Reigning Champions Ireland crushed Scotland at Murrayfield last night and won Six Nation title glory on points’ difference, which meant that they had secured their back-to-back titles for the first time since 1966.  

Ireland needed to win by a 21-point margin, after Wales’ astonishing 61-20 victory in Rome earlier yesterday afternoon, and they came out ready to deliver. The Thistle’s skipper Paul O’Connell set a tone with a fourth minute try. The Racing Metro Johnny Sexton’s conversion and subsequent penalty, five minutes later, gave the visitors’ team a 10 point early lead.

The Scottish then managed to endure a longer period of pressure and they bought the hosts their first points through the boot of Greig Laidlaw, but they conceded a poor try from Sean O’Brien, who stormed over for Ireland’s second in the 25th minute.  The Scots finally got their reward when Finn Russell crossed over in the 29th minute, to give them some hope of avoiding the whitewash.  But it was a comfortable 20-10 scoreline for Ireland at half time.

The second half was full of drama; the Irish number 10, Sexton, kicked a penalty four minutes after the interval, and Jared Payne sliced through the Scottish back-line to score under the posts five minutes later. Sexton converted for a 30-10, but he then missed two opportunities to edge his team towards a 21-points victory margin.

It was O’Brien who rounded off a period of pressure in the 71st minute, by bundling the ball over for his second of the afternoon, and more importantly, Ireland’s fourth. O’ Brien deserved his man-of-the-match title, as he significantly contributed to a 40-10 result, which was a big lead for the Irish ahead of England’s showdown with France; it meant that the Red Rose would need to beat the French at Twickenham by 26 points, to deny the Thistle of their second consecutive crown. This was beyond the reach of England, who later beat France 55-35, but ended second on points’ difference.

Scotland were winless after four matches, and were condemned to the Wooden Spoon for their last-place finish.

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