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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Niall McVeigh

Ireland 36-14 Scotland: Rugby World Cup – as it happened

Hugo Keenan (No 15) celebrates his first try for Ireland at the Stade de France.
Hugo Keenan (No 15) celebrates his first try for Ireland at the Stade de France. Photograph: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile/Getty Images

Match report

Time to leave you with Rob Kitson’s match report from another magic night for Ireland in Paris. Will we see another next Saturday against New Zealand? Stranger things have happened. Thanks for joining me, and goodnight.


Full time! Ireland 36-14 Scotland

It’s all over – in truth, it was all but done at half-time, Ireland putting on a clinic to take the game away from their frustrated opponents. A couple of quickfire tries made the scoreline more respectable, but Scotland’s World Cup ends in a whimper. Next up for Ireland: the All Blacks. And if they can win that game, who knows?

Finn Russell of Scotland is dejected during the match against Ireland.
It’s been quite an evening for Finn Russell and his Scotland teammates. Photograph: David Winter/Shutterstock
Ireland's fans celebrate as their team won the Rugby World Cup Pool B match between Ireland and Scotland.
And for the Ireland fans. Photograph: Thibault Camus/AP


80 mins: Scotland get the put-in from a scrum as we pass the 80-minute mark. Duhan van der Merwe charges upfield, a slaloming run that is doomed to fail …

78 mins: The maul gets Ireland close to the line, and Murray offloads to Doris. Scotland are penalised again, there’s a tap-and-go, and Finlay Bealham goes over – but there’s a knock-on!

77 mins: Scotland scrum, and Nic Berry warns their front row to keep their height up. They fail to do so at the next attempt – an elbow goes down, and it’s an Ireland penalty. Crowley kicks to touch – Ireland clearly fancy a seventh try ...

75 mins: Ireland are happy to go through the motions, running the clock down as their fans have a rare old time. Any tension has long since left the Stade de France.

The Scottish defence attempts to stop Ireland's Ronan Kelleher.
The Scottish defence attempts to stop Ireland's Ronan Kelleher.
Photograph: Thibault Camus/AP


72 mins: Ireland win an eighth turnover but Scotland wrestle the ball back. They aren’t able to make any ground, though, and Russell’s hopeful kick is caught by Crowley. A better follow-up from Price gives the replacement a little more to do – but the move breaks down as another penalty is coughed up.

70 mins: Hugo Keenan collects Finn Russell’s attempted 50:22 kick, collects it on the full and calls a mark. Nicely done.

67 mins: An injury worry for James Ryan, who is down receiving treatment on his finger – but he looks OK to continue.

66 mins: Scotland win another midfield penalty and Russell quickly boots into touch. They’re still fighting, and that Price try was roared home by fans who have suffered tonight.


TRY! Ireland 36-14 Scotland (Price 65')

After waiting 63 minutes to score their first, Scotland add another in 63 seconds. Finally, their backs find some space to shine, with Huw Jones breaking past Aki’s tackle. His offload is batted down by Murray but Ollie Smith collects and finds Ali Price to streak clear and score under the posts! Russell adds the extras.

Scotland's Ali Price scores a try against Ireland.
Scotland's Ali Price decreases the deficit. Photograph: Christophe Ena/AP


64 mins: Luke Crosbie replaces Rory Darge as Scotland’s bench is emptied.

TRY! Ireland 36-7 Scotland (Ashman 63')

Scotland are finally on the board! Russell sidesteps his way over the gain line and the ball is worked wide to an unlikely source, replacement prop Ewan Ashman, who crashes over. Russell converts.

Scotland's Ewan Ashman scores his side's first try.
Scotland's Ewan Ashman scores his side's first try. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA


63 mins: The Ireland scrum goes down this time, allowing Scotland to kick away and then build an attack through Russell …

61 mins: Ollie Smith has had a tough time of it today, and his needless knock-on adds to Scotland’s problems. Their confidence is shot; they’ve been absolutely bullied by Ireland today.

60 mins: I woke up this morning looking forward to a tense, nail-biting contest – I didn’t expect it to be England v Samoa.

Scotland send on WP Nel, Ewan Ashman and (a few moments ago) Rory Sutherland for Schoeman, Turner and Zander Fagerson.


