No Grand Slam, no Triple Crown – it was mission too far for England in Dublin. Eddie Jones first defeat as manager of England.
England have to share the record of 18 consecutive victories with New Zealand. Yes, there was a lot on the line in Dublin and this time England could not pull it out of the fire with their strong substitutes bench, ultimately going down 13-9.
They had of course already won the Six Nations Championship but that will be scant consolation to them.
Record runs have to end somewhere, but England will know they could and should have played much better.
Something of a bad day at the office. On St Patrick’s Day, the Irish players and the crowd were up for it.
Backs against the wall with Conor Murray, Jamie Heaslip and Rob Kearney all out injured, you would never have known that it was the men in green with the eleventh hour changes.
A magnificent effort from Ireland. They were supreme. Johnny Sexton took tackle after tackle from big English forwards including hits which were on the edge of lateness.
Sean O’Brien and Iain Henderson were excellent, so were Tadhg Furlong and Peter O’Mahony. All Ireland in the first half as they dominated possession.
A difficult day for flowing rugby – greasy condition which saw both sides making mistakes. Constant errors disrupted England.
An early exchange of penalties was the prelude to an Irish try, with Henderson forcing his way over from close in. England’s poorest 40 minutes this Six Nations.
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Half time ended 10-3.
Lots of effort in the second period, England improved but not by enough. England won the penalty kicking 2-1 but they never ultimately deserved to overcome. They had ridden their luck in the Six Nations against the likes of Wales and France but the Irish had no intention of letting them off the hook.
The conditions fell into the Irish lap, making it a forward dominated encounter. No flowing, handling rugby here.
Jonathan Joseph, England’s hat-trick hero against Scotland, never got a sniff. Jones lamented: “We struggled in the line-out, struggled at the breakdown. That makes it hard to win.”
Ireland beat the All Blacks in Chicago and now they have overturned England.
Both terrific achievements.
From here, we must begin to think towards the Lions in New Zealand this summer – it will be a difficult selection process.
There are enough talented players in England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland to surely ensure it will be anything but a foregone conclusion.
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