to pay tribute to hot-stepping Ireland prop Tadhg Furlong, who provided one of the highlights of the first half.
Running the ball out of Ireland’s half, he first stepped around George Turner and then left Russell flailing to win compliments from the commentators as well as those on social media.
Let’s add fancy footwork to that list of factors that provided entertainment in this championship fixture.
Can’t get to the shops? Download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet. Subscribe to the print edition for magazine delivery to your door.
Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.