'Same old story with us': Sexton frustrated Ireland win not settled sooner

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'Same Old Story With Us': Sexton Frustrated Ireland Win Not Settled Sooner
Ireland's Johnny Sexton poses with the Centenary Quaich after the Guinness Six Nations match at BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh. Photo: PA Images.
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By Lawrence White, Reuters

Johnny Sexton steered Ireland to a 27-24 victory over Scotland at Murrayfield on Sunday, capping off a brilliant weekend of Six Nations rugby and send his team shooting up the standings.

Despite the win, Ireland captain Sexton was frustrated the game was not settled earlier.

“It’s the same old story sometimes with us,” he said.

“We’re just letting in soft tries; tries that just aren’t acceptable at international level and it’s frustrating because I felt we dominated large parts of that game.

“We’re 14 points up and suddenly we’re drawing with a few minutes to go. But great character to stay in the moment and bounce back.”

He added: “If we can finish second after a poor start to the Six Nations, we'll be happy.”

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Tries by Robbie Henshaw and Tadhg Beirne and the unerring boot of flyhalf Sexton helped the Irish to a win that lifted them to second in the table on 11 points, albeit with no hope of winning the tournament with Wales on 19 and one game each left.

Beirne told BBC One: “It was a bit strange (to play in). We felt like we had control but Scotland just managed to keep in there and to come down to that last play was huge strength from the lads.

“I was in the stands for it so I was obviously crossing my fingers and hoping the lads could pull it off and I should never have doubted them.

“Getting a win here today was massive for us in terms of going forward.”

Better team

Scotland were at times dazzling in attack with their main creative forces Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg shining, as they ran in brilliant tries for Russell, Huw Jones and Hamish Watson but could not match Ireland's control.

Scotland skipper Hogg felt the better team won: “They were outstanding for 80 minutes there and fully deserved the win.

“The frustrating thing for us is giving them 24 points in the first place. Credit to Ireland, they took their opportunities but for the second week in a row we’ve been ill-disciplined, allowed them easy field position and kind of killed ourselves at times.

“We gave them good positions and they executed it extremely well, so fair play to them.”

Sexton piled on the penalties in the second half as Ireland survived a spirited Scotland comeback and secured the win that left the hosts stuck in fifth place in the standings on six points albeit with two games remaining.

Next moves

With drizzle sweeping across Murrayfield this was a more error-strewn affair than the showcase of attacking precision put on by England and France on Saturday, but no less intense.

Both sides profited from the game's loose nature, with the ball constantly slipping from leaping defenders' clutches and referee Roman Poite allowing a fierce, if not always legal, scrap at the breakdown.

Ireland had thrown the most passes and made the most metres in the competition going into this game, but had too often struggled to convert that attacking intent into points.

Ireland face a tough final game against a seemingly rejuvenated England on March 20th, while Scotland will look to recover their early tournament form against Italy on the same day before hoping to win their postponed game against France.

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