TRY! Ireland 36-0 Scotland (Ringrose 57')

A lovely bit of skill from Crowley as Scotland again get dragged out of shape, the replacement fly-half kicking out wide where Ringrose is all alone to collect it and go over. Crowley misses the conversion, which hits the near post.

Ireland’s Garry Ringrose scores their sixth try against Scotland.
Ireland’s Garry Ringrose scores their sixth try. Photograph: Thibault Camus/AP
Ireland’s Garry Ringrose (right) celebrates after scoring a try with Bundee Aki.
Ringrose (right) celebrates with Bundee Aki. Photograph: Thibault Camus/AP
A general view as fans of Ireland celebrate against Scotland.
It’s been an enjoyable evening for the Ireland fans. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images


56 mins: Ireland win their 10th lineout out of 10, and advance into the Scotland 22, Dave Kilcoyne leading the way and their unusual backfield setup ready to cause more trouble …


53 mins: After a few false starts, Murray gets the ball through the scrum and Ireland can clear it. After a quick exchange of possession, Scotland are penalised again and Jack Crowley can kick for the corner.

51 mins: Scotland are desperate to get on the scoresheet, but Ireland are giving them nothing for free. Finn Russell shimmies into space but tries to do too much himself, and is held up by the impressive McCloskey. Kelleher is then caught offside but when Scotland resume, with Smith back on board, they concede a penalty.

Rory Darge of Scotland is tackled by Caelan Doris of Ireland as Josh Van der Flier and Finlay Bealham of Ireland look on.
Rory Darge of Scotland is tackled by Caelan Doris of Ireland as Josh Van der Flier and Finlay Bealham look on. Photograph: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images


49 mins: Josh van der Flier almost bursts clear after racing to catch a high ball. Scotland, still down to 14 for another couple of minutes, are sending on George Horne for Darcy Graham, who joins their walking wounded.

48 mins: Ireland now have the luxury of resting some first-choice players, and Farrell empties his bench. Furlong, O’Mahony, Beirne, Sheehan and Porter are all going off; Keeleher, Kilcoyne, Bealham, Ryan and Conan are on.

47 mins: Gilchrist is off for Scotland, replaced by Scott Cummings. Meanwhile, have a look at this, particularly 20 seconds in:


45 mins: Sexton misses the conversion and that’s the end of his night – he heads off to a huge ovation. Jack Crowley is on in his place, with the result now surely beyond any doubt.

TRY! Ireland 31-0 Scotland (Sheehan 44')

Bah gawd – that’s Dan Sheehan’s music! Scotland’s 14 men get spread out and Ireland go through the middle, before Gibson-Park, a hybrid wing-scrum-half, flings it out wide to Sheehan, who gets beyond Finn Russell to score – moments after being shoved over a hoarding.

Dan Sheehan of Ireland celebrates after scoring his side's fifth try.
Dan Sheehan of Ireland celebrates after scoring his side's fifth try. Photograph: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile/Getty Images


Scotland yellow card (Smith 42')

It began with a trip from Ollie Smith, who left out a leg to bring down Sexton, who had kicked the ball beyond him. He is eventually shown a yellow card – not really sure how Schoeman didn’t get in trouble for his Stone Cold stunner on Sheehan.

42 mins: It’s all kicking off! Scotland’s frustration was building at half-time and it has totally boiled over here, with Sexton the target initially, before Peter O’Mahony gets his collar felt at length by Van der Merwe. In among that, there’s an extraordinary moment as Pierre Schoeman bundles Dan Sheehan over a hoarding, WWE-style.

Ireland's fly-half Jonathan Sexton (right) tussles with Scotland's hooker George Turner (centre) who is held back by Ireland's centre Bundee Aki.
Scotland's hooker George Turner (centre) gets shirty with Ireland’s fly-half Jonathan Sexton. Photograph: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty Images
Scotland's loosehead prop Pierre Schoeman (left) shoves Ireland's hooker Dan Sheehan over the advertising hoardings.
Scotland's loosehead prop Pierre Schoeman (left) shoves Ireland's hooker Dan Sheehan over the advertising hoardings. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images


Second half

Here we go again. No changes from Gregor Townsend, while for Ireland, Conor Murray is on for James Lowe. That means Jamison Gibson-Park switches from scrum-half to the wing.

