Sexton magic sees Farrell era off to a winning start

Johnny Sexton scored all the points as Ireland kicked off the 2020 Six Nations with a 19-12 victory over Scotland at the Aviva Stadium.

The Irish captain scored the game’s only try, as well as four penalties and a conversion in the seven-point win.

New head coach Andy Farrell will know that there is plenty to work on ahead of Ireland’s second game against Wales next week.

Caelan Doris made a fine start to the game with a turnover after just 90 seconds, however, his game ended a couple of minutes later as a clash of heads with Adam Hastings saw him come off the pitch and replaced by Peter O’Mahony.

Scotland took an early lead through an Adam Hastings penalty, but Ireland hit back on 10 minutes with Sexton’s try.

2020 Guinness Six Nations Championship Round 1, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 1/2/2020 Ireland vs Scotland Ireland’s Jonathan Sexton scores a try Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Gary Carr

Ireland kept things out after James Ryan won a lineout and eventually sped things up with a penalty advantage accruing.

Jordan Larmour made a dummy run and Murray’s pass to the left was collected by Sexton and he went easily into the gap to score. He added the extras to put Ireland 7-3 in front.

Hastings soon had a second penalty for a Scotland side that caused plenty of issues to Ireland’s defence throughout the first half.

Some excellent break down work by Peter O’Mahony, CJ Stander and Iain Henderson ensured that Gregor Townsend’s men were unable to cross over the line.

Sexton gave Ireland a four point advantage with a 40 metre penalty five minutes from half time, but missed from a similar distance moments later.

Despite that miss, Ireland led 10-6 at the break thanks to 10 points from their out half and captain.

Sexton made his tally 13 five minutes into the second half as Scotland were punished for several infringements from the beginning of the half.

Scotland came straight back to attack the Irish ’22, but solid Irish defence kept them at bay.

An innocuous Ali Price kick was ran back by Andrew Conway and Larmour stepped into touch after the Munster winger tried to set him away.

Ireland were nearly punished to the fullest when Stuart Hogg looked to have dotted down for Scotland, but the replay showed he had knocked on when attempting to ground the ball.

2020 Guinness Six Nations Championship Round 1, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Rd, Co. Dublin 1/2/2020 Ireland vs Scotland Scotland’s Stuart Hogg knocks the ball on at the try line Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

They had to make do with a Hastings penalty. Ireland responded immediately to go 16-9 up with 56 minutes on the clock.

Scotland began to put a bit of pressure on and Hastings got his fourth penalty of the evening when Henderson failed to roll away from a tackle.

Another Sexton penalty restored the seven point advantage on 72 minutes after Johnson took Conway out as he chased the out halves up and under.

Scotland pushed for a try that could level the game late on and almost got through when Stuart McInally made a scintillating break.

Hamish Watson carried play into the ’22, but some more heroic defending saw Ireland hold them short yet again.

Eventually, Ireland earned a turnover penalty through man of the match Stander to begin the Andy Farrell era with a victory.

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