Scotland beat Ireland in Six Nations - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Scotland beat Ireland in Six Nations

21/03/2010 09:03:30 AM Comments (0)

France won the Six Nations even before playing Saturday's final match of the tournament after defending champions Ireland slumped to a surprise loss to Scotland.

Ireland needed to beat Scotland by a healthy margin at Croke Park to have any chance of overhauling France at the top of the standings, but were unable to capitalise on large amounts of possession and territory.

Ireland fought back from 17-10 down to twice level the scores but Dan Parks kicked his fifth penalty with two minutes left to give Scotland a 23-20 victory.

Defeat left Ireland with six points and three wins from five matches, two points fewer than France, who will try to win their first Grand Slam of victories since 2004 against England later on Saturday.

Scotland finished in fifth place, above only Italy.

Ireland outscored Scotland by two tries to one and threw the ball around as though it was a sevens match, but handling errors and infringements at the breakdown gave Parks the openings to help clinch a third man-of-the-match award in five games.

Ireland flyhalf Jonathan Sexton missed two penalties in a kicking display as erratic as the one he mustered against Wales last week and was eventually replaced by Ronan O'Gara.

Sexton did set up Brian O'Driscoll for his first try of the 2010 tournament to put Ireland ahead but John Beattie, aided by some weak Irish defence, touched down to help the visitors to a 14-7 halftime lead.

Wing Tommy Bowe then rounded off a slick passing move midway through the second half with his third try of the competition and O'Gara tied the scores at 17-17 and then 20-20.

But infringements at the scrum and breakdown continued to wear on referee Jonathan Kaplan and he gave Parks the penalty way out on the left to kick Scotland to victory.

"We got a bit of luck at the end of the game but Dan landed a great kick," Scotland coach Andy Robinson said. "The guys are hurting, they are tired but they deserve the plaudits for this win."

The victory means that Scotland, who lost to Wales on the last move of the match and were unlucky to draw 15-15 with England last week, avoids the ignominy of the wooden spoon for finishing last.

That position went to Italy for the fifth time in six years after they lost 33-10 at Wales.

The Welsh finished fourth for a second straight year after winning for only the second time.

"It's been pretty frustrating," Wales coach Warren Gatland said. "I felt we haven't performed to our potential. There's a couple of games we've let slip.

"We don't feel the table really reflects where we are. On our day, if we get things right and working, we can trouble any side in the world."

Centre James Hook touched down twice against an increasingly ill-disciplined Italian side and winger Shane Williams got a late try while flyhalf Stephen Jones finished with 18 points in a flawless kicking performance.

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