Ireland end on high as Scotland extend losing streak in Nations Cup

Ireland wing Keith Earls is congratulated by teammates after scoring a try during the Autumn Nations Cup. Photo by BRIAN LAWLESS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Ireland coach Andy Farrell ended an inconsistent first year in charge with an improved 31-16 victory over Scotland on Saturday in the Autumn Nations Cup, following a scrappy home win over Scotland in February.

Ireland's recent set-piece and breakdown struggles persisted early on as Jaco van der Walt kicked Scotland into a deserved 9-3 lead in an assured debut, but a Duncan Taylor yellow card on the half-hour mark changed the game as the hosts took control.

Two tries from wing Keith Earls and one for prop Cian Healy in a 10-minute spell either side of half time put Ireland into a commanding 25-9 lead, but they almost immediately switched off and were punished by a converted Duhan van der Merwe try.

That was as close as Scotland came despite Johnny Sexton hobbling off with a dead leg as his replacement Ross Byrne kicked two more penalties to claim third spot in the Autumn Cup and extend the Scots losing streak in Dublin to 10 years.