Ireland crowned Six Nations champions

Ireland crowned Six Nations champions

In the lead up to the match on Saturday, there was a lot of nay-sayers saying nay, that Scotland definitely had a chance to come out on top.

Sloppy play by the Irish even affected the usually reliable Keith Earls who with Stockdale out wide and free sent a wild pass right over his head into touch.

Ireland face England at Twickenham on Saturday, March 17, where a St Patrick's Day victory would add this group of players to the Grand Slam-winners of 1948 and 2009.

In a scrappy game which lacked any real fluency, England struggled to get over the gain line.

It was England's ill-discipline which cost them again - conceding 16 penalties throughout the match - but they did give themselves hope of at least winning on the day when Jonny May crossed over for their first try after good work from Elliot Daly.

The hosts pressed hard to secure the bonus point with a fourth try but the Scots held them off and won a penalty to clear their lines as the match entered the final quarter.

But when replacement hooker Cronin barged home from a driven lineout, Ireland had that all-important bonus-point, and the title tantalisingly within their grasp.

More news: Ex-Seahawks CB Richard Sherman visiting 49ers today

Scrumhalf Conor Murray wriggled over early in the second half to widen Ireland's advantage, but it was replacement Sean Cronin's try in the 68th minute that could prove a title victor.

Johnny Sexton's conversion handed Ireland the 14-3 half-time lead, and the hosts wasted little time extending that margin after the break.

But Scotland didn't think it was over. Jones was beside him and Kinghorn further out but Horne threw to the wrong man - Kinghorn - and over the sideline.

However, they went in at the interval leading 15-3 thanks to yet more tries from Jacob Stockdale. Devin Toner, Peter O'Mahony, and the front row were replaced.

"I wanted the team to be close to the best during the tournament", France coach Jacques Brunel said. "At times when we were under pressure today and they were trying to play chaotic rugby, we were able to get a breath back and get control through the spine of our team".

Captain John Barclay, downbeat and frustrated, chimed in with Townsend's long-term view that Scotland are a building side. The throw-in was caught, the ball was mauled, and Cronin dove over. Murray shaped to go one way, went the other and, although Scotland got bodies back, he still found a way through. "We play Ireland next year in the Six Nations and we will play them in 18 months at the World Cup and we need to make sure we are a better team when we play them".

"We're just going to be reasonably calm about it and go again next week".

Related Articles