Bread of heaven?

“Ireland simply brilliant,” says Jeff Sax. “New Zealand have no chance .” A bold shout, although you can certainly see that Andy Farrell’s side look a more complete and focused side than the All Blacks, who are yet to find the perfect framework for their team of many talents.

“Painful to watch if you’re Scottish. At least I can get on with the rest of my Saturday night now. The Scotland team would be as well doing the same,” writes Simon McMahon.


Half time: Ireland 26-0 Scotland

A near-faultless first-half performance from Ireland, who have scored four tries and not conceded a point. Scotland responded well to James Lowe’s early try but failed to take their chances, and now find the game has passed them by.


TRY! Ireland 26-0 Scotland (Keenan 39')

Ireland have been so clinical thus far, but Scotland make it a little easy here, with Ollie Smith stepping out of position and making room for Hugo Keenan, who takes Sexton’s pass and slides to the line for his second try. Sexton converts, and the bonus point is in the bag.

Hugo Keenan of Ireland scores his team's fourth try whilst under pressure from Duhan van der Merwe, Matt Fagerson and Huw Jones of Scotland.
Hugo Keenan of Ireland scores his team's fourth try whilst under pressure from Duhan van der Merwe, Matt Fagerson and Huw Jones of Scotland. Photograph: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images


36 mins: From another penalty, Ireland’s pack move to the right and set up an ambush on the blindside. Porter flips the ball back – and it hits the referee! Berry looks suitably sheepish. Finn Russell, the new captain, might feel some help is overdue – he’s been squabbling with the ref on a regular basis.

35 mins: Play stops for the referee to look at a high tackle from Rory Darge on Porter. There’s no further action, but Ireland roll upfield …

33 mins: Hansen came back on after an HIA, but has now left the field again after not feeling right. Sensible, and to be applauded.

TRY! Ireland 19-0 Scotland (Henderson 31')

Ireland don’t do anything flashy or clever here – instead resembling a giant, bright green steamroller once they get inside the Scottish 22. Scotland know what they’re doing, they can see it coming, but they can’t stop it. Iain Henderson is the man who finds the final gap, and Sexton adds the conversion.

Ireland's Iain Henderson scores his side's third try against Scotland.
Iain Henderson goes over to extend Ireland’s lead. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA
Ireland's Andrew Porter celebrates after Iain Henderson their third try.
Andrew Porter celebrates Henderson’s try. Photograph: Billy Stickland/INPHO/Shutterstock


29 mins: More bad news for Scotland, as Ireland’s pack appear to be up to full speed. Andrew Porter dominates at the breakdown, and Scotland’s expansive attacking style is not making much impact.


27 mins: Just before that Ireland score, I had noted that, considering they conceded a try in the first minute, things weren’t going too badly for Scotland. The stats are still pretty even, but Ireland lead The Only Stat That Matters, 12-0.

TRY! Ireland 12-0 Scotland (Keenan 25')

Another unstoppable attacking move, similar to the first try as McCloskey’s wraparound pass finds Sexton, who offloads to Bundee Aki. He offloads under pressure to Ringrose, and Hugo Keenan is the spare man out side. Sexton nails the tricky conversion, and Ireland have a grip on this game now.

Ireland's Hugo Keenan before he scores their second try against Scotland.
Ireland's Hugo Keenan grabs the ball ... Photograph: Stéphanie Lecocq/Reuters
Ireland’s Hugo Keenan scores their second try against Scotland.
Then puts the burners on to escape from Scotland’s Duhan van der Merwe … Photograph: Stéphanie Lecocq/Reuters
Scotland’s Duhan van der Merwe, right, fails to stop Hugo Keenan from scoring Ireland’s second try.
And goes over to score Ireland’s second try. Photograph: Aurélien Morissard/AP


24 mins: It’s become a kicking battle, with Ringrose controlling Russell’s downfield kick with his boot – careful now – and then kicking and rushing towards the replacement full-back, Ollie Smith, who deals with it well under pressure.

22 mins: Ireland seem to be targeting Darcy Graham with their high kicks – with mixed results so far. Scotland get a turnover in midfield here, setting up a lineout – which Ireland win. Gibson-Park’s swirling box-kick is well claimed by Russell.

