Nd without trace
had a tough day. So much had been made of Ireland’s new-look back three and whether, with Rob Kearney and Keith Earls missing, Russell and Laidlaw might be able to target Larmour, Conway and Jacob Stockdale. Not a bit of it. Larmour had an excellent first half, even jackalling for a turnover at one point; Stockdale looked back to his 2018 vintage; Conway scored his second-half try and generally buzzed about.
Laidlaw managed a penalty to pull Scotland back to 12-3, but Ireland were soon piling on more misery. Again it came from a Scotland error, Tommy Seymour spilling the ball, which was hacked all the way to the line. Ireland got a bit lucky with the ball rebounding off the foot of a post, forcing Stuart Hogg to carry it over his own try-line. From the ensuing scrum, Stander launched himself from the base and in quick order Furlong was over.
“We didn’t start with the energy, accuracy and aggression required to beat a team like Ireland,” Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend admitted afterwards.
Ireland rolled back the years – or year. Rolling mauls, strike moves. Any hopes Scotland had of a Twickenham-style Six Nations secondhalf turnaround were extinguished after 56 minutes when Ryan Wilson spilt another kick from Murray, who sent Conway over in the corner. The game petered out as a contest. South Africa – Ireland’s likely quarter-final opponents – will not be quaking in their boots. But this was clinical from Ireland. As for Scotland, the less said the better. Scores