Despite leading 10-0 after the first quarter thanks to Jack Stafford’s debut try, Ireland were torn asunder by Scotland’s brilliant attacking play, which led to five tries and a bonus-point win.
Ireland face New Zealand in their final pool game as they search for their first win of the competition, and their captain Paul Boyle thinks they can still rescue something from their campaign.
“The loss at the end was devastating,” said Boyle.
“We have to go and regroup, but we believe we can (beat New Zealand).”
Scotland needed a bonus-point win to have any hopes of making the semis, but despite their early efforts the Scots couldn’t register a score and it wasn’t until the 18th minute that Conor Dean chipped over a close range penalty to give Ireland the lead.
Ireland then got the reward their patient play deserved when Stafford’s quick-tap penalty saw the Shannon scrum-half barge through three tacklers to touch down
Ireland looked in total control at that stage but it was Scotland who finished the half strongly.
Firstly a great break by Blair Kinghorn was only stopped by Stafford’s ankle tap, but in the 29th-minute the Scots ran in a contender for try of the tournament when they broke from their own 22, before Ross McCann dived over for the score which Connor Eastgate converted.
The pressure was on Peter Malone’s side after that and after the concession of a couple of penalties in sight of their line, Fraser Renwick scored off the back of a rolling maul for a 12-10 half-time lead.
After an early exchange of penalties the second-half sprung to life when Scotland ran in their third try. Another scything break from Kinghorn was halted just short of the line, but Darcy Graham finished off the score on the left for a 22-13 lead.
By the 58th-minute, Ireland were back in the hunt though when Kelly charged through a break in the defensive line and Alan Tynan converted to trim the lead to two points. But the bonus-point try arrived 18 minutes from time when Eastgate made the most of Callum Hunter-Hill’s linebreak to score, while Robbie Nairn completed the scoring.
R McCann, F Renwick, D Graham, C Eastgate, R Nairn tries; C Eastgate 2 cons, pen.
J Stafford, J Kelly (2) tries; C Dean 2 pens, con; A Tynan con, pen.
A Tynan (Young Munster/Munster); J Kelly (Dublin University/Leinster), G Mullin (UCD/Leinster), C Frawley (UCD/Leinster), C Nash (Young Munster/Munster); C Dean (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), J Stafford (Shannon/Munster); J Duggan (Naas/Leinster), R Kelleher (UCD/Leinster), C Connolly (Dublin University/Leinster); F Wycherley (Young Munster/Munster), O Dowling (Lansdowne/Leinster); S Masterson (Corinthians/Connacht), P Boyle (Lansdowne/Leinster) (c), C Doris (St. Mary’s College/Leinster).
P Cooper (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) for Connolly (38), G Coombes (Young Munster/Munster) for Masterson (h-t), M Silvester (Dublin University/Leinster) for Nash (55), A Curtis (Queen’s University/Ulster) for Dean (55), A Moloney (Shannon/Munster) for Duggan (63), G McGrath (Lansdowne/Leinster) for Kelleher (63), PJ Regan (UCD/Leinster) for Dowling (63), J Stewart (Queen’s University/Ulster) for Stafford (65), C Dean for Curtis (70 HIA), O Dowling for Wycherley (77 HIA).
B Kinghorn (J Henderson 43-49 HIA); R Nairn, R McCann, S McDowall, D Graham; C Eastgate, A Simmers (C Shiel 45); G Thornton (R Dunbar 78), F Renwick (R Smith 77), A Nicol (F Bradbury 65), A Craig (H Bain 65), C Hunter-Hill (c); B Flockhart (T Dodd 23), L Crosbie, M Fagerson.
Dan Jones (Wales).