Ireland clinches 'Six Nations' title with gritty win over Scotland

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Ireland secured their Six Nations title defense with a hard-fought 17-13 victory against Scotland at Lansdowne Road in Dublin

Ireland clinches 'Six Nations' title with gritty win over Scotland

Tries by Dan Sheehan and Andrew Porter got the Irish over the line, but the hosts were repeatedly thwarted by a magnificent Scottish defense.

The titlethey have won two in a row, emulating Joe Schmidt's Ireland side of 2014-2015 –is some consolation for missing out on historic Six Nations Grand Slams after being beaten by England last weekend.

Peter O'Mahony has yet to discuss whether he remains captain. The 34-year-old veteran was in tears at the national anthems and received a sympathetic pat on the head from Munster teammate Tadhg Beirne.

However, he grinned from ear to ear once the trophy was in the bag.

"I don't know. If it was my last one, it was pretty good," he said.

"Thankfully, we went out and did it against a good team. We showed grit and ambition with the ball, and I thought we played some good rugby.

"We spoke about getting stuck in and putting a lot of work in their legs. I thought the 10 minutes after half-time was impressive."

Head coach Andy Farrell could not have been prouder of his side.

"It was a war of attrition," the 48-year-old Englishman said.

"I am delighted for the lads, as back-to-back titles are challenging to achieve."

His Scotland counterpart, Gregor Townsend, also expressed his pride in his side, which was nevertheless going down to its 10th successive defeat to the Irish.

"I feel proud of the players," he said.

"The effort they put in today in one of the toughest environments to play in."
Sheehan gets the fifth try.

The Scots opened the scoring in the eighth minute, with Finn Russell slotting over a penalty to bring up a half-century of points in this campaign after James Lowe had been penalized.

However, the Scots gave away a soft try as hooker George Turner overthrew, and it was picked off by Dan Sheehan, who had the simplest of tasks to touch down -- his fifth try of the tournament.

Jack Crowley converted from wide out on the right for 7-3.

Ireland's ill-discipline has been a glaring weakness in the championship, and Russell landed a second penalty due to another Irish infringement in the 18th minute.

Neither side could impose themselves on the game as defenses held firm, and there were few scoring opportunities that left the match in the balance at the end of a scrappy first half.

The Irish started the second period lively, and Crowley landed a penalty after some excellent attacking play for 10-6.

Russell's ability to make schoolboy errors then handed the Irish the initiative as he put the ball out directly from the kick-off.

The Irish turned on the pressure as the Scots' defense wilted, but Tadhg Furlong was denied a try. He was judged to have knocked on when he went to touch the ball down.

The Irish pressed, but Calvin Nash was guilty of failing to pass as he closed on the line, and the outstanding Scottish flanker Andy Christie forced a turnover.

The Scottish defense was magnificent as the Irish camped on their line, and although they conceded penalties, somehow they kept the hosts out.

They also managed to force errors with the normally reliable Garry Ringrose, making his first appearance of the tournament. He showed his rustiness as he knocked on with the line beckoning.

Ringrose, though, redeemed himself with a superb solo run down the wing, which gave the Irish great position, but again, they were denied a try as Robbie Henshaw was held up.

However, referee Matthew Carley had lost patience with the Scots conceding penalties. He sin-binned Ewan Ashman while awarding the Irish another penalty.

This time, with a man advantage, the hosts made no mistake. Andrew Porter went over, and Crowley converted to stretch Ireland's lead to 17-6.

The Scots hit straight back after Harry Byrne was sin-binned, Huw Jones breaking through and touching under the posts.

The Irish managed to see out the game's final minutes, allowing their signature tune, Zombie by The Cranberries, to be played at full volume once Carley blew the final whistle.

Source: AFP

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