Scotland end recent Ireland hoodoo thanks to Hogg heroics

Stuart Hogg put in a sublime display as Scotland held off a superb second-half fightback from Ireland to start their Six Nations campaign with an enthralling 27-22 victory.

Scotland were rewarded for their outstanding defence - they made 92 first-half tackles - and sublime line speed to lead 21-8 at the break at Murrayfield.

Hogg - last year's Player of the Tournament - was the driving force with two tries, while centre Alex Dunbar of all people scored from a close-range line-out after Keith Earls had put Ireland on the board.

It looked as though Ireland, considered by many as the team best placed to challenge defending champions England, had turned the match on its head as relentless second-half pressure saw them lead through scores from Iain Henderson and Paddy Jackson - deputising for the injured Jonathan Sexton.

But with the match, which will rank as one of the best openers in recent memory, there for the taking Ireland's late ill-discipline proved costly as the flawless Greig Laidlaw nailed two late penalties to earn Scotland their first opening-round win since 2006 and ended a run of four straight defeats to Ireland.

Ireland's strength in the pack was evident early on, but Scotland clinically struck first. Pressure at the line told as Finn Russell's long pass bounced on the turf and was scooped up by Hogg and he touched down to become Scotland's highest scorer in the Six Nations.

Scotland defended stoically and had another try thanks to more brilliant play by Hogg, who sold Rob Kearney a brilliant dummy and sprinted away from Earls.

The visitors were on the board in the 25th minute when the ball was worked left for Earls to squeeze over in the corner.

However, Scotland had a third try from a clever close-range line-out. Dunbar joined the set-piece and took a short ball to catch the Ireland defence unaware to cross.

Jackson nailed a penalty before the break, though, to make it 21-8 and some relentless early second-half pressure resulted in Henderson bulldozing over from close range.

The relentless pressure continued and Jamie Heaslip was uncharacteristically wasteful with a stray pass when heading towards the line, while Sean Maitland made a superb saving tackle on Kearney who had played Earls over.

Ireland were ahead after the hour, though, as Jackson broke the line to score to the left of the post before converting his own try.

However, there was another twist when Ireland were penalised for not rolling away and Laidlaw drilled his effort through the posts.

And the scrum-half put another kick through the posts to earn a stunning win for Scotland and head coach Vern Cotter, who is overseeing his last Six Nations.

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