The final Six Nations weekend of 2023 is delicately poised, with a Grand Slam within touching difference for an Ireland side who overcame significant adversity to secure a massive 22-7 win at Murrayfield, coming from behind to win their fourth straight game in the tournament.
In a match played at frenetic pace right from the first whistle, Ireland were nearly gifted an opening try after Scotland hooker George Turner overthrew a quick line-out. Caelan Doris' recovery of the ball allowed Josh van der Flier to crash over, but play was brought back due to the wrong ball being used at the initial throw. Johnny Sexton notched a penalty minutes later, opening the scoring in Ireland's favour.
Thanks for the game, @IrishRugby. See you in Paris in October. #AsOne pic.twitter.com/DDR5wfkpbX— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) March 12, 2023
However, Scotland's play through the hands, as has been the case for the entire tournament, was impossible to live with, and Ireland couldn't prevent Huw Jones hitting a hole and scoring the game's first try to put the hosts back in control.
Ireland soon responded though, as Mack Hansen collected a wide pass down the right. Hulking Scot Duhan van der Merwe closed the gap and attempted to tackle Hansen into touch, but the winger somehow got the ball down to put Ireland back into a slender 8-7 lead at half-time.
Watch: James Lowe scores Ireland's second try to finish off a multi-phase move (UK)
Ireland are starting to find their groove this second half and it’s James Lowe who makes the most of it!#SCOvIRE | #GuinnessSixNations pic.twitter.com/U5AjZy0OnY— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) March 12, 2023
Suffering three first-half injuries, Ireland soon had another to worry about after Ronan Kelleher became their second hooker to go off, leaving flanker Van der Flier to throw the ball in at every line-out. From one 57th-minute set-piece, Hansen brought down a box-kick to spark an attack, which eventually saw James Lowe cross in the left-hand corner.
Super Mack (again)! 👏#TeamOfUs | #GuinnessSixNations pic.twitter.com/J73GXpNCEk— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) March 12, 2023
Back in control of the scoreline, Ireland went for the kill, and were soon over again after Jack Conan barged over in the opposite corner with Hansen yet again involved. Scotland's attacks became scrappier and more desperate as the clock ticked down, and Ireland kept them scoreless for the last 63 minutes in another controlled performance that has them within one game of a Six Nations Grand Slam.
Bright start cannot spark Scotland to victory
The first half was played at an explosively quick pace, with both sides throwing everything at each other and producing try-scoring opportunities aplenty.
Scotland's best attack clicked when Glasgow team-mates Tuipulotu and Jones combined to put the latter over for their only try, but indiscipline and rushed passes hindered their efforts for the rest of the game.
Gregor Townsend's men have scored tries at will in this tournament, but that extra level of composure is needed to help them get past the world's top sides.
Farrell's fierce Ireland one game from glory
Four games down, four wins, with this result the only match in which Ireland haven't claimed a four-try bonus point.
However, the control they exerted over Scotland, particularly in the second half, saw them wrestle the scoreline back into their favour.
The task now is simple for Andy Farrell and his team: beat England in Dublin. On St. Patrick's weekend, Ireland face the side captained by their coach's son, and a win will seal the title, with a Grand Slam and Triple Crown to boot.
Can they do it? The first four weeks of this tournament suggest that the answer is yes, but in Rugby's Greatest Championship, anything can happen.
The Sporting News followed the match live, providing live updates and commentary below.
Scotland vs Ireland full-time score
Tries: Jones; Hansen, Lowe, Conan
Conversions: Russell; Sexton (2)
Scotland vs Ireland full commentary, highlights
FT: That's all from us for this round of the Six Nations, as we look ahead to next week and Super Saturday! Scotland can still finish as high as second, while Ireland will be the team under pressure to finish what they started - win a first Grand Slam in five years!
Watch Jack Conan finish in the corner to score the game-sealing try for Ireland (UK):
Conan the Destroyer (of Scottish hopes) 💪— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) March 12, 2023
The omnipresent Mack Hansen sends Jack Conan in for another Irish try. #SCOvIRE | #GuinnessSixNations pic.twitter.com/Z1tpXXc0PR
FT: It's all over, and a second-half masterclass from Ireland sees them power to victory in Edinburgh! The Grand Slam dream continues thanks to second-half scores from Lowe and Conan in either corner, with Scotland suffocated into submission as their own hopes for the title came to a shuddering end. With one game left, Ireland have to beat England to ensure the championship, Grand Slam and Triple Crown all at once, with resilience they showed in this game suggesting that they're more than capable of completing that massive task.
