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Six Nations | Group Stage
Mar 12, 2023 at 3pm UK
Jones (17')
Hansen (28'), Lowe (57'), Conan (62')

Johnny Sexton equals points record as Ireland keep Grand Slam hopes alive

Sexton equals points record as Ireland keep Grand Slam hopes alive
© Reuters
Johnny Sexton equals the all-time Six Nations points-scoring record to help Ireland to a 22-7 victory over Scotland at Murrayfield, which keeps their Grand Slam hopes alive.

Ireland have beaten Scotland 22-7 at Murrayfield this afternoon to keep their Six Nations Grand Slam hopes alive going into the final weekend of the tournament.

Johnny Sexton registered seven of the points with his boot to draw level with compatriot Ronan O'Gara as the leading points-scorers in Six Nations history on 557, with Ireland's current number 10 now needing just one point against England in what is set to be his final outing in the competition to move out on his own at the top of the scoring charts.

That match against England in Dublin next week is now all that separates Andy Farrell's men from a first title and Grand Slam since 2018, having made it four wins from four against a spirited Scottish side in Edinburgh.

Just one point separated the two teams at the end of an engrossing and entertaining first half, but Ireland moved clear in the second half to ultimately run out comfortable winners against a Scotland side whose dreams of a first Triple Crown since 1990 and first Six Nations title since 1999 were both ended with this defeat.

The result did see Ireland fail to pick up maximum points in a game for the first time this year as they missed out on a try bonus point, but they head into the final weekend sitting four points clear of defending champions France, who are now the only team still in with a chance of pipping them to the title.

Ireland's Mack Hansen scores their first try on March 12, 2023© Reuters

Sexton's early penalty gave Ireland the lead after 13 minutes, but Scotland scored the first try of the game shortly afterwards as Huw Jones went over from close range to put the home side in front.

Some brilliant Irish defence ensured that those would be the last points Scotland scored, though, and a superb finish from Mack Hansen in the corner gave Ireland an 8-7 lead that lasted until half time.

Despite also suffering a number of injury blows in the first half, Ireland then scored 14 unanswered points in the second half courtesy of tries from James Lowe and Jack Conan, both of which were converted by Sexton to move him level with O'Gara.

The visitors squandered a big late chance to grab a fourth try and subsequent bonus point, but the only real negative from the day will be the injuries to a number of key Irish players, including two hookers and Garry Ringrose, who was carted off in a neck brace in the second half.

Farrell could therefore have limited options for next week's game against England, but they will still be firm favourites to claim a Grand Slam against an English side that was dismantled by France on Saturday.

Scotland, meanwhile, end their campaign at home to Italy next weekend.

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