Familiar foes did battle in this Pool A clash in Yokohama – here's all you need to know
Played – 136
Ireland wins – 64
Scotland wins – 67
Draws – 5
Did You Know?
Ireland beat more than twice as many defenders as Scotland – 17 to eight – while the Scots made three times as many offloads with nine to Ireland’s three.
Plus, Ireland maintained their record of converting half-time leads to match wins…
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In a nutshell
Ireland’s defence came to the fore as they comfortably saw off their Six Nations rivals in Yokohama, not only scoring four tries for the bonus point but preventing Scotland from crossing the whitewash.
It was the power and precision of Ireland’s forwards that put them in a strong position at half-time. All three of their tries came from tight-five forwards and all three from close range.
James Ryan was the first to score, his low position allowing him to get under the Scottish defence. Captain Rory Best followed him onto the scoresheet when he rolled over from a driving maul in the corner. There were question marks over the grounding but Wayne Barnes assured the Scots it had been checked by the TMO.
Tadhg Furlong completed the tight-five hat-trick, just reaching the line following a short burst in the 25th minute.
All Scotland could manage in the first half was a solitary Greig Laidlaw penalty as Ireland’s hard-hitting defensive line shut down attacks.
With Hamish Watson, one of their best players, having to leave the field just before half-time after suffering a nasty-looking injury at the breakdown, it didn’t look good for the men in blue.
With mist and fine rain descending at half-time, handling errors hampered the Scots’ ability to spread the ball wide and they couldn’t build momentum in their attacking game. Ireland capitalised on any error, playing to their set-piece and kicking strengths.
They had to wait a while for the all-important fourth try but in the 56th minute, a few phases after a high ball slipped through Sean Maitland ‘s fingers, Andrew Conway crossed in the corner.
There was a glimpse of a chance for Scotland when Chris Harris and Stuart Hogg combined to reach the Irish 22, and Tadhg Beirne was sin-binned for a breakdown infringement. Yet from the ensuing penalty, Scotland kicked for a five-metre lineout, worked a set play down the blind side, lost possession and conceded a penalty themselves to allow Ireland to relieve the pressure.
Scotland had a few more chances in the final ten minutes with a series of five-metre lineouts but could find no way through the green wall.
Chris Farrell didn’t start this match but arrived as a replacement midway through the first half and made a big impression in attack and defence. He’s an uncompromising tackler and thwarted several Scottish attacks. And when he got possession, he made ground – whether a few metres while taking contact or a long burst into open space. What you could call an impact substitute.
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Ireland coach Joe Schmidt: “I was delighted with the first half. We really put some pressure on. We had to soak a bit up too.
“We put together about 15 line breaks. The one frustration is we didn’t finish on the back of enough of those, but in these conditions in the second half I was delighted to see Andrew Conway get over in the corner. It just gave us the buffer and the bonus point, which could be important in the pool later on.”
Scotland coach Gregor Townsend: “When you go behind against a team like Ireland, who are very good at staying in front, then it’s always going to be difficult and it was obviously very difficult in the second half with the rain.
“Really it was that first 20 minutes: we didn’t set the tone with our energy and Ireland took their chances and the game was very difficult to come back from there.”
Ireland: Jordan Larmour; Andrew Conway, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki (Chris Farrell 21), Jacob Stockdale; Johnny Sexton (Jack Carty 57), Conor Murray (Luke McGrath 57); Cian Healy (David Kilcoyne 50), Rory Best (captain), Tadhg Furlong (Andrew Porter 50), Iain Henderson (Tadhg Beirne 57), James Ryan, Peter O’Mahony (Jack Conan 28), Josh Van der Flier (Jack Conan 14-22, Niall Scannell 73), CJ Stander.
Tries: Ryan 7, Best 16, Furlong 25, Conway 56. Cons: Sexton, Murray. Pen: Carty.
Yellow card: Beirne 69min.
Scotland: Stuart Hogg; Tommy Seymour (Darcy Graham 57), Duncan Taylor (Chris Harris 65), Sam Johnson, Sean Maitland; Finn Russell, Greig Laidlaw (Ali Price 62); Allan Dell (Gordon Reid 62), Stuart McInally (captain), Willem Nel (Simon Berghan 53), Grant Gilchrist, Jonny Gray (Scott Cummings 65), John Barclay (Blade Thomson 53), Hamish Watson (Fraser Brown 38), Ryan Wilson.
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