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Published: 18:53 | 19/3/16

Four-try Ireland beat Scotland

Strong finish to Six Nations campaign

Ireland moved up to third in the RBS Six Nations table as they beat Scotland 35-25 in an entertaining game at the Aviva Stadium.

Tries from CJ Stander, Keith Earls, Conor Murray and Devin Toner added to 15 points from the boot of Jonathan Sexton saw Joe Schmidt's side to a deserved victory over a combative Scottish side for whom Stuart Hogg, Richie Gray and Alex Dunbar all crossed the whitewash, with Greig Laidlaw kicking ten points.

Schmidt will be hoping that England complete the grand slam with victory over France in Paris later this evening to retain third place in the table which will keep Ireland among the top eight seeds for the 2019 World Cup draw and avoid a potential group of death scenario.

Ireland started the game well and were rewarded as Sexton converted a penalty on five minutes. However, he was off target with a relatively straightforward effort shortly afterwards.

But he made amends on 12 minutes with another effort, before Laidlaw halved the deficit just before the quarter hour after Mike Ross was penalised for not rolling away after the tackle.

Sexton restored Ireland's six-point advantage with a minute after Richie Gray went off his feet.

But Scotland hit back with a superb try as Hogg collected a somewhat aimless Murray box kick close to the halfway line and showed a clean pair of heels to the Irish defence to touch down close to the posts.

Laidlaw added the extras to give Scotland a somewhat surprising 10-9 lead.

But Ireland were back in front as Stander dived over a host of prone bodies for his second try in as many games following a spell of intense pressure deep inside the Scottish 22.

Sexton converted to make it 16-10.

The lead was out to eleven within two minutes as Hogg and Duncan Weir failed to deal with Sexton's deft dink over the top and Earls was able to touch down in the corner unopposed.

This time the conversion attempt was off target and, even though Laidlaw reduced the arrears with the last kick of the half, Ireland had a healthy 21-13 advantage at the break.

Ireland continued to take the game to the Scots after the restart and, following a good break involving Earls, Jarod Payne and Andrew Trimble, Murray burst over from a yard out on 48 minutes to extend the lead.

Sexton was on target with the conversion attempt from out wide to make it 28-13 with half an hour to play.

But the Scots weren't finished yet as Richie Gray ran in unopposed to to touch down under the posts after the Irish defence had been dragged across to defend a series of phases close to the corner flag.

Laidlaw converted to keep the contest alive at 28-20 after 57 minutes.

Scotland enjoyed long spells of possession after that, often running from deep as Ireland kicked tactically to keep them penned back in their own half.

But Ireland regained the initiative and victory was sealed 12 minutes from the end as man-of-the-match Jamie Heaslip offloaded to Toner to crash over under the posts.

Sexton again converted to leave 15 points between the sides at 35-20.

Scotland grabbed a late consolation through Alex Dunbar after Sexton was sin-binned for coming in from the side.

Laidlaw was unable to convert as it finished 35-25 for a deserved Irish victory.

By: Kieran O'Daly

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