sport news Ireland 19-12 Scotland: Sexton inspires hard-fought victory for hosts in Six ...

Ireland ushered in the Andy Farrell era with a hard-fought victory over Scotland thanks to a 19-point haul from their new captain Johnny Sexton.

Sexton’s first half-half try and 14 points from the boot helped secure a tense, error-strewn win with CJ Stander producing a man-of-the match display.

Scotland will have plenty of regrets after they failed time and again to convert a plethora of chances. 

Johnny Sexton starred on his first outing as permanent Ireland captain on Saturday

Johnny Sexton starred on his first outing as permanent Ireland captain on Saturday

MATCH FACTS

IRELAND: J Larmour; A Conway, G Ringrose (R Henshaw 40), B Aki, J Stockdale; J Sexton (capt) (R Byrne 73), C Murray (J Cooney 60); C Healy (D Kilcoyne 50-51, A Porter 66), R Herring (R Kelleher 73), T Furlong (Healy 78); I Henderson (D Toner 68), J Ryan; CJ Stander, J van der Flier, C Doris (P O’Mahony 5)

Tries: Sexton. Cons: Sexton. 

Pens: Sexton 4. 

SCOTLAND: S Hogg (capt), S Maitland, H Jones (C Harris 66), S Johnson (R Hutchinson 74), B Kinghorn; A Adam Hastings, A Price (G Horne 66); R Sutherland(A Dell 66), F Brown (S McInally 46-51, 57), Z Fagerson (WP Nel 74); S Cummings, J Gray (B Toolis 66); J Ritchie, H Watson, N Haining (C du Preez 74)

Pens: Hastings 4. 

Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)

Stuart Hogg was top of that offender’s list when the Scotland skipper failed to ground the ball with the try-line at her mercy. 

The visitors were 13-6 in arrears when the Exeter Chiefs full-back looked to have crossed in the corner, due reward for all their efforts. But Hogg made a mess of his one-handed finish, a blunder that compounded a Scottish performance punctuated with errors and indiscipline.

Ireland were rusty and lacking in rhythm and there are injury concerns over Caelan Doris, Dave Kilcoyne and Tadhg Furlong, who all left the field with injuries, but their championship is up and running with a victory. 

There has been much talk about Ireland’s woeful World Cup campaign. Ireland’s failings were nothing compared to the shambles which unfolded in Scotland’s camp throughout that tournament in Japan, however. A 27-3 shellacking at the hands of Joe Schmidt’s was bookended by a loss to the tournament hosts in Tokyo. A pool stage exit and an early flight home was the net result. 

Ireland fly-half Sexton scored and converted the opening before adding four penalties

Ireland fly-half Sexton scored and converted the opening before adding four penalties

Scotland would suffer further ignominy when the union was fined £70,000 for comments made their chief executive, Mark Dodson, for ill-judged comments he made in the days leading up that pivotal pool meeting with Japan, saying he did want his side to be ‘collateral damage’ of the fallout of Typhoon Hagibis, the deadly storm that ripped through the country that week. Overall, it was a World Cup to forget for all parties involved in the Aviva.

And it was the visitors who came firing out of the blocks. There has been plenty of talk about Finn Russell's exile in recent weeks, but Adam Hastings, the rookie Glasgow No10, looked more than at home at this level as he marshalled Scotland’s first attack of the evening. Twice the hosts got outflanked and it took a brilliant turnover from Doris, on debut, after 90 seconds to lift the siege. Not a bad introduction for the 21-year-old Leinster No8.

Cruelly, his first Ireland start came to an abrupt end a few minutes later when he suffered a concussion. Off Doris went and on came Peter O’Mahony, the veteran looking to prove a point.

Hastings had made it 3-0 by then. Just rewards for a powerful Scotland start.

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