A massive away W! 👊#TeamOfUs | #GuinnessSixNations pic.twitter.com/JwEctyYjN0— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) March 12, 2023
80 mins: A late penalty is won by Scotland, but their line-out is stolen and Ireland race away looking for a bonus-point try! Keenan beats two tackles and kicks ahead, but the ball is knocked on to bring this almighty test match to a close!
78 mins: Ireland win a penalty right on Scotland's line and Healy attempts a quick tap, but forgets about the tapping part and is penalised himself!
76 mins: Ireland bomb a certain try! Gibson-Park breaks down the left into open pasture, and his cut-out pass on the inside finds Ryan. The big second-rower looks to offload out of Kinghorn's tackle with Lowe in support, but his pass goes to ground and Scotland recover the ball!
75 mins: Kinghorn's wide pass is missed by Hansen attempting an interception, but Van der Merwe regathers and charges straight into Aki, who is back on following Ringrose's injury.
73 mins: After a lengthy delay to check Ringrose was safe to be moved, the Ireland centre is stretchered off the pitch, becoming the fifth Irishman to leave the field injured in this game.
73 mins: Russell and Keenan engage in a kicking battle until play has to be stopped, with Ringrose down injured having accidentally caught the elbow of Kinghorn. The stretcher cart is out, and the centre will be taken off in a horror end to his 50th cap.
70 mins: Ireland enter the Scotland 22 via 10 consecutive phases, with Hansen heavily involved and O'Mahony, Van der Flier and Robbie Henshaw, on for Aki, all making strong carries before the ball goes to ground for a Scottish scrum.
Now the joint leading all-time Six Nations points scorer alongside our own Ronan O'Gara! 🙌#TeamOfUs | #GuinnessSixNations pic.twitter.com/2vXPZGPE2Q— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) March 12, 2023
67 mins: Ritchie is found in open space out wide by Matt Fagerson, but the blindside flanker's pass to his captain is a good metre or so forward and Ireland will feed the resultant scrum.
65 mins: The hosts look to move the ball wide, trying to find an opening, but continually run out of room to play. A rushed cut-out pass is dropped by Van Der Merwe, but Scotland gain a penalty after the passer Russell is hit late by Baird.
61' | TRY! Yesssss Jack Conan! 🙌#TeamOfUs | #GuinnessSixNations— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) March 12, 2023
62 mins: TRY - Scotland 7-22 Ireland! The visitors are camped in the Scottish 22 following several strong carries, and Gibson-Park's cut-out pass finds Hansen. He fires another wide ball to Conan, who bulldozes his way over in the corner! Sexton adds two more points to the scoreline, and in the process draws level with Ronan O'Gara as the Six Nations' record points scorer!
60 mins: The ball is thrown wide and Lowe is away down the left once more. He palms off Steyn before kicking ahead for himself and Keenan, but Van Der Merwe gets back to collect the ball and is trapped right on his own line!
57 mins: TRY - Scotland 7-15 Ireland! The Grand Slam chasers are over again! Jamison Gibson-Park is on for Murray, and his box kick is brilliantly taken in the air by Hansen who offloads to Sexton. He's stopped short of the line, but the Ireland forwards power their way towards the line before it's popped wide for Lowe to finish in the corner! Sexton adds the extras to take Ireland beyond a converted try ahead, leading by eight points!
54 mins: With regular loosehead prop Cian Healy slotting in at hooker, Ireland put on a huge shove to win the scrum penalty and march up the field!
52 mins: Scotland turn the ball over again inside Ireland's half, and Tuipulotu drills a kick into touch for a line-out. With both Sheehan and Kelleher now off injured for Ireland, Van der Flier will continue throwing the ball in at the line-out.
50 mins: Hansen arrives in midfield to nearly break through the gain-line off and Irish maul, but Tuipulotu and Dempsey work together to strip the ball loose and win a scrum in Scotland's favour.
48 mins: Scotland bring the ball forward and carry well through Hogg, but Hansen gets to the ball in the ruck before Zander Fagerson can, and the winger wins the turnover penalty for Ireland!
What a Test match we have here. #SCOvIRE | #GuinnessSixNations pic.twitter.com/ZsDTWDa1R0— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) March 12, 2023
45 mins: Ringrose finds space down the right and chips over the top, trapping a recovering Russell in-goal to ensure Ireland will get possession back.
42 mins: Ireland win an early penalty in the second half and kick for the touchline, where strangely, Van der Flier is the thrower at the line-out rather than replacement hooker Ronan Kelleher!
41 mins: Russell kicks off for Scotland, and we're back up and running at Murrayfield!
