With both teams making forced changes pre-game Scotland started the better, and their early pressure paid off with Greig Laidlaw slotting over a fifth minute penalty to put them in front.
However, Ireland responded brilliantly, putting pressure on the Scots before shipping the ball out wide to Jacob Stockdale who raced away in the middle of the park.
Stockdale showed a lot of intelligence by kicking the ball ahead into the Scottish 22. Tommy Seymour and Sean Maitland got their wires crossed from the kick and allowed Conor Murray to pick up a loose ball and score the opening try of the game.
Sexton missed the conversion leaving the score at 5-3 in Ireland’s favour after 10 minutes.
Scotland were dealt a huge blow in the 16th minute as star full-back Stuart Hogg was forced off, with last weekend’s hat-trick hero Blair Kinghorn coming on.
A minute later and Ireland were in for their second try.
Some incredible play near halfway allowed Peter O’Mahony to switch play with Sexton with Sexton then releasing Stockdale, who had come in from his wing, and has showed immense pace to race under the posts and touch down.
The conversion was easy for Sexton who stretched Ireland’s lead to 12-3.
Stockdale brushed aside comments from Luke Fitzgerald during the week, claiming his defending was poor by saving Ireland with a couple of covering catches and outstanding tackles over the next few minutes.
Ireland faced their own injury setback as Sexton was forced off after 23 minutes to be replaced by Joey Carbery.
It was a risky pass by Carbery that allowed Finn Russell to intercept near halfway and race toward the Irish line on 29 minutes.
Keith Earls made a great recovering tackle but Carbery lost track of Sam Johnson, who received a clever pop pass from Russell on the floor and was in for a try.
Laidlaw sent over the conversion from the right touchline to make it 10-12 and that was how it stayed until half-time.
The second-half opened with a few scrappy pieces of play from both sides.
It took until the 55th minute for another score to come. Following a line-out for the visitors near the centre of the park, a misplaced pass from Sean O’Brien was picked up by Carbery.
From there Carbery showed his class by breaking through two Scottish players before ploughing into the 22 and sending the ball out wide to Earls who was in for an easy try.
Carbery sent the conversion over to leave the score at 19-10.
Greig Laidlaw brought Scotland within six points by sending over a lovely penalty from the left touch line on 62 minutes.
Carbery returned the favour with 12 minutes later slotting over a three pointer to give the visitors with a 22-13 lead.
That was how it stayed as Ireland failed to secure the bonus-point but got their first win of the campaign and showed some guts to grind out the victory.
Speaking after the game man of the match Peter O’Mahony spoke of his delight with the win following last weekend’s defeat.
“It says a lot about our character. I’m very proud of the boys today,” he said.
While head coach Joe Schmidt was happy with the win, he admitted his Irish team was missing something.
“We were lacking a tempo in our game, not quite hitting our rhythm,” he said.
“We’ve got to be better,” he added.
Schmidt also confirmed that fly-half Sexton failed a HIA assessment, hence he didn’t return to the action, which will be a worry for Ireland as they already have a growing injury list.
Wales Dealt Six Nations Double-Blow
Wales’ Six Nations title defence has been dealt a massive blow already with two stars facing surgery to fix injuries picked up on international duty
Davies, a key member of the Welsh squad for the past number of seasons sustained a knee injury during Wales’ recent Rugby World Cup campaign, and Scarlets have announced that he will undergo surgery on the injury.
The recovery time for the for the centre is set to be six months, meaning he will miss the entire Six Nations tournament in what could be a critical blow as they look to defend their title. While it also means that he could potentially miss the entire club season for Scarlets.
As for Patchell, things aren’t as severe as Davies, but the fly-half is still set to miss the start of the Six Nations with a shoulder injury, which he too will have surgery on.
He is expected to miss between 12-16 weeks due to the injury in what is a cruel blow for a player that has suffered with injury previously, but had shown some brilliant form in recent times.
