Andy Farrell was full of praise for Johnny Sexton after the Ireland fly-half scored all of his side’s points in their 19-12 victory over Scotland at the Aviva Stadium.
The hosts were made to sweat for their first win of the 2020 Guinness Six Nations in Dublin, with the visitors throwing everything at them in the dying stages, but a resilient defensive effort saw them emerge victorious.
Sexton opened the scoring within ten minutes as the fly-half capitalised on a terrific team set play to touch down. The Leinster man then added a penalty before the break, while Adam Hastings kept the scoreboard ticking over for the visitors to make the score 10-6 at half-time.
All the points came from the boot in the second half, with Sexton adding three more penalties on his return from injury, with Farrell impressed with the 34-year-old’s performance.
“He’s not played for a long time, it says a lot about a guy that he is passionate about being captain of his country at the Six Nations for the first time and he goes out and puts in a performance like that. It was outstanding from him,” Farrell said.
“There’s always going to be things to work on, there’s things we are trying to implement, they’re going to take time.
“Some things were good some things were bad, decision making was up and down at times but I thought we looked quite flowing at times.
“We were under a bit of pressure in the first half on our own line quite a few times, then you culminate that with what the last five minutes said about the team, it’s there for all to see really.”
Scotland will be kicking themselves that they didn’t take anything from the game in Dublin, as they failed to break through the impenetrable Irish rear guard, despite coming agonisingly close at times.
The one time they did manage to find an opening ten minutes into the second period, the ever-reliable Stuart Hogg fumbled as he touched down in the corner, leaving head coach Gregor Townsend ruing his side’s missed opportunities.
“I was proud of the performance of the players, I thought we started the game very well. We should have put more points on the board in the first half, but it was great to see that we stayed in it in the second half,” the Scotland boss said.
“There were a couple of occasions where we were over the tryline or inches away at the end, and it could have been a different score, but to see the performance of a new team that has come together, there is a lot that we can be encouraged about.
“You have got to give credit to the Irish defence, at times they were excellent, but we will be frustrated that we didn’t take our opportunities.”