Ireland's Kearney set for 6 Nations return

Ireland players walk off the field after last weekend's comprehensive defeat by England

Ireland's front row remains unchanged from the defeat to England, with captain Rory Best starting alongside Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong.

Scotland - Try: Sam Johnson.

Sam Johnson scored his first worldwide try in a breathless first half and Laidlaw kicked eight points, but Ireland showed their experience to grind Scotland down after the break.

Sexton was forced to admit defeat in his battle to stay in the game, trotting off with a bloodied nose and facial injury.

7 minutes - Laidlaw converts an early penalty after a positive start from the hosts (3-0).

Sexton's understudy Carbery so almost fluffed his lines when throwing an intercept pass to Finn Russell, who raced on and popped off the ground for Johnson to score. Grieg Laidlaw converted and Scotland trailed 12-10 with more than 10 minutes to halftime.

Stockdale has made a habit of picking off wide passes for interception tries, but admitted he can ill afford to take any risks given Scotland fly-half Finn Russell's playmaking talents.

The helter-skelter half thrilled the sell-out crowd in the sun, but it also appeared to tire both teams as play meandered in the second half between the 22s. Allan Dell, 2. Stuart McInally, 3. Keith Earls, 13. Chris Farrell, 12.

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"He's definitely the kind of player that if he sees you going for it, he'll let you think you're going to have it, and then he'll put the ball past you, or in behind you". Carbery's conversion ensured that Ireland extended their lead to nine points. "That's probably a fair comment, we agree", said the skipper.

Scotland is next at France in two weeks.

Conversely, Scotland kicked off their 2019 campaign with a 33-20 triumph over Italy in Edinburgh.

Scotland's Blair Kinghorn is challenged by Ireland's Rob Kearney and Chris Farell during the the Six Nations rugby union global match between Scotland and Ireland at Murrayfield, Edinburgh, Scotland, Saturday Feb. 9, 2019.

Bundee Aki joins Farrell in the centre while Johnny Sexton and Conor Murry start as half-backs.

However, a superb burst from inside his own-half created Ireland's third try, veteran Keith Earls touching down, which he converted and he added a well taken penalty later in the second-half to give the Irish some breathing space.

Townsend was, however, impressed with the pressure his players applied on Six Nations champions Ireland, restricting the visitors' influence with the boot, usually such an important part of their play.

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