Ireland Move A Step Closer To Six Nations Crown With Impressive 28-8 Win Over Scotland

Ireland Move A Step Closer To Six Nations Crown With Impressive 28-8 Win Over Scotland
16:20, 10 Mar 2018

Ireland 28 Scotland 8

Jacob Stockdale scored twice as Ireland took another step closer towards being crowned Six Nations champions with another impressive bonus-point victory over Scotland in Dublin this afternoon.

Joe Schmidt's men led 14-3 at the end of a hard-fought opening 40 minutes courtesy of a clinical brace of tries from Ulster winger Stockdale, who has now scored 10 times in just eight Test matches.

Munster scrum-half Connor Murray added a third score six minutes into the second half and replacement Sean Cronin then touched down in the final quarter to secure the bonus point as the hosts comfortably maintained their 100% record in this year's championship.

Ireland have now claimed three bonus-point wins on home soil in this year’s Six Nations and they stand head and shoulders clear of the chasing pack in the race for the title.

The Irish last won the Six Nations in 2015 and, after England won the tournament in the past two years, Schmidt’s men will feel increasingly confident about clinching the title this time around.

Ireland, who racked up their 11th straight victory, were dominant during the early stages and Scotland were forced to defend stoutly to keep their line intact.

The visitors then led with a penalty from Greig Laidlaw and that poured confidence into Gregor Townsend’s team.

They fashioned a delightful handling sequence with Ryan Wilson at its heart but they could not find the killer pass and Ireland survived.

They led in the 22nd minute when Stockdale intercepted a pass from Scotland centre Peter Horne and scampered clear to score a trademark try.

Jonathan Sexton added the extras to make it 7-3 but Scotland continued to probe without reward.

They were also undermined by conceding four penalties in the opening half hour.

It was frenetic stuff and, after Stockdale went close from a delightful pass from Sexton, the winger claimed his second try of the match on the stroke of half-time.

Ireland moved the ball left from a scrum out to Stockdale, who cut inside past Kinghorn and dashed over the line.

Sexton's conversion made it 14-3 at the break and left Scotland facing an uphill task to rescue the match.

Six minutes after the restart, Ireland engineered a successful line-out which saw the ball worked out of a ruck to Murray, who peeled away and had too much speed for the Scotland defence as he darted over the line.

Sexton's educated boot provided another successful conversion but Scotland winger Blair Kinghorn went over in the right corner for a 52nd-minute score.

Nevertheless, the game was effectively over already.

Could Schmidt's men go on and claim the bonus point?

It took some time, but a fourth try finally arrived in the 69th minute when a textbrook drive from Ireland's pack culminated in Cronin emerging from a thicket of bodies to ground the ball.

Sexton, outstanding throughout once again, converted with aplomb for his fourth goal from as many attempts.

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