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Women's Six Nations: Ireland clinch third place and Rugby World Cup spot with 15-12 win over Scotland

Ireland finished the Women's Six Nations in 2023 with the wooden spoon but claimed third place in the 2024 tournament; the win also secured their spot at the Women's Rugby World Cup 2025; a converted penalty from Dannah O'Brien proved the pivotal moment

Katie Corrigan hit back for Ireland early in the second half
Image: Katie Corrigan hit back for Ireland early in the second half

Ireland clinched third place in the Women's Six Nations with a 15-12 victory over Scotland, which also secured their spot at next year's Rugby World Cup.

​​​​​​There was just one try in the first half as Elis Martin powered over for Scotland, giving them a 5-0 lead at the break.

However, points started to flow for both teams in the second 40, efforts from Ireland's Katie Corrigan and Clíodhna Moloney being matched by Lisa Thomson as the scores were locked at 12-12 with a quarter of the game to play.

A converted penalty then proved to be the pivotal moment, Ireland fly-half Dannah O'Brien giving her side a three-point cushion, the 15-12 scoreline lasting the final few minutes despite a yellow card for Beibhinn Parsons for a deliberate knock-on.

The victory is a clear symbol of Ireland's improvement in the 15-player code with the third-place finish a big change from ending up with the wooden spoon in 2023.

Ireland show passion as improvement evident to see

The rain was pouring in Belfast as the huge clash got under way and it was the visitors who were first on the scoresheet, Martin barrelling over from the rolling maul in the first 10 minutes for a 5-0 lead.

Emma Wassell celebrates Elis Martin's try in Scotland's Women's Six Nations clash with Ireland
Image: Emma Wassell celebrates Elis Martin's try in Scotland's Women's Six Nations clash with Ireland

The slippy conditions caused a raft of handling errors for both teams, an attritional game ensuing for the middle portion of the half as defences stood firm to line breaks and attacking kicks.

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With Ireland doing well at the lineout, they gained some good territory in the second quarter but knock-ons cost them, the Scotland pack showing the defensive nous that they have used throughout this tournament to go in at half-time with their 5-0 advantage still intact.

Kicking games became key in the wet conditions in Belfast
Image: Kicking games became key in the wet conditions in Belfast

However, it took Ireland just over a minute of the second half to hit back and get onto the scoreboard, Corrigan supporting the play perfectly to go over in the corner and bring scores level at 5-5.

Score Summary: Ireland 15-12 Scotland

Ireland: Tries: Katie Corrigan (41), ClΓ­odhna Moloney (59); Conversions: Dannah O’Brien (60, 72)

Scotland: Tries: Elis Martin (9), Lisa Thomson (50); Conversions: Helen Nelson (51)

With the sun then starting to shine, flowing attack was brought into the game and Scotland did not take long to retake the lead, Thomson going over on 50 minutes after running a brilliant line, Helen Nelson adding the extras to take her side 12-5 up.

Katie Corrigan scores a try for Ireland against Scotland
Image: Corrigan scores her try for Ireland

The hosts then took their opportunity from the rolling maul, Moloney powering over and O'Brien adding the extras to bring things level at 12-12 with 20 minutes remaining.

With time running out, both teams chanced their arm before the crucial moment arrived, Aoife Wafer breaking through the gap from the lineout to set Ireland up and earn a penalty, O'Brien slotting it over to give her side a 15-12 lead with less than 10 minutes to play.

A scrum penalty then gave Scotland a huge opportunity in good territory with less than five minutes remaining, but Ireland stood firm before the visitors got possession from the lineout once again, Parsons being sent to the sin-bin for an intentional knock-on in the dying minutes.

The crowd then roared as possession was turned over once again, Ireland kicking the ball into touch and confirming third place in the Six Nations and their spot in the Rugby World Cup 2025.

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