Ireland got their World Cup campaign off to a successful start with a dominant 27-3 victory over Scotland in Yokohama on Sunday. DYLAN JACK reports.
With the victory, the Irish have placed themselves in good stead to top Pool A. This could be turned into a near certainty with a win over hosts Japan in their next fixture next Saturday.
It was a largely one-sided match as Ireland rattled Scotland with their physicality and rush defence. While Scotland made more passes and offloads, Ireland made more of their opportunities with their pack relishing plenty of go-forward ball.
Scotland, who next face Samoa on 30 September, will also be concerned over the fitness of Hamish Watson as the star flank had to be stretchered off just before the break. Aside from the final 10 minutes, when Ireland lost replacement Tadhg Beirne to a yellow-card, Scotland struggled to capitalise on their opportunities.
Ireland got off to a flying start through early tries from lock James Ryan and captain Rory Best. Tighthead prop Tadhg Furlong muscled over, before Grieg Laidlaw nailed a penalty for Scotland’s only points of the half.
Heavy rain resulted in the Test becoming fragmented in the second half. Ireland pressured through the boot of Conor Murray, which paid off when Andrew Conway went over for the bonus-point try.
Ireland – Tries: James Ryan, Rory Best, Tadhg Furlong, Andrew Conway. Conversions: Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray. Penalties: Jack Carty.
Scotland – Penalty: Grieg Laidlaw.
Ireland – 15 Jordan Larmour, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 James Ryan, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rory Best (c), 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Niall Scannell, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Tadhg Beirne, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Jack Carty, 23 Chris Farrell.
Scotland – 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Grieg Laidlaw, 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 John Barclay, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 WP Nel, 2 Stuart McInally (c), 1 Allan Dell.
Subs: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Scott Cummings, 20 Blade Thomson, 21 Ali Price, 22 Chris Harris, 23 Darcy Graham.
Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images