Sexton savours Irish Six Nations title win


Back came Ireland right on halftime.

Gregor Townsend will have been bitterly disappointed with the skill-set of some of his higher-profile backs in particular when they had some golden 2-v-1 opportunities.

Scotland upended England last time out but that was at Murrayfield.

"Then we just breathed a sigh of relief, and at this level if you breathe a sigh of relief and go "this feels comfortable, this feels good, we're in control", bang, just like that, you lose control again".

Ireland had earlier thrashed Scotland in a four-try 28-8 victory in Dublin.

When the first kickable penalty of the match was awarded, instead of taking the three points on offer, Johnny Sexton made a decision to kick to the corner but unfortunately Rory Best's throw didn't connect with his target and Scotland lifted the pressure without conceding any points.

"I'm anxious about the breakdown; we've got to sort it out and find ways of getting quicker ball", said Jones.

Sexton's conversion opened up a 7-3 lead after 24 minutes but Scotland should have been back in front soon after when Huw Jones fluffed his lines by misplacing a pass to Stuart Hogg with the full-back virtually guaranteed to touch down if the delivery was better. That try was against the run of play but, strangely, it didn't really settle us.

"We didn't help ourselves in terms of the way we carried the ball".

In the lead up to the match on Saturday, there was a lot of nay-sayers saying nay, that Scotland definitely had a chance to come out on top. It's a little bit surreal. There is so much still to play for. It took only six minutes for try number three to arrive.

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"Credit to the management team to have prepared us so well for each match with so many players missing", said Sexton.

We have serious strength in depth when you think that we have already lost Robbie Henshaw and Chris Farrell in the centre but can bring in a player of his quality.

Maxime Machenaud converted four penalties and replacement flyhalf Lionel Beauxis added another for the French, who were awarded a penalty try to break a 9-9 deadlock in the 49th minute.

And putting a blot on Ireland's copybook is not on George's mind.

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England now just have a week to regroup before trying to stop, in Woodward's words, a "rampant Ireland", crowned Six Nations champions on Saturday, completing a Grand Slam at Twickenham on March 17.

"It is a very unusual feeling to win the championship with a game to go", said Sexton. "We haven't shown what we can do in the last couple of weeks so we want to play the way we know we can".

"It's a tough period for us at the moment".

"We will be more focused on showing pride". We also have depth now off the bench.

"We're going to have to save the best for last, and that's what it's going to take to win everything next week", said Best.

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