Highlights on Off The Ball

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Highlights on Off The Ball


WATCH: Ireland end 2020 on high with victory over Scotland

Ireland hosted Scotland in their Autumn Nations Cup final on Saturday, with both sides looking fo...

Ireland hosted Scotland in their Autumn Nations Cup final on Saturday, with both sides looking for a big performance after struggling during the tournament.

Scotland came into the match on the back of a 22-15 loss to a young French side, after earning a 28-17 win over Italy. They were unable to play the third team in their Autumn Nations Cup group, Fiji, due to COVID-19.

Ireland, on the other hand were convincing against Wales in their first match of the tournament, winning 31-9.

Andy Farrell's men were then bullied by a physical England, losing 18-7, and were very unconvincing in their 23-10 victory over a game Georgia last week.

Both sides were looking to get their final game of 2020 off to a good start, with Ireland being the first to threaten the opposition line.

Peter O'Mahony got the ball inside the Scottish 22m, and put through a grubber for Jacob Stockdale to chase that went out in the corner.

Johnny Sexton had the an opportunity to get the first points of the match, however he pushed the penalty wide, which allowed Scotland to try and build their first attack from inside their own half.

Scotland were unable to get their first points of the match a few minutes later, though, as Jaco van der Walt missed his first international kick from a similar angle and distance to Sexton's earlier miss.

He made no mistake in his second effort, though, as Van der Walt put Scotland into the lead with just under 15 minutes played.

Ireland's scrum woes from a wee ago continued early in the game, as they gave away a few penalties early on. Van der Walt took the visitors further, with another simple penalty.

Sexton was eventually given a second shot at the posts after a dangerous tackle from Scotland, which he struck well, putting Ireland back into the match.

Both sides traded penalties inside each others halves, with Duncan Taylor being shown yellow for Scotland for a deliberate knock down in a try-scoring opportunity .

It was not deemed to be a penalty try as the Scottish defence was there to cover the potential breakaway, keeping Ireland three points behind heading into the final ten minutes of the first half.

With a man up, and five minutes left in the first half, Ireland looked to solve their lineout issues and chase the first try of the game, after they turned down a kickable penalty in favour of a kick to touch.

Ireland were finally able to get in front just before half time after a chip kick for Robbie Henshaw ultimately ended up in the hands of Keith Earls over the try line.

Sexton missed the conversion, taking Ireland into halftime just two points ahead.

Ireland threatened the Scottish line early in the first half, and were rewarded with a try through a powerful pick-and-go from Cian Healy

Sexton had no problem with the conversion, extending the lead just five minutes into the second half.

Ireland looked a much improved side in the second half, as they were able to capitalise on their field position and exploit the overlap.

Some quick hands from O'Mahony and Henshaw put Earls away in the corner for his second of the game.

Scotland got one back though, after Ireland seemed to have switched off for a few minutes. Duhan van der Merwe picked the ball up from the base of the ruck, running over a passive Rob Herring, before running outside Jacob Stockdale to score.

Van der Walt added the conversion, taking Scotland back within nine points with just under an hour played.

With Sexton off with seemingly a leg injury, Ross Byrne kept the scoreboard ticking over for Ireland with a couple of penalties in the last 10 minutes of the game.

Ireland were able to get regain control of possession in the final minute and kick the ball out to secure their final victory of 2020.

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Andy Farrell Autumn Nations Cup Ireland Jaco Van Der Walt Johnny Sexton Peter O'Mahony Scotland