Rugby: Ireland Beat Scotland 17-13 To Retain Seven Nations Title

Ireland weren’t at their very best but did enough to beat Scotland 17-13 at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, clinching back-to-back Six Nations titles. This was the second time in 11 years that Ireland has been able to accomplish this feat, helping to put last year’s World Cup disappointment behind them. 

Scotland came to Dublin hoping to win the Triple Crown for the first time since 1990. While the match had some touch and go moments, in the end the Scottish just didn’t have enough in the tank to beat Ireland.

Ireland are now cemented as the top team in the northern hemisphere. Their dominance over the past decade have left them with five championship titles in 11 years. With the depth in their roster, expect the Irish to stay on top of the Six Nations leaderboard for years to come.

Ireland celebrate winning the 2024 Guinness Six Nations Championship
IMAGO / Inpho Photography

Line Ups

Ireland- Larmour; Nash, Henshaw, Aki, Lowe; Crowley, Gibson-Park; Porter, Sheehan, Furlong; McCarthy, Beirne, O’Mahony (capt), Van der Flier, Doris.

Replacements- Kelleher, Healy, Bealham, Baird, Conan, Murray, H Byrne, Ringrose.

Scotland- Kinghorn, Steyn, Jones, McDowall, Van Der Merwe, Russell, White; Schoeman, Turner, Z Fagerson, Gilchrist, Cummings, Christie, Darge, Dempsey.

Replacements- Ashman, Sutherland, Sebastian, Skinner, M Fagerson, Horne, Redpath, Rowe.

Game Summary

Ireland came into the match on a high, having humbled England last week in Dublin. The pressure of the moment however showed, as they failed to convert rather easy scoring opportunities. 

Sheehan was basically gifted a try from a Scotland line-out but Ireland lacked the intensity required and struggled to build momentum. The Scottish defense was stubborn and refused to give in, even when the Irish were in prime scoring positions. Scotland couldn’t put much pressure on the Irish tryline early on but looked comfortable dealing with Ireland’s attacks.

It should be noted that Ireland lost Hugo Keenan to injury just before kick-off, putting a big dent in their side.

A pair of first-half Finn Russell penalties meant Ireland trailed just 7-6 at the break, a position they would have been very happy with. Despite Ireland dominating possession, they couldn’t seem to put points on the board.

In the second half Ireland seemed to get some of their magic back. A Crowley penalty stretched their lead to four and then Furlong powered one over the Scotland line to open up the game. Unfortunately, the joy was short-lived as the television match official ruled that the Irish lost it forward in the attack.

The pressure on the Scottish defense grew but the team managed to stay in the match, frustrating the Irish with their cagey play. Calvin Nash had a great opportunity to build on their lead, charging towards the line only to be held up before dropping the ball. Yet another chance went down when Garry Ringrose was denied a try by a handling error.

Henshaw joined in as another chance went begging but found a yellow card on Scottish sub Ewan Ashman. Ireland were able to capitalize and score their second try when Porter pushed his way in. 

The Scottish didn’t give up from there though. First, Irish replacement Harry Byrne was yellow-carded for his tackle on Russell. Then Jones was able to break through for Scotland to score the team’s only try. At this point the nerves in the Irish team were extremely high. 

The team was able to hold off their opponents though in the final minutes to lift the trophy and notch their 10th successive win over Scotland.While it wasn’t as one-sided as their 36-14 victory in last year’s World Cup, the Irish proved they were the team to beat in Six Nations.

The win may be a farewell to Sexton’s successor as captain, Peter O’Mahony, who before lifting the trophy said his 105th cap could be his last. O’Mahony has been instrumental in Ireland’s amazing success in the past couple of decades. They had gone 24 years without a championship before the Grand Slam of 2009.

Ireland has a two-Test series against world champions South Africa scheduled for the summer, They will then go on to play against the All Blacks, who knocked them out of the World Cup.