Ireland close in on Wales total with strong display in Edinburgh
Schmidt’s side need at least a 21-point win to have any chance of holding on to their crown
Sean O’Brien of Ireland goes over to score the second try of the game at Murrayfield. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Paul O’Connell scores Ireland’s opening try against Scotland. Photograph: Inpho
Ireland have moved into top stop on in a frenetic final day in the Six Nations.
With little more than 10 minutes left to play Joe Schmidt’s side lead 33-10, an advantage that crucially gives them a better points differential than Wales.
Wales’ rampaging triumph in Rome Schmidt’s side needed at least a 21-point win to keep hold of their crown
Ireland wasted little time bulldozing over for a fourth-minute try. A great break from Tommy Bowe took them to within a yard of the try line.
And after the visitors kept the move alive, skipper Paul O’Connell found the room to squeeze round a ruck and finish off the touchdown to become Ireland’s oldest ever scorer.
Johnny Sexton added the extras and then a penalty to cement the perfect start. The Scots had been shell-shocked by Ireland’s ferocious opening but eventually got a foothold before putting themselves on the scoreboard when captain Greig Laidlaw knocked over a simple penalty.
But a clever pincer movement between Robbie Henshaw and Luke Fitzgerald almost put Ireland in again before Dougie Fife - back on after a brief spell off the pitch having a wounded tended - came up with a vital tackle.
There was no stopping O’Brien though as he brushed off the winger for the second score after 24 minutes. From a line-out, Devin Toner collected and turned to see the Leinster flanker offer the perfect angle as burst in for his fourth Test try. Sexton again converted.
But the hosts responded in style with eight minutes of the half left. Stuart Hogg pressurised Rob Kearney into dropping a grubber before Seymour drove the Scotland forward further. He was brought down five yards out but Laidlaw moved the ball wide for Russell to gallop round the back and score. Laidlaw put the conversion over but Ireland clawed some points back with another Sexton kick.
Hogg thought he had grabbed another try just before the break but French referee Jerome Garces had already blown up after Matt Scott knocked-on.
More to follow.