Ireland had a very up and down tournament with big wins and disappointing losses so let’s look back at it.
Scotland 27-22 Ireland
To say the tournament got off to a bad start would be an understatement. Joe Schmidt’s men, who were picked to be the champions, never turned up against the Scots. It was the first half that killed Ireland, with Stuart Hogg getting a double in tries. Iain Henderson and Paddy Jackson tried to mount a comeback but 2 late penalties from Greg Laidlow got them the victory.
Italy 10-63 Ireland
Then, when you talk about big wins, here’s a great example. Ireland rampaged through Italy on this day with CJ Stander and Craig Gilroy both grabbing hat-tricks. Stander and Keith Earls both crossed twice in the first half and Paddy Jackson got a 100% conversion rate. Italy brought back ten points with a converted penalty-try and a penalty, but to no avail. Stander completed his hat-trick in the second half, before being replaced by Gilroy, who also got three tries. Gary Ringose also got one to seal up the score.
Ireland 19-9 France
In Ireland’s first home game they continued their winning ways. France were 6-0 up and had a try disallowed, but Conor Murray got them into the lead just before the break with a converted try. Into the second half Ireland went nine points further ahead, thanks to Johnny Sexton’s penalties. France pulled 3 back from Camille Lopez with a third penalty, but straight after Paddy Jackson restored the lead to nine after yet another penalty.
Wales 22-9 Ireland
After two wins on the bounce, Wales put a stop to that with a commanding win over the boys in green. Ireland opened the scoring with a Johnny Sexton penalty. Wales hit back with last years top try scorer George North getting over the line while Sexton was in the sin-bin for a HIA. Paddy Jackson got Ireland back in front with a penalty while Sexton was still in the bin. It was short lived as Halfpenny got a penalty just before the end of the half so they went into the break leading. North got his second try just after the half with Halfpenny converting. Sexton cut the deficit by 3 with another penalty but it was to no avail, as Jamie Roberts put one under the post in the last 3 minutes to wrap it up with Halfpenny converting again.
Ireland 13-9 England
England had the 6 nations wrapped up but there was a lot more riding on this like the winning record of 18 wins in tier one rugby and the Grand Slam. Ireland started well, with Sexton kicking them three points ahead early on. Then, around 25 minutes, in Iain Henderson got over the line with a conversion from Sexton, but thanks to a penalty put over by Owen Farrell, it was 10-3 going into the break. Farrell cut the lead to 6 points with another penalty. Sexton relieved mounting pressure on Ireland with another penalty to make it 13-6. Farrell kicked over again but it turned out to only be consolation, as England were left with a sour taste in their mouth lifting the 6 Nations.