Six Nations 2021: Scotland 24-27 Ireland

Six Nations 2021: Scotland 24-27 Ireland

Johnny Sexton kicked a late penalty to make sure Ireland once again got the better of Scotland in the Six Nations, the visitors running out 27-24 winners at Murrayfield on Sunday.

Scotland went into the fixture still in with a shot of claiming the title but a 17th loss in the last 20 meetings between the two nations in the competition means Wales and France will fight it out to be crowned champions in 2021.

Hamish Watson's converted try in the 74th minute completed an impressive comeback from Scotland, who had trailed 24-10 at one stage in the second half.

However, having worked so hard to get back level in the contest, Scotland conceded a penalty from the kick-off, allowing Sexton to settle a see-saw contest in favour of Ireland.

The hosts had not played for a month – their round three fixture against France was called off due to a coronavirus outbreak within Les Bleus' squad – and were caught cold in the opening minutes of both halves.

Sexton slotted over an early penalty to start the scoring before putting his right boot to good use in open play, a cross-field kick meant for Keith Earls ending up breaking kindly for the late-arriving Robbie Henshaw to ground.

Finn Russell replied with a penalty and then cashed in on a fortunate break to get Scotland's first try.

Stuart Hogg charged down a clearing kick and twice hacked on before Russell did the same, James Lowe’s attempt to deal with the situation only knocking the ball up in the air to set up an easy finish for the fly-half.

The conversion made it 10-8 to Scotland, but a pair of Sexton penalties before the break was followed up by Tadhg Beirne plunging over in the 49th minute, his try by the posts leaving an easy kick to make it 21-10.

A further Sexton penalty built the lead out to 14, yet substitute Huw Jones gave Scotland hope, bursting through some weak tackling to make an instant impact following his introduction.

Hogg landed the extras having taken over kicking duties, the full-back also on target to bring his team level after Watson's strength close to the line allowed the flanker to force the ball down.

Yet Sexton scuppered Scotland's hopes as he had the last word, drilling over the match-winning kick from close to the touchline.

Gatland takes a look at fly-half options

With British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland watching on, Sexton finished the game with a personal haul of 17 points. Russell, meanwhile, managed a try, a penalty and a conversion, though his involvement was cut short when he had to leave proceedings for a head injury assessment midway through the second half.

No home comforts for Scotland

Scotland have now lost their past three Tests in a row at Murrayfield, their worst run at home since losing four on the bounce between November 2014 and March 2015. Gregor Townsend saw his team rally valiantly when trailing as they scored three tries to Ireland's two, only to then present their rivals with the chance to move back in front.

What's next?

Scotland are at home again next Saturday as they take on Italy, who are already certain to finish another tough campaign with the wooden spoon. Ireland, meanwhile, welcome England to Dublin.

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