Having claimed a dominant victory against an Ireland who have beaten every other top national rugby team in the past year and a half, Eddie Jones’s England side look unstoppable. Will they take the Six Nations Championship Trophy back to Twickenham?
Six Nations Clash: Ireland 20 – 32 England
Spending most of the rugby game on the front foot, tactical mastermind Jones orchestrated one of the most exciting shut-downs in recent years. Ireland were still looking strong and powerful throughout, and never let their nullified attacks slow their pace, but were struggling to get past an aggressive England defensive line at the Aviva Stadium.
Owen Farrell took the honours of opening the game, and the Six Nations, and within moments England had broken through their host’s defence and Jonny May placed the ball on the try line at the edge of the pitch. This was England’s first try in Dublin since 2011, signifying a change in early direction to the previous two meetings between the nations which both saw Irish victories.
Ireland took three points back with a Johnny Sexton penalty. They then took the lead at twenty-four minutes with a converted try from Cian Healy and another Sexton kick. England seemed frustrated by this loss of the lead and followed up with another ten points before half time.
Elliot Daly set up the try with a quick kick, chased down by Ireland’s Stockdale but fumbled and quickly reclaimed by Nowell. Daly finished off the move he started, diving for the ball in the try zone at the thirty-minute mark.
It took fifteen minutes in the second half for the Irish to start trying to reclaim lost ground on the scorecard, claiming a penalty after a high tackle on Ringrose. It went over taking the hosts to 13-17. It was raw aggression from the English in their defence that was as much their downfall as it was their saviour. Tuilagi and Sinckler were workhorses ensuring that the Irish offence couldn’t break through, as England held tight.
A break from a scrum just inside their own half all but ensured the English victory in their opening Six Nations match. The ball made its way out to May on the touchline, who kicked it forwards. Henry Slade chased it down and touched it down to bring England nine points into the lead. A missed conversion by Farrell was soon made up for by an on-target penalty which just about reached over the cross bar after a thunderous kick from the halfway line.
Henry Slade racked up his second try of the day, and the fourth of his England career with minutes to spare in the game. The young fly-half pounced on a sloppy Irish pass just yards away from the try line, and al but crawled over the line to bring England to 32 after the conversion.
With just a minute to go before the 80th, Ireland were still pushing forward and refusing to give in before the final whistle. At the 79th minute scrum-half Cooney scores and a conversion moment later brought the score to Ireland 20, England 32.
Ireland v England, Six Nations: Tactical and Highly Intense
This was a hugely memorable contest between two of the best national teams in the world today. High-intensity offence and defence from both nations throughout the game treated fans at the Aviva Stadium to a glimpse of what is to come in one of