"And who are you supporting today, sir?" pic.twitter.com/wN3TlTiBvS— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) March 12, 2023
HT: We're back for the second period, and it'll be particularly interesting to see how Ireland's pack fares in the next 40 minutes. Three of their starting forwards went off injured inside 20 minutes, giving them a depleted bench ahead of a second half that looks likely to be played at the same furious pace we've seen so far.
Watch: Mack Hansen defies space, time and gravity to score in the corner at Murrayfield (UK):
Quantum physicists will one day explain how Mack Hansen found the space to score this try 🔬🥼#GuinnessSixNations | #SCOvIRE pic.twitter.com/eCfN8sA54y— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) March 12, 2023
HT: What a first 40 minutes of rugby! It's been an end-to-end, non-stop thrill ride so far, with just one point separating the pair. Scotland nearly gave Ireland the cheapest of early tries from a quick-line out, but the 'new ball' rule denied the visitors! Scotland then hit back at the other end, with Huw Jones hitting a great line to score his fourth try of the tournament. Ireland had a superb score of their own to come though, with Hansen's expert finish in the corner putting them back into the lead. If the second half is as good as the first, we're in for a treat, so don't go anywhere!
It's on a knife-edge in Edinburgh! 😮💨#TeamOfUs | #GuinnessSixNations pic.twitter.com/elkCBNeTSk— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) March 12, 2023
41 mins: From the penalty line-out, Tuipulotu makes a strong carry and Scotland throw the ball wide. Hogg is trapped before offloading to Turner on the wing, but the hooker is shunted into touch before he can get it down!
40 mins: Scotland win a ruck penalty and with the clock in red, Russell looks likely to kick for the posts, but he instead aims for the touchline looking for another try late in the half!
39 mins: With half-time approaching, there's barely anything to separate these two, as successive scrums are re-set before Tuipulotu sets off on a powerful run forward.
Iconic. Unique. Special 💙🏴#AsOne pic.twitter.com/06jUocadAS— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) March 12, 2023
36 mins: Another Ireland penalty gives the visitors a line-out, but the pass from the set-piece is intercepted by Scotland hooker Turner, whose side look to play their way out of the 22 on the break.
34 mins: Two successive offloads from Conan and Aki allow Lowe to race into the clear, and he finds Ringrose who is quickly wrapped up. Ireland use the momentum to keep powering forward, and Ryan is stopped short before Hogg is penalised for hands in the ruck!
32 mins: What a piece of defending from Ireland! Off a line-out, Russell wraps around the back and puts Van Der Merwe galloping into open space. He looks certain to score, but Keenan stops him in his tracks with a try-saving tackle, and helps Ireland win a ruck penalty which will see possession change hands!
30 mins: Forward come Scotland with Dempsey and Tuipulotu helping them march up the field, and Russell's pinpoint grubber bounces into touch within five metres of the Ireland line.
27' | TRY! What a finish by Mack in the corner! 💪#TeamOfUs | #GuinnessSixNations— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) March 12, 2023
28 mins: TRY GIVEN!!! Scotland 7-8 Ireland! Hansen gets that ball down before being clattered over the sideline, and the Irish winger's unbelievable finish puts his side back into the lead! Sexton's touchline conversion sways wide of there sticks, and we've got a one-point ball-game in Edinburgh!
28 mins: It's either a great try, or an unbelievable tackle! Ireland shift the ball right from a scrum and Sexton lobs the ball wide to Hansen. He darts for the line but is smashed into touch by Van Der Merwe as he gets there! We're going upstairs for this one, and the TMO has a big call to make!
Huw else?#AsOne | #ScovIre pic.twitter.com/c5pkqvSlha— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) March 12, 2023
25 mins: Ireland come forward with Ringrose and Keenan both making good metres down the left, and Sexton's grubber through is put dead by Van der Merwe, with Lowe breathing down his neck!
24 mins: A passage through the hands from Scotland sees the ball goes to ground, and it's stabbed ahead by Sexton with Ringrose chasing hard! Steyn gets back in cover, and with Scotland under pressure, White clears the ball into touch to allow his side to regroup!
22 mins: Scotland quickly move the ball wide but Russell is trapped before he can release his pass. His offload finds Hogg, but he has to stretched to reach the ball and is immediately smashed in the ribcage by Lowe!
20 mins: Ireland look to respond with their own succession of attacking phases with ball in hand, but Scotland are able to brilliantly turn it over before winning a ruck penalty seconds later!
18' | HUW 🔥— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) March 12, 2023
🏴 5 - 3 🇮🇪#AsOne | #SCOvIRE pic.twitter.com/tJiDXAni0S
17 mins: TRY - Scotland 7-3 Ireland! The hosts strike first! Russell double-pumps before finding Van Der Merwe with an offload, who edges closer to the Ireland line. Scotland's ball retention is superb and play comes back to the right, and Tuipulotu hits Jones with a short pass for the centre to crash over! Russell adds the two, and Scotland hit the front!
