(CNN)After a bruising and unexpected defeat to England in Dublin last week, Ireland belatedly got the defense of its Six Nations title underway with a hard fought 22-13 win over Scotland at Murrayfield.
Notoriously slow starters in recent years, Ireland had to cope with the loss of talismanic fly-half Johnny Sexton through a first half head injury in Edinburgh.
But the pre-tournament favorites displayed plenty of the impressive form and toughness that has seen them rise to No. 2 in the rugby world rankings as they eventually got the better of the hosts.
The reliable boot of Greig Laidlaw gave Scotland an early lead in blustery conditions, although the advantage was not to last long.
Conor Murray was the beneficiary of confusion in the Scottish defense as he scored the first try of the game, crossing the whitewash after Sean Maitland was unable to get hold of Tommy Seymour's pass.