Ireland 27-3 Scotland: Ireland overpower Scotland in Yokohama
By Emma Thurston
Last Updated: 22/09/19 5:09pm
Ireland commenced their Pool A campaign with a powerful 27-3 victory over Scotland in Yokohama.
Joe Schmidt's side, who entered the competition off the back of some fractious warm-up fixtures, dominated from the start and were driven on by a physical performance from their forward pack.
Ireland's forwards orchestrated and finished all three of their first-half tries. James Ryan and Tadhg Furlong surged over from close-range with Rory Best also dotting down from a driving maul.
Jonathan Sexton's two successful conversions created their 19-point tally whilst a sole Greig Laidlaw penalty for Scotland made it 19-3 at half-time.
Andrew Conway danced his way to Ireland's bonus-point try after 56 minutes before another penalty completed a comprehensive win.
With the nerves of both sides jangling, it was Ireland who settled first as Iain Henderson created their maiden scoring-platform with a bulldozing run.
Henderson shrugged off the attentions of Stuart McInally to break free and although the lock couldn't quite make it over, James Ryan finished the job shortly after with Sexton converting.
The issues that Ireland had shown during their warm-up matches, set-piece frailties and a lack of physicality, were nowhere to be seen in Yokohama.
Did you know?
Ireland are the only country in Rugby World Cup history to reach the quarter-finals more than three times and never make it to the semi-finals.
The side's confidence in their abilities saw them turn down a kickable penalty after 14 minutes and look confidently at the corner. The decision to back their pack paid dividends and quickly produced their second try.
Rory Best, who is now the third player to represent Ireland at four World Cups, went assertively to the front of the line-out and finished the job by dotting down from the back of the rolling maul.
This time Sexton's conversion attempt faded wide and Scotland then got off the mark through the boot of Greig Ladiaw to make it 12-3.
The happiness and respite for Scotland's players and fans was short-lived though, as Ireland's forwards continued to give their counterparts a lesson in power-play.
After Andrew Conway's chip forwards was taken back in by Tommy Seymour, Ireland's pack turned it on at the scrum and Tadhg Furlong followed Ryan and Best in punching his way over the line.
Sexton's successful conversion created the 19-3 advantage which Ireland took into the interval.
Worryingly for Scotland, not only did their first 40 minutes fall short on the board, but they lost Hamish Watson to a serious-looking leg injury too.
As the second period commenced, the rain began to teem down and Ireland used that to their advantage.
Conor Murray's kicking game, which had been impeccable all-match long, provided the field position for their bonus-point try and Conway's footwork was crisp and clean.
Ireland replaced Sexton with just over a quarter to go and throughout showed excellent durability as they looked comfortable even without Rob Kearney, Keith Earls or Robbie Henshaw being available due to injuries.
Scotland tried to create opportunities in the second half, but even with a player-advantage after Tadhg Beirne went to the sin-bin for slowing the ball down, they couldn't make anything happen.
Next, Ireland face hosts Japan on Thursday with Scotland needing to re-group before their meeting with Samoa on Monday September 30.