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O'Gara inspires Ireland to Murrayfield win over Scots

Irish flyhalf Ronan O'Gara displays his man of the match medal after Ireland won at Murrayfield.
Irish flyhalf Ronan O'Gara displays his man of the match medal after Ireland won at Murrayfield.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ireland beat Scotland 21-18 in the Six Nations rugby union at Murrayfield
  • Recalled Ronan O'Gara scores 11 points including second half try
  • Scotland suffer third straight defeat in battle to avoid wooden spoon
  • England lead championship after beating France at Twickenham

Ireland kept alive their Six Nations championship hopes with a narrow 21-18 win over Scotland at Murrayfield Sunday.

It leaves them with two wins against one defeat but they owed victory to veteran fly-half Ronan O'Gara, who scored 11 points with a try and three conversions.

Recalled to the starting XV to claim his 106th cap, the 33-year-old Munster star inspired the Irish, who also scored first half tries through Jamie Heaslip and Eoin Reddan.

Scotland kept in the game thanks to the boot of Chris Paterson, who kicked five penalties and a Dan Parks drop goal, but they have now suffered three defeats and are battling Italy for the wooden spoon.

On Saturday, England beat France 17-8 to stay on course for the grand slam with three straight wins and six points, while Wales edged Italy 24-16 in Rome.

It was very tight, but that has been our tournament so far with just one score difference in all three matches
--Ronan O'Gara
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The win seed Ireland join France and Wales on four points, while Scotland are now staring down the barrel of a likely wooden spoon showdown with Italy having lost three in a row.

First half tries from Heaslip and Reddan, both converted by O'Gara, always kept their noses in front, despite Paterson's usual metronomic kicking.

When O'Gara went over under the posts for his try, which he converted, the visitors led 21-9, but two more penalties from Paterson after the drop goal from Parks set up a nervy finish as Andy Robinson's men scented a late comeback.

But the Irish withstood a late onslaught and O'Gara was delighted.

"It was very tight, but that has been our tournament so far with just one score difference in all three matches," he told AFP.

Ireland next face Wales in Cardiff in two weeks time before entertaining England in Dublin in a match which could decide the championship and the grand slam.