It is a far from ideal start to life at the helm for new head coach Wayne Pivac as he heads into his first tournament with the team.
As well as these injuries there are also further concerns regarding the likes of stars Liam Williams and Josh Navidi, who are both currently sidelined through injury, with the former looking likely to miss some part of the Six Nations.
Wales are looking to bounce-back during the tournament following a fourth-place finish at the World Cup, with all players hoping to impress Warren Gatland’s successor.
Munster Star in Six Nations Fitness Race
Munster have confirmed that one of their key men is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines which could put his Six Nations spot in doubt
Munster fly-half Joey Carbery is set for yet another spell in the sidelines according to head coach Johann van Graan due to injury.
Van Graan confirmed that Carbery is still suffering from an ankle injury which he sustained during Ireland’s Rugby World Cup warm-up game against Italy and is not able to put a return date for his comeback due to the nature of the injury.
“He is going to be out for some time. We got to make sure he gets his strength back and we get that ankle fully functional. From Joey’s point of view, obviously, he wants to play but his body is not right. Because of the type of injury he is definitely not going to be back in the next few weeks, I can tell you that,” he said on Carbery.
The out-half was selected ahead of Leinster’s Ross Byrne in Ireland’s World Cup squad despite carrying the injury. However, it was reiterated throughout the tournament that he had fully recovered, which now appears to be untrue.
His head coach also told reporters that the 23-year-old will not undergo surgery on the injury. When asked about the possibility of Carbery playing before Christmas van Graan admitted he is hopeful but he cannot be sure right now.
“I hope so. At this stage it is very difficult for the medical team to determine that. Because he has had it for quite a while the most important thing now is Joey’s health. He is a Munster player. He is under my watch now so we have got to look after him. He is very important for the national team, I believe, for the future of Irish rugby,” he added.
It is a massive blow for the Munster player who only moved from Leinster ahead of last season, and after starting brightly in the red jersey he picked up a hamstring injury that left him out for large portions of the season.
The fear for Carbery now however is that due to the nature of the injury and the inability to place a return date, he could face a race to be fit for Ireland’s Six Nations campaign at the start of February next year. Carbery will hopefully be back in action and back to match fitness by then as he will want the chance to impress new head coach Andy Farrell during his first tournament at the helm.
Japan Could Receive Six Nations Invitation
Following their incredible performances during this year’s Rugby World Cup it appears as though hosts Japan could be set for inclusion in one of the biggest international tournaments according to reports
The report by Martin Samuel claims that the World Cup host nation, who went all the way to the quarter-finals for the first time in their history, are to “receive a shock invitation” to European rugby’s elite international competition.
It was previously thought that a move to the Rugby Championship would make more sense and that it was on the cards as the Southern Hemisphere nations were impressed by the brand of rugby that Japan played.
However, it appears as though the tournament organisers are hesitant to bring them into the championship straight away, and are looking to include them within the next four or five years. Which would see them join come the end of the next World Cup cycle and see them miss out on some valuable development time ahead of the tournament.
The report is clear that although formal talks between the Brave Blossoms and the Six Nations are yet to take place that World Rugby have been made aware that leading figures within the European organisation are very interested in the prospect.
It would be a brilliant opportunity for the Japanese as they look to expand interest in the sport within the country and are in a prime position to do so with interest at an all time high following the success of the tournament in the Land of the Rising Sun.
They have earned respect especially within Europe following wins over Six Nations side’s Scotland and Ireland during the group stages of the World Cup with Japan now sitting ahead of the former in 8th position in the World Rugby rankings due to their performances.
Japan were among several tier two nations backing the making of a Nations Championship which would have allowed the likes of Fiji and themselves compete against the best nations around on an annual basis and with these developments it will raise further questions as to why the competition isn’t being developed.
We will have to wait and see how things progress over the coming weeks and months but it seems as though Japan are in with a bigger chance than ever before in being added to one of the biggest international tournaments on the planet.
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