Published: Sun, March 11, 2018
Sports | By Brandy Patterson

Ireland bag 6 Nations, on Grand Slam track

Ireland bag 6 Nations, on Grand Slam track

Jacob Stockdale bagged a brace to become the first Irishman to score six tries in a single campaign in Five and Six Nations history, as Ireland moved within one win of just a third-ever clean sweep.

Ireland led 14-3 at the break against Scotland thanks to Ulster winger Jacob Stockdale's ninth and tenth worldwide tries in what was just his eighth Test.

It earned Ireland a bonus point which means England must beat France, and score a four-try bonus point, in Paris later on Saturday to keep the title race alive.

"The way we play the game is fast, so when a team gets ahead that is as good as Ireland, they can make it hard for you".

Scotland's generosity with their final pass saw to it that Ireland's job of setting up a Grand Slam day in Twickenham next week was more easily prosecuted than it might have been.

Tries from Conor Murray and Sean Cronin sealed the bonus-point victory for Ireland, their third in succession, and brought them to the brink of a first title win since 2015.

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"We'll have a look at England now and try to strike out again next week".

"It's been in the back of our minds and it's something you always dream of", Murray said of the possibility of emulating the 1948 and 2009 feats.

Sexton's displeasure didn't distract Greig Laidlaw who slotted over the penalty to give them a 3-0 lead.

A simple pass would have resulted in a try but Jones made a mess of it and the chance went begging.

With an terrible record away from home, the Scots' own championship bid was nearly inevitably squashed by an Irish side which owns the visitors in Dublin, where Scotland has won only once in 20 years.

Murray, though, was to get his moment of glory as he ducked inside Finn Russell and went over six minutes into the second half - Sexton converting as the Irish eased away to 21-3.

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Blair Kinghorn's try did narrow the lead to 21-8 in the 51st minute, but Ireland were simply more clinical, and there was a sense of elation when a lineout move in the corner resulted in Cronin, nearly on his knees, going over.

Schmidt said the focus was now on the grand slam. I really think they have.

"They've beaten every tier one nation, they've put 11 consecutive test match wins together, more than we've done before".

"They are a very good team", added the backrow. They have fought out incredibly tough finishes.

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.

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