Ireland will enjoy the fruits of a hard-fought win but they won't brush over the shortcomings that almost allowed Scotland to sneak a share of the spoils.

Comfortable in a 24-10 lead after 55 minutes, the visitors conceded 14 unanswered points and required a late Johnny Sexton penalty to save the day.

"With ten minutes to go I didn’t see the game unfolding like that," said the captain, who finished up with 17 points.

"International rugby throws things at you that you don’t expect at times. 

"When we’re 14 points up and we concede that try it just changes the game again and we need to be better there. 

Ryan an injury concern ahead of England finale

"We had a kick-off receive that we didn’t deal well with, we had a lineout that we didn’t deal well with and then we missed a tackle that we should have done better so, as good a team as Scotland are, we have to look at ourselves, first and foremost and need to improve. 

"If you have a 14-point lead in international rugby, the next moment is the most important one and you can put a statement down.

"Top teams, I think, take the kick-off and clear their lines and then they put pressure on again. We're just short of that at the moment." 

Hamish Watson stretches over for Scotland's third try

And why’s that? 

"You’d have to ask everyone in the team," said the 35-year-old after the 27-24 win, which sees Ireland move into second place in the Guinness Six Nations table. 

"We obviously rely on each other but it’s asking each other at that moment, what was your thoughts, what was your process, why did you make the mistake? We need to figure out all these things together. 

"Sometimes it can just be an error. 

"We've talked about keeping each other in the moment more by communicating better and by talking... realising that moment in front of you is the most important, not getting lost in the past. 

"I thought when we got that [penalty to go 14 up] we just lost concentration for a few moments." 

While Ireland switched off to allow Gregor Townsend's side back in the game, the 2018 champions were able to come up with a play and a chance to clinch the game.

Scotland failed to clear the ball at a ruck and the pack pounced, providing Sexton with a shot from the sideline. 

"It was brilliant by Ryan Baird to get the charge down," added the Leinster out-half.

"He’s so explosive for the first couple of steps and then to make the tackle that he does. Iain Henderson [on the poach] was outstanding as well.

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"Obviously then you have to kick it. I kicked pretty well all game; it wasn’t my best of the day.

"My best of the day probably hit the post but it was enough. I was trying to keep it a little bit lower.

"It was quite blustery in the stadium and it was a good enough strike to get over and thankfully we get the four points, which is very important and we’re up to second now and a big end to the tournament next week." 

Follow Ireland v England (kick-off 4.45pm, Saturday) via our live blog on and the RTÉ News app or listen live on RTÉ Radio 1's Saturday Sport. Highlights on Against the Head on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player, 8pm Monday.