15 mins: Scotland build towards the Ireland line, playing 17 successive phases with ball in hand. Dempsey, Steyn and Hogg all make big carries in the 22, but the latter is bundled into touch and the visitors will get the throw at the line-out!
12 mins: PENALTY - Scotland 0-3 Ireland! Sexton chooses to kick for points after that attacking spell came to nothing, and the fly-half knocks the first three of the games between the sticks to give Ireland an early lead.
11 mins: Ireland power their way forward from the line-out and barrage the Scotland line with a succession of huge carries. Ringrose is a metre short before possession is recycled, and with penalty advantage, Hansen attempts to finish in the corner, but his offload inside is taken by Scotland and play cokes back for the penalty.
9 mins: Another Sexton kick into Scottish territory bounces unkindly for Hogg, but he's able to get hold of possession before being dumped into touch right on his own line by Lowe!
8 mins: Sexton's bomb kick is caught in the wind and swirls all over the place, but Scotland wing Steyn does well to take it on the full and calls the mark inside his own 22!
6 mins: Ireland think they've scored the opener, but a technicality in the rules denies them! A quick line-out is thrown long inside the Scottish 22 and Doris acrobatically brings the ball down, with Van der Flier crashing over from the next phase! It looks a certain try, but because a new ball was used to take that quick throw rather than the one which was kicked out of play, the line-out was illegal and the score won't count!
4 mins: Scotland look to find gaps in Ireland's defensive line and make good metres through Steyn and Jones, but Russell's kick into the 22 is returned into touch by Keenan for Ireland.
A reminder of the #SCOvIRE starters. pic.twitter.com/OJ8jVpTCTZ— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) March 12, 2023
1 min: Price's clearing box-kick is juggled nervously by Keenan, who recovers the ball before being smashed by Van der Merwe!
Kick-Off: Sexton will kick us off at Murrayfield, and his punt down-field gets this mouth-watering match underway!
Almost time ⌛️#AsOne pic.twitter.com/H5LFWlc0ah— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) March 12, 2023
5 mins from kick-off: 100th cap-winning centurion Hogg leads his side out onto the pitch, and the teams line up for the pre-match anthems ahead of kick-off!
10 mins from kick-off: Murrayfield's filling up nicely as we await the arrival of teams on the pitch, with the Scotland faithful dreaming of a tournament-defining victory over the world number ones!
Ready for Round 4! 🏴#TeamOfUs | #GuinnessSixNations pic.twitter.com/7kdm0mgFNY— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) March 12, 2023
15 mins from kick-off: Ireland have several returnees to their side ahead of this must-win match, with Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton restored to the starting XV, and Garry Ringrose and Tadhg Furlong back from injury, the latter making his first appearance of the tournament.
30 mins from kick-off: Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg wins his 100th cap for the side, and as their record scorer of all-time, will be hoping to make his centenary game a memorable one. Jonny Gray packs down alongside his brother Richie in the second-row, replacing Grand Gilchrist, who is suspended following his red card against France.
🔥 Scintillating rugby from #SCOvIRE 🔥#GuinnessSixNations pic.twitter.com/dxerxSrloj— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) March 12, 2023
45 mins from kick-off: Points have also flowed for Scotland so far in the tournament, achieving four-try bonus points in their wins over England and Wales. They crossed three times to mount a second-half comeback against France, but were eventually defeated 32-21 in Saint-Denis.
60 mins from kick-off: Ireland's quest to secure their first title, and Grand Slam, since 2018, has gone ahead without a hitch so far. Andy Farrell's side have scored 13 tries in their three games so far, conceding just four, and have claimed maximum points in the table to come into this game as clear favourites.
Calm before the storm! 🟢#TeamOfUs | #GuinnessSixNations pic.twitter.com/JFs98N79MA— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) March 12, 2023
75 mins from kick-off: France's record-breaking win over England yesterday has lifted them above Gregor Townsend's side to second in the Six Nations table, raising Scotland's stakes even higher as they look to pull off a victory against the world's number one side. Ireland have won their first three games at a canter, being pushed closest by Italy last time out.
90 mins from kick-off: Welcome to live coverage of this Six Nations match at Murrayfield, which pits two sides against each other who are firmly in title contention. It's Scotland against Ireland, who have a Grand Slam in their sights, and we're ready for an absolute cracker in Edinburgh!
