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.
Ireland name Six Nations Squad
O’Toole was named in the Ireland panel at the start of the 2020 Championship, while Casey, who won a Grand Slam with the Ireland Under-20s in 2019, trained with the squad last October.
In the opening round Ireland will take on Wayne Pivac’s Wales at the Principality Stadium. Their first two games of the 2021 Championships against Wales and France will both take place on Sunday afternoons.
Ireland head coach Andy Farrell commented: “Since the autumn international window, the club season has had a good few disruptions and the cancellation of the European fixtures means there have been less opportunities for players to show form or to return from injury and get some minutes under their belts.
“Tadhg (Furlong) hasn’t played in quite a while but he is ready to join the group. Unfortunately Jacob (Stockdale) will not be available to us.”
All Ireland games will be televised on Virgin Media in the Republic of Ireland, and on ITV (v France, Italy & England) and BBC (v Wales & Scotland) in Northern Ireland.
Ireland Squad – 2021 Guinness Six Nations Championship:
Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht) 30
Billy Burns (Ulster) 3
Ross Byrne (UCD/Leinster) 11
Craig Casey (Shannon/Munster) *
Andrew Conway (Garryowen/Munster) 24
Shane Daly (Cork Constitution/Munster) 1
Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 88
Chris Farrell (Young Munster/Munster) 14
Jamison Gibson-Park (Leinster) 5
Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster) 47
Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster) 6
Jordan Larmour (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 24
James Lowe (Leinster) 2
Stuart McCloskey (Bangor/Ulster) 4
Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 87
Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster) 30
Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) (capt) 95
Tadhg Beirne (Lansdowne/Munster) 17
Will Connors (UCD/Leinster) 5
Caelan Doris (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 7
Ultan Dillane (Galway Corinthians/Connacht) 17
Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster) 25
Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 104
Dave Heffernan (Buccaneers/Connacht) 5
Iain Henderson (Academy/Ulster) 58
Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 16
Ronan Kelleher (Lansdowne/Leinster) 6
Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster) 39
Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) 73
Tom O’Toole (Banbridge/Ulster) *
Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster) 32
Quinn Roux (Galwegians/Connacht) 16
Rhys Ruddock (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 26
James Ryan (UCD/Leinster) 32
CJ Stander (Shannon/Munster) 46
Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster) 28
* Denotes uncapped player
Ireland 2021 Guinness Six Nations Fixtures:
Wales v IRELAND
Principality Stadium, Cardiff
Sunday 7th February, KO 15.00
VIRGIN / BBC
IRELAND v France
Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Sunday 14th February, KO 15.00
VIRGIN / ITV
Italy v IRELAND
Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Saturday 27th February, KO 14.15
VIRGIN / ITV
Scotland v IRELAND
BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Sunday 14th March, KO 15.00
VIRGIN / BBC
IRELAND v England
Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Saturday 20th March, KO 16.45
VIRGIN / ITV
Pivac names squad for 2021 Six Nations
The squad features one uncapped player, Scarlets back-row Josh Macleod, who was named in the autumn squad last year but didn’t feature after picking up an injury before the campaign began.
Four players who made their international debuts in that campaign, Kieran Hardy, Callum Sheedy, Johnny Williams and Louis Rees-Zammit are all included.
Rhys Carre, Wyn Jones and Rhodri Jones (last appearance for Wales v South Africa in 2018) are named as the looseheads in the squad with Elliot Dee, Ryan Elias and Ken Owens (who missed the autumn campaign through injury) the hookers. Leon Brown, Tomas Francis and Dillon Lewis are the three named tight-heads.
Jake Ball, Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones, Will Rowlands and Cory Hill are included as the second-rows.
Dan Lydiate returns to the international set-up (last appearance v Australia in 2018) and is named alongside Josh Navidi, Aaron Wainwright, Taulupe Faletau, Macleod and Justin Tipuric.
Hardy who made his debut back in November is named as one of three scrum-halves along with Gareth Davies and Tomos Williams, who has returned from injury. Dan Biggar, Jarrod Evans and Sheedy are the three fly-halves.
Johnny Williams, Jonathan Davies, Nick Tompkins and Owen Watkin are named as the centres with George North, Josh Adams, Hallam Amos, Rees-Zammit, Leigh Halfpenny and Liam Williams named as Wales’ back-three options.
“We are hugely looking forward to meeting up as a squad on Monday and to the forthcoming campaign,” said Wales head coach Wayne Pivac.
“The Guinness Six Nations is an important tournament and we have selected a squad accordingly.
“As we consistently spoke about, the autumn for us was about opportunity and development, looking ahead to RWC 2023 and it served that purpose for us.
“This campaign is different, it is tournament rugby and we are excited to get going and to play our part.
“We have picked a squad for this tournament based on form and we are excited to meet up on Monday and to get our preparation underway.”
Scotland name Six Nations squad.
The group, split between 20 forwards and 15 backs, sees eight new players called up who did not feature in the group that contested the recent 2020 Autumn Nations Cup.
In the pack Glasgow Warriors hooker George Turner is selected and joined in the front row by Zander Fagerson and Oli Kebble from Glasgow Warriors, alongside Edinburgh Rugby representatives WP Nel, Rory Sutherland and Simon Berghan.
Glasgow Warriors’ lock pairing Richie Gray and Scott Cummings, Exeter Chief, Jonny Gray are called up, along with Edinburgh’s Grant Gilchrist who left the ANC squad with an injury before the opening match.
Hamish Watson and Jamie Ritchie, who have both recently re-signed to long-term deals to stay at Edinburgh Rugby, are joined as back-row options by Glasgow Warrior Matt Fagerson and Scarlet’s Blade Thomson.
Gregor Townsend has chosen just two scrum-half’s for this campaign with Glasgow Warriors’ Ali Price and Harlequins’ Scott Steele selected.
Linking up at half-back will be Racing 92’s Finn Russell who returns following an injury sustained in the concluding match of the 2020 Guinness Six Nations vs Wales and Edinburgh’s Jaco Van de Walt who made his Scotland debut in the ANC semi-final against Ireland.
Gloucester’s Chris Harris, Saracen Duncan Taylor, Glasgow Warrior Huw Jones and Harlequins’ James Lang are selected at centre.
In the back three Scotland Captain Stuart Hogg is joined by Edinburgh Rugby trio Blair Kinghorn, Darcy Graham and Duhan van de Merwe and Saracens’ Sean Maitland.
With an eye to the future three additional players have been invited to train with the squad during the campaign. Edinburgh Rugby back row forward, Rory Darge, Glasgow Warriors pair winger, Rufus MacLean and scrum-half, Jamie Dobie will join up with the squad, which goes into camp on Sunday.
Speaking on the squad selection Gregor Townsend said: “As coaches we have selected a group which we believe can build on the work our players put in throughout the recent Autumn Nations Cup campaign and kick on again in terms of performance levels.
“The depth we have across the squad enables us to bring in some new players who have excelled in recent weeks and others who we believe can perform at Test level.
“Our tournament gets off to a fantastic start with a fixture we look forward to every year against England and the opportunity to win back the Calcutta Cup at Twickenham.
“We are very aware how different this year’s competition will be due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but it also provides a huge amount of positivity and enjoyment for millions of supporters and we are looking forward to contesting every match and giving this championship our very best.”