Scotland vs Ireland - Report - Six Nations 2019 - 9 Feb, 2019

Ireland's Devin Toner attempts an off load

Ireland's hard-fought 22-13 win over Scotland in the Six Nations on Saturday lent weight to the suggestion that Japan should target the Scots when the three sides battle to progress from Pool A at the Rugby World Cup later this year. Some of the challenges tested the tolerance threshold of Romain Poite, though the referee angered Scotland by not reviewing a challenge on Stuart Hogg that left the full-back with an injured shoulder when the home side were leading 3-0. "We knew that if we lost we would be dead and buried because teams do not come back from two opening defeats, but we need to be more fluid and play more rugby. Both of the teams" energy levels dropped in the second half because of the effort that they put into the first half. 'I thought we won those battles and our contact work against a very good defence, who will look to hold you up in the tackle, rip the ball or compete for the ball, was outstanding.

"We are relying on others, but when it comes to next week [in Italy a week on Sunday] and the final two rounds we don't have to rely on them for how we approach things and how we perform", Schmidt said. 'Just that final piece, the execution off our set-piece, which has been really good, that fell off the jigsaw today and that's my fault.

Russell's glorious pop-pass from the deck after stealing possession from Joey Carbery set-up Johnson's first Scotland try but despite pushing hard before the break for a second, there was no breakthrough and Keith Earls' second-half score wrapped up Ireland's win. There was always a knock-on or a penalty. We launched off a line-out in the second half and Sean O'Brien reached the ball, ' explained Laidlaw. It should have been play-on.

'With 15 minutes to go there was an opportunity to go for four tries but we couldn't get the sustained pressure'. We felt we'd done alright in some areas, and were pretty poor in others with some silly mistakes.

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Gonzalo Higuain and Eden Hazard did threaten at times, but they could do nothing to prevent Chelsea's humiliation. He did not have to wait much longer, however, as Sterling was felled in the box by Cesar Azpilicueta.

His coach Gregor Townsend took responsibility, saying Scotland had to improve their set-pieces. 'He wanted to stay on but his shoulder was not right.

In Italy, Wales - who beat France in their opening match - dominated possession but scored only two tries in a performance that is unlikely to have caused too many concerns for their next opponents England. 'It was a big moment in the game.

"It was an improvement after England but we can still play better", said the Ireland captain, Rory Best.

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