Two minutes later Ireland scored their first try and took a lead they were not to lose.
But Scotland, who have been revitalized nearly beyond recognition in recent years, had the world No. 2 side on the back foot for much of the first half, especially when their exciting backs got on the ball and unleashed their renowned passing game.
"I believe that the way we play will put pressure on any team, whether we're playing at home or away".
'I thought we won those battles and our contact work against a very good defence, who will look to hold you up in the tackle, rip the ball or compete for the ball, was outstanding.
"They're obviously disappointed, the effort the players put into the first-half was outstanding, how they implemented the game plan we worked on all week and put Ireland under pressure", he said. 'He's sore, very sore, ' said Townsend.
Scotland had shown so many positive attributes in the first half, despite a awful mix-up between their wings Tommy Seymour and Sean Maitland that gifted the first try to Conor Murray. Head coach Schmidt later downplayed the extent of Sexton's injury as he said: "Johnny failed an HIA, he just banged his head in the build-up to our second try, he just fell pretty heavily".
The hosts also had to deal with injury set backs of their own as Stuart Hogg was forced off early. In the couple of minutes leading up to the break, there was a period of play that saw Scotland go through 25 phases deep inside Irish territory without scoring a single point.
After the substitution, Sam Johnson reduced the deficit to just two points but Keith Earls' second-half try sealed the win for the visitors.
Ireland's game management was made easier by Scotland committing 15 handling errors, more than twice as many as the Irish. Scottish hooker Stuart McInally denied his team was demoralized to still go in behind, but admitted they were "knackered" in the second half. It's frustrating as you love going up against the best teams in the world, and we get close, but come up just short. "If we're going to progress as a country we're going to have to start winning these games".
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