21 mins: Another enforced change, this time for Ireland. Mack Hansen is replaced by Stuart McCloskey, who is making his World Cup debut.

20 mins: Doris picks up the ball and Sexton’s box-kick is collected by Darcy Graham, who calls a mark. The kick appeared to hit the spider-cam wire that passes over the field – that happened in the England game too. What are the chances, eh?

19 mins: Jamie Ritchie is leaving the field, holding his side – he is replaced by Matt Fagerson. It looks like a permanent replacement, and the captain looks absolutely devastated on the sidelines.

18 mins: … and they so nearly score a second try! Sexton delays his pass and finds O’Mahony, who offloads to Mack Hansen. The wing is well covered but can’t reel the ball in – a decent chance missed.

17 mins: Scotland may feel particularly aggrieved because after Keenan’s slip, James Lowe delivered a superlative 50:22 kick to get Ireland deep into opposition territory …


16 mins: Hugo Keenan collects a high ball – but slips and his boot appears to cross the line. Scotland protest, and a big-screen replay gets the crowd involved, but the referee and TMO claim his boot didn’t touch the line itself. Hmm.

15 mins: Ireland advance into the Scotland territory but a thudding tackle from Grant Gilchrist keeps them at bay. Scotland have a scrum, on the edge of their own 22; Kinghorn, meanwhile, has failed his HIA and won’t be coming back.

14 mins: Scotland have had 81% territory, and 71% possession. Ireland have made 52 tackles. And yet one team have scored a try, and it’s not Scotland. Remarkable, but also perhaps a little predictable.

13 mins: Tonight’s centurion, Peter O’Mahony, dislodges the ball from Schoeman’s grasp but it comes back to Scottish hands. The gap does not come, though, and Scotland eventually concede a penalty, to roars and clenched fists from the defence.

12 mins: Scotland are still on the front foot, Russell spinning left and right in search of a gap in the green wall ahead.

10 mins: Ritchie is fit to carry on, and claims the lineout ball. From there, Russell triggers a launch play with Tuipuloto out to the right, but Darcy Graham to his right runs out of space.

9 mins: Another Scotland penalty for a high tackle, and Russell sticks with the plan, kicking to the corner. Furlong looks to be feeling his shoulder after the early battles up front, while Scotland captain, Jamie Ritchie, also needs attention.


7 mins: Blair Kinghorn has to go off for a head injury assessment – he’s replaced by Ollie Smith. Bad news for Gregor Townsend, particularly as he has six forwards and only two backs on his bench.

6 mins: Scotland retain the ball and bustle across the field, but Van der Merwe gets isolated and the whistle goes. Typically solid work from Caelan Doris at the breakdown, and Russell might regret not taking the three points there.

4 mins: What a brutally efficient start from Ireland. Can Scotland respond quickly? They make a decent start, Russell using forwards Schoeman and Fagerson to make gains, before a penalty is awarded, and sent to the corner by Russell.


2 mins: Sexton opens up space against the tightly-bunched Scottish defence and finds Ringrose, whose curved run escapes two tackles. He offloads to Hansen, who shifts it to James Lowe on the left. Textbook – although Sexton narrowly misses the conversion.

TRY! Ireland 5-0 Scotland (Lowe 1')

Permutations? What permutations? Ireland are on the board within a minute, through James Lowe!

Ireland’s James Lowe scores their first try in the first minute of the game against Scotland.
What a start for Ireland, courtesy of James Lowe. Photograph: Stéphanie Lecocq/Reuters
Ireland's James Lowe celebrates scoring their first try with Johnny Sexton.
Lowe is congratulated by Johnny Sexton. Photograph: Stéphanie Lecocq/Reuters


Here we go!

Nic Berry is the referee, but let me clarify – every loser does not win tonight.

Both teams line up for the anthems: first “Ireland’s Call”, then “Flower of Scotland”. Both are sung heartily around the stands, where I would say green shirts and outnumbering navy by about two-to-one. It’s the Celtic classic. At the Stade de France. The World Cup knockouts start here. It’s on!

Some more of your pre-game thoughts. Ten minutes to go – it’s crunch time, alright.

