Six Nations: Ireland secure bonus-point win over Scotland

Members of the squad lined up and charged into tackle bags as they prepare for England

The Grand Slam is on for Ireland on St. Patrick's Day.

With an very bad record away from home, the Scots' own championship bid was nearly inevitably squashed by an Irish side which owns the visitors in Dublin, where Scotland has won only once in 20 years.

RTE have awarded man of the match to Rob Kearney - although there was A LOT of love for Jacob Stockdale - and above all else, it was two teams enjoying the game, and playing with nothing but respect for each other.

But a Grand Slam beckons next weekend at Twickenham, and Sexton believes the tournament won't be complete for the Irish unless they pull off only their third sweep ever.

"If the game loves us then we might have won against France, but we didn't get bounce of ball, we didn't get the 50/50 decisions and we are in the losers' chair and it is not a very happy place". We got a lot of good opportunities which we weren't able to finish, but there's lots to be happy with.

Seeking a record-breaking 11th consecutive win against Scotland in Dublin, Joe Schmidt's men initially fell behind to a Greig Laidlaw penalty.

But when replacement hooker Cronin barged home from a driven lineout, Ireland had that all-important bonus-point, and the title tantalisingly within their grasp.

Ireland punted an eminently kickable penalty to the corner, only to come away with no reward for that early enterprise.

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Ireland's sole problem could perhaps prove to be a fitness doubt for Cian Healy, who appeared to take a heavy blow to the head late in the first-half and was replaced just after 50 minutes.

Sexton's conversion gave Ireland a 14-3 lead into the break and breathing room. At 21-3, Ireland was cruising. It was a team performance right from the start.

The Scots, 21-8 behind, should have had another try moments later when Horne slipped through a big gap.

Ireland were simply more clinical and, on the stroke of half-time, they got a morale-boosting second try.

Fit-again Garry Ringrose excelled despite only featuring for an hour for Leinster since January, with Peter O'Mahony also to the fore.

"Regardless of what happens this evening, it will be about us going there to win a Triple crown and whatever else goes with it. We play Ireland next year in the Six Nations and we will play them in 18 months at the World Cup and we need to make sure we are a better team when we play them".

"We are three or four years behind Ireland in terms of what they've done and achieved over the last few years", Scotland coach Gregor Townsend said.

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