After Georgia and Fiji raised the curtain on today’s action, it’s the turn of the two group runners-up to take centre stage in the third-place play-off. It’s of course not the game that either wanted to be in, with Ireland coming unstuck against England earlier in the tournament while Scotland lost their decider to the French, but both sides have signalled their intent to end the year on a high with the Six Nations just around the corner.
Ireland will be led by returning captain Johnny Sexton who has recovered from a hamstring strain suffered in the opening game against Wales, while Scotland turn to debutant fly-half Jaco van der Welt in the hope of finding a replacement for injured duo Finn Russell and Adam Hastings. Follow the live updates below.
53 mins: Ireland 25-9 Scotland
Scotland need something to stem the tide flowing their way, and they get something as Roux is penalised for tackling Van der Merwe off the ball. They fire the kick to touch on the edge of the Ireland 22, and really need to take points – preferably a try – away here.
Jack de Menezes5 December 2020 15:35
50 mins: Ireland 25-9 Scotland
Stockdale carries deep on the right to create space on the opposite side, and quick hands from O’Mahony sees the flanker release Keith Earls to sprint home for his second try of the match. The pass from O’Mahony looked a little suspect as it seemed to come out the front of his hands, but the officials are happy and it stands to extend the lead to 16 thanks to Sexton’s conversion.
Jack de Menezes5 December 2020 15:33
50 mins: Ireland 23-9 Scotland
Jack de Menezes5 December 2020 15:31
49 mins: Ireland 18-9 Scotland
Ireland are starting to shift through the gears as they win another penalty with Gray offside, and Sexton turns down the shot at goal to kick to the corner as they go for the jugular.
Jack de Menezes5 December 2020 15:30
44 mins: Ireland 18-9 Scotland
The replays show Cian Healy picking from the base and, with the help of Herring, Doris and Roux, he powers over to score. That could really suck the wind out of Scotland’s sails, as Sexton adds the simple conversion.
Jack de Menezes5 December 2020 15:27
44 mins: Ireland 16-9 Scotland
Jack de Menezes5 December 2020 15:26
44 mins: Ireland 11-9 Scotland
Doris goes close as he slips out of a tackle, and Ireland are camped at the base of the uprights in a pile of bodies … Healy goes and Ireland are celebrating … we go to the TMO again!
Jack de Menezes5 December 2020 15:25
42 mins: Ireland 11-9 Scotland
Scotland safely negotiate the start of the half and find touch, and Taylor returns to restore them to a full compliment. However, it hasn’t changed the flow of the game as a net Sexton kicks pins Hogg deep, with Earls and Henshaw combining to drive the full-back into touch and give the Irish a big chance in the Scottish 22.
Jack de Menezes5 December 2020 15:23
41 mins: Ireland 11-9 Scotland
Ireland kick off to get the second half under way!
Jack de Menezes5 December 2020 15:21
Half-time: Ireland 11-9 Scotland
Despite the relative lack of try-scoring opportunities, I have to say that was quite an intriguing half of rugby there. Scotland were clearly in the ascendancy for the opening 20 minutes, with Van der Walt taking three of his four shots at goal after Sexton’s early miss, but they never really looked like scoring a try and that proved the problem.
Having kept their try line intact, Ireland grew in confidence and the yellow card to Taylor for deliberately blocking Aki’s pass with a huge overlap proved the catalyst for the swing in balance, with Sexton’s creativity and Earls’ refusal to let the opportunity go resulting in the late try at the end of the half that has put the home side in front.
Jack de Menezes5 December 2020 15:13