After sealing first place in the Rugby World Cup's 'Pool of Death', it seems only fitting Ireland deserve some bragging rights.
Andy Farrell's men put in a monstrous shift at the Stade de France on Saturday to walk out as 36-14 victors over Scotland. But the clash didn't come without its controversy after a massive brawl broke out at the start of the second half.
Ireland were incensed when Scottish full-back Ollie Smith – who was soon sin-binned for his actions – tripped up opposing fly-half Johnny Sexton. Leinster legend Sexton fired back before the melee erupted, and Scotland prop Pierre Schoeman sent Irish hooker Dan Sheehan backwards over an advertisement hoarding in the process.
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The usually stoic Peter O'Mahony was a part of that chaos and was again involved in a scuffle later in the match. Speaking to Virgin Media Sport after the full-time whistle, he took his chance to aim a jab at the opposition following their wind-up tactics.
“It's part and parcel of rugby,” said Munster man O'Mahony of the brawl. However, it wasn't an entirely graceful response from the centurion, who earned his 100th Ireland cap in Paris.
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He continued: “It's a physical game, and they were in the press beforehand saying they were going to knock us off our winning streak, and how they had figured us out and worked us out – and I don't think they did tonight."
Ireland fans will undoubtedly lap up that kind of talk as Ireland look to advance the strongest World Cup title bid in their history. One could forgive Gregor Townsend's Scotland showing some frustrations after trailing 26-0 at half-time in Paris, but there was a sentiment Ireland didn't appreciate some of the shenanigans seen in the second half.
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As O'Mahony put it, Farrell & Co. will have 'bigger fish to fry' when they take on New Zealand in the quarter-finals on Saturday. Ireland have won their last two meetings with the All Blacks (and five of the last seven encounters) but are hoping to end their curse of having never reached the World Cup's last four.
Cool heads will be essential to that cause as they look to make it three wins in a row against the three-time world champions. And despite being one of the calmer customers on most fields, not even O'Mahony was above one final dig at Scotland following a controversial clash.
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