🏴 Hunting the Triple Crown.— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) March 12, 2023
☘️ Playing for a perfect record.
🤔 Who will get what they're after? #AwakenAnticipation | #SCOvIRE pic.twitter.com/rwDjBpnr3m
MORE: What we know so far about Netflix's Six Nations series
Scotland vs Ireland confirmed lineups
Scotland's free-flowing backline remains unchanged for the fourth straight game in this year's Six Nations, with Huw Jones their form player at the moment. The Glasgow centre is the tournament's top scorer with three tries, and his combination with club teammate Sione Tuipulotu in midfield could unlock an Irish defence that has been near-unbreachable. Behind them is full-back Stuart Hogg, who will win his 100th Scotland cap in this game.
An extraordinary achievement for an extraordinary player 🏴#AwakenAnticipation | #SCOvIRE pic.twitter.com/qDMhyDP8Hj— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) March 10, 2023
In the pack, Gilchrist's suspension following his red card against France sees Jonny Gray pack down at lock, joining his elder brother Richie in the second-row. Hamish Watson was the victim of Haouas' red card-worthy tackle, leaving the field after 10 minutes in Saint-Denis, and is replaced in the XV by Jack Dempsey. He'll start at number eight, displacing Matt Fagerson, who joins the blindside flank and pushes captain Jamie Ritchie to openside.
Scotland starting XV: Stuart Hogg, Kyle Steyn, Huw Jones, Sione Tuipulotu, Duhan van der Merwe, Finn Russell, Ben White; Pierre Schoeman, George Turner, Zander Fagerson, Richie Gray, Jonny Gray, Matt Fagerson, Jamie Ritchie, Jack Dempsey
Scotland replacements: Fraser Brown, Jamie Bhatti, Simon Berghan, Scott Cummings, Hamish Watson, Ali Price, Blair Kinghorn, Chris Harris
Your Scotland team to take on Ireland this Sunday 🏴— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) March 10, 2023
More ➡️ https://t.co/m44hUJW9jb pic.twitter.com/kKiBdXB8h1
The major returnee for Ireland is tighthead prop Tadhg Furlong, who missed the first three games of the tournament with a shoulder injury. He's put straight back into the starting side in jersey number three, while Dan Sheehan and Peter O'Mahony also return to the XV in place of Ronan Kelleher and Jack Conan.
Deputy half-backs Craig Casey and Ross Byrne impressed against Italy, but veterans Conor Murray and captain Johnny Sexton wear nine and 10 for this must-win match. They're joined in the backline by Garry Ringrose at outside centre, who is back earlier than expected from an injury picked up against France to win his 50th cap. Jamison Gibson-Park and Robbie Henshaw make the bench, with both in line to make their first appearances of the tournament after respective lay-offs.
Ireland's talisman has a massive record in his sights 🎯#AwakenAnticipation | #SCOvIRE pic.twitter.com/lHRyXBtslz— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) March 10, 2023
Ireland starting XV: Hugo Keenan, Mack Hansen, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, James Lowe, Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray; Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan, Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson, James Ryan, Peter O'Mahony, Josh van der Flier, Caelan Doris
Ireland replacements: Ronan Kelleher, Cian Healy, Tom O'Toole, Ryan Baird, Jack Conan, Jamison Gibson-Park, Ross Byrne, Robbie Henshaw
The men in green chasing the Grand Slam dream ☘️#AwakenAnticipation | #SCOvIRE pic.twitter.com/0E39T4laa1— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) March 10, 2023
Scotland vs Ireland live stream, TV channel
Here's how to watch the match in some of the major territories:
|USA||—||fuboTV, Peacock, CNBC|
|UK||ITV One||ITV X|
|New Zealand||—||Sky Sport NOW|
|India||—||Premier Sports Asia|
|Hong Kong||—||Premier Sports Asia|
|Malaysia||—||Premier Sports Asia|
|Singapore||—||Premier Sports Asia|
USA: All games are streaming live on Peacock and will also be available through fuboTV. However, they will also be repeated on CNBC on delay, usually by a couple of hours.
Canada: All games are streaming live on DAZN.
UK: Matches will be shown on BBC and ITV, with S4C also broadcasting in Wales. Today's match is on ITV.
Australia: Six Nations coverage is provided by Stan Sport.
India: Premier Sports Asia is the main place to watch the Six Nations.
Scotland vs Ireland odds
Despite Scotland's strong form shown in the tournament so far, it's no surprise that the world's No.1-side are odds-on favourites to pick up a fourth straight win at Murrayfield. All of our partner bookmakers back Ireland in Edinburgh.
MORE: Ireland hold off Italian comeback to secure bonus point in Rome