As a humble live-blogger trying to keep you all up to date, I’m genuinely a bit scared by those permutations. Here’s Rob Kitson on Scotland’s judgment day:

So, about those permutations. South Africa top Pool B with 15 points, having played all their games. Ireland have 14 points, Scotland 10.

  • Any Ireland win will send them through as pool winners.

  • Scotland must beat Ireland and deny them a bonus point to finish second on head-to-head record, with South Africa topping the pool.

  • If Ireland get a bonus point and Scotland do not, Ireland will top the pool on the head-to-head rule from South Africa.

  • A Scotland bonus-point win without Ireland getting anything from the game will see them qualify in second place behind South Africa.

  • If Scotland win and both teams get a bonus point, then they all join South Africa on 15 points – and points difference will determine top spot in Pool B.

  • Scotland (+97 on points) must win by 21 points or more to claim top spot ahead of South Africa (+117). Ireland (+122) would qualify as runners-up, having beaten South Africa.

  • If Scotland do not win by such a margin, then South Africa will finish top on points difference and Scotland second.

  • Ireland will guarantee top spot if they secure two points from their match against Scotland.

Indeed I am – apologies, my handle was missing before. Tweet/X me @niallmcveigh.

Stephen Vallely offers a more concise assessment. “The fact that either Scotland or Ireland are likely to go out while that dire England team progress is a joke.”

In defence of England: at this World Cup at least, the display against Samoa was an off-day. I mean, what an off-day, but still. But, to be clear, the draw at this World Cup – made based on rankings back in December 2020 – has clearly diminished the event.

The best four sides in the world – Ireland, France, South Africa and New Zealand – would have made for immense semi-finals, and as the side fifth in the rankings, Scotland should not have to get through three of those four sides just to get to that stage.

Simon McMahon sums up the mood in my inbox: “It was always going to come to this, Niall. Townsend, Ritchie, Russell and the rest, as you’d expect, have been making positive noises in the build up to tonight, but it must be hard for them not to feel at least slightly peeved at the luck of the draw that saw the best Scotland side since 1991 placed in a group with the two best sides in the world.

“Not to mention the fact that some other teams who they are clearly superior to (I’m looking at you, England and Wales) have already progressed to the knockout stage. Still, them’s the breaks I suppose, and if you want to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best at some point. And then face either New Zealand or France in the quarter-final. Talk about doing it the hard way. Good luck Scotland, but I’ll not hold my breath.”

Ugo Monye’s big-match preview is here:

The teams

Ireland Hugo Keenan, Mack Hansen, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, James Lowe, Johnny Sexton (c), Jamison Gibson-Park; Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan, Tadhg Furlong, Tadhg Beirne, Iain Henderson, Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier, Caelan Doris.

Replacements: Ronan Kelleher, Dave Kilcoyne, Finlay Bealham, James Ryan, Jack Conan, Conor Murray, Jack Crowley, Stuart McCloskey.

Scotland Blair Kinghorn, Darcy Graham, Huw Jones, Sione Tuipulotu, Duhan van der Merwe, Finn Russell, Ali Price; Pierre Schoeman, George Turner, Zander Fagerson, Richie Gray, Grant Gilchrist, Jamie Ritchie (c), Rory Darge, Jack Dempsey.

Replacements: Ewan Ashman, Rory Sutherland, WP Nel, Scott Cummings, Matt Fagerson, Luke Crosbie, George Horne, Ollie Smith.


It’s been a long, winding road to get here but for one of these teams, the World Cup ends tonight. Ever since Scotland lost their opener to South Africa, this date has been circled in red for two teams enjoying golden eras, but all too familiar with heartbreak on the biggest stage.

It’s a great shame that the premature draw has forced three of the world’s top five sides in the same pool, but that’s the reality. Scotland will start as underdogs here but they have refused to fade away after defeat to the Springboks, thumping Tonga 45-17 and Romania 84-0.

As for Ireland, they got the better of a titanic, earth-shaking battle with South Africa and have top spot in Pool B in their hands, having lived up to their status as title contenders. Their reward, should they get the job done tonight? A quarter-final against New Zealand.

This is not quite a straight eliminator – various bonus-point permutations have had fans fretfully crunching numbers this week – but Scotland have to beat Ireland for the first time since 2017 to have a chance. An epic battle awaits in the Stade de France cauldron.

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