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Ireland turn pressure on France after winning Six Nations Triple Crown

Ireland won the Triple Crown for the first time since 2018, beating Scotland 26-5 in their final Six Nations match at Lansdowne Road on Saturday.

The Irish could still win the title if Grand Slam-chasing France fail to beat England later on Saturday in Paris.

For Ireland it is the first piece of silverware they have lifted at home since winning the Triple Crown in 2004 — France achieved the Grand Slam that year.

Tries by man-of-the-match Dan Sheehan, Cian Healy, Josh van der Flier — who as a 10-year-old boy was at Lansdowne Road the day they lifted the 2004 Triple Crown — and Conor Murray also secured them a bonus-point win.

“The Triple Crown is something huge, especially for the Irish people, something we haven’t had for a long time and it’s great to have it back,” said Sheehan.

“To get to where we’ve gotten is important and hopefully there’s something special to come.”

Scotland, despite all problems prior to the match with players breaking curfew, got off to a terrific start.

Pierre Schoeman made a brilliant break but they messed up a lineout inside the Irish 22 and the hosts were able to clear their lines.

Ireland hit back as Jamison Gibson-Park gave them some much needed vim with a superb solo break, but his chip ahead was gathered by Stuart Hogg over the tryline and he cleared.

Johnny Sexton then found his range with his boot sending a beautiful kick into touch yards from the Scottish tryline —however again they failed to come away with points.

Irish pressure eventually produced a result as hooker Sheehan bulldozed his way over for his second try for his country— Sexton converted for 7-0 with 19 minutes gone.

Scotland’s schoolboy errors

The Scots gave as good as they got in creating threatening positions but came up short with schoolboy errors.

Scrum-half Ali Price’s knock-on at the base of the scrum had Gregor Townsend showing his irritation by slapping the wall of his coaching booth in the 24th minute.

His Ireland counterpart Andy Farrell was up on his feet celebrating four minutes later as veteran prop Healy went over for his 10th try in his 116th Test.

The Scots were not bowed and hit back after a sloppy piece of play by Ireland.

South Africa-born prop Schoeman set Irish hearts a fluttering with five minutes of the first half remaining as he just managed to touch down on the line.

Blair Kinghorn failed to land the conversion to leave the visitors trailing 14-5.

Sexton had an opportunity to extend the lead with a minute to go to the break but instead he opted to kick for the corner than take the three points.

It came to nothing as the Scots turned the ball over.

The Scots should have had a second try in the 49th minute but Hogg, instead of passing inside to Sam Johnson, went for the corner and was brilliantly tackled into touch by Hugo Keenan.

Another potentially pivotal decision was taken at the same time as Wayne Barnes ruled that Schoeman did not merit a yellow or red card for a collision which sent Iain Henderson flying.

Sexton argued with Barnes—in his 99th Test—but it was in vain, with the referee dismissing him: “I have made my decision Johnny.”

The Scotland defence impressed as they twice denied the Irish when they were metres from their line.

Finally the hosts rammed home their superiority as van der Flier ran in from several metres out for his fifth try in his past nine Tests.

Sexton converted for 21-5 as the game hit the hour mark.

As the Fields of Athenry rang out with two minutes remaining Murray went over, prompting Sexton to do a jig of delight.

All heads then turned to Paris with perhaps a greater prize to be secured later.

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