Ireland were at their clinical best as they beat Scotland 36-14 in Saint-Denis to top Pool B and justify their status as the world's number one side. 

It took just 62 seconds for the Irish to take charge, Garry Ringrose cutting through to feed winger James Lowe on the left touchline. Scotland did not panic but after turning down three kickable penalties and failing to score a point, the men in green showed them how to do it. Swift hands and multiple runners saw full-back Hugo Keenan claim Ireland's second try. 

Losing both captain Jamie Ritchie and full-back Blair Kinghorn to injury inside the first 20 minutes did not help Scotland's cause, but Ireland's accuracy was more of an issue. Another two visits to the 22 before half-time resulted in a further two scores sending Ireland into the break with a bonus point and a 26-0 lead - all despite Scotland having more possession and territory. 

Ireland continued where they left off in the second half, grabbing two tries in 16 minutes. Scotland scored two tries in two minutes to give the scoreline some respectability but Ireland march on to a quarter-final against three-time winners New Zealand, while Scotland head home with South Africa taking second spot in Pool B. 

Ireland scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park, who was the Mastercard Player of the Match, said: "The hard work gets done in front of me and I am just thankful to have such a great pack and such a great backline."

Captain Johnny Sexton paid tribute to the vociferous Ireland support, saying: "I thought it wouldn't get any better after South Africa a couple of weeks ago but they have proved me wrong again. They keep turning up for us and it is important that we keep turning up for them. Last week they gave us the best day of our life and we gave them something similar if you look around at some of the faces.

"We are delighted to win the pool, this is where we want to be now in a quarter-final against the toughest opposition we could get. The way the draw was made three years ago turned out a bit unfair, it is the hand that we were dealt and we have to be ready for New Zealand next week."

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell said of the upcoming quarter-final against New Zealand: "It's what dreams are made of. As far as a quarter-final is concerned, it doesn't get any tougher, the respect we have got for New Zealand is through the roof and hopefully they have got a bit of respect for us.

"We will dust ourselves off first of all and recover properly from this one. But I would say that a couple of weeks ago we got some stick for walking around and thanking our fans, when they turn out in their thousands like this, it is the least we can do."

Scotland captain Ritchie admitted his side could not compete with Ireland but said: "Really proud of how we’ve stuck together. We had a bit of hardship from the first game, proud of how we stayed in the fight today, we showed how we can score some points at the end."

Head coach Gregor Townsend was left to regret his side's inability to make the most of their opportunities in the first half, saying: "Yes, we had a bit of pressure. And Ireland held us out and credit to them – when you play the top teams, you’ve got to take your opportunities. We didn’t do that in the first quarter, and that was probably our best period in the game. And when the game was lost, we did come back into it. We’ve got to make sure we put points on the board and Ireland certainly did that tonight."