Ireland blitzes Scotland to set up Rugby World Cup quarterfinal with New Zealand

PARIS (AP) — Top-ranked Ireland confirmed a Rugby World Cup quarterfinal after blitzing Scotland by six tries and 36-14 on Saturday.

PARIS (AP) — Top-ranked Ireland confirmed a Rugby World Cup quarterfinal after blitzing Scotland by six tries and 36-14 on Saturday.

Ireland topped Pool B ahead of defending champion South Africa, which it beat 13-8 in a titanic contest two weeks ago.

This one was never close as Ireland cruised to a national record-extending 17th straight win, with Scotland’s two tries coming after it was already 36-0.

The Irish have never passed the quarters and they face three-time champion New Zealand when they return to Stade de France next Saturday.

France faces the Springboks here the following day.

Underdog Scotland had to win and deny the Irish a bonus point to advance at Ireland’s expense. Instead, coach Gregor Townsend’s side slumped meekly to a record-tying ninth straight defeat against Ireland.

After only 63 seconds, Ireland was ahead. By halftime, it was 26-0 with a bonus point secured.

Center Garry Ringrose blew through a gap opened by Tadhg Beirne obstructing George Turner and Mack Hansen sent fellow wing James Lowe diving into the left corner for the first try.

After soaking up some Scottish attacks, a similar wraparound move down the left involving crafty captain Jonathan Sexton and burly center Bundee Aki led to Ireland’s second try, neatly taken by Hugo Keenan.

The third try soon after was almost too easy when Iain Henderson picked up the ball after scrumhalf Jamison Gibson-Park was held up on the line, and burrowed over.

A comical moment saw referee Nic Berry almost catch the ball as it was accidentally thrown to him, possibly preventing a try. It came moments later, anyway, when Sexton looped a high ball that Keenan caught off balance before twisting over. Sexton nailed his third conversion.

Magical from Ireland, a horror show from Scotland.

Tempers blew early in the second half after Ollie Smith’s attempted trip on Sexton, whose return shove started a melee which saw Scotland prop Pierre Schoeman fall over a hoarding with Sheehan. It was Scotland’s most even contest and they still lost as only Smith was shown a yellow card.

To rub it in, Sheehan turned into a left winger for the fifth try.

Sexton missed the extras and was taken off, followed by other first-teamers with the All Blacks in mind.

Sexton’s replacement, Jack Crowley, cross-kicked to an unmarked Garry Ringrose for try No. 6.

The Scots then scored two converted tries in two minute.

Canadian-born Ewan Ashman scored a try for Scotland in the 64th minute, five minutes after entering the game.

The 23-year-old hooker was born in Toronto to a Scottish father and English mother. His parents spent some eight years in Toronto thanks to his father’s construction job with Ashman four years old when the family returned to Britain.

Ali Price also scored for Scotland.


AP Rugby World Cup: https://apnews.com/hub/rugby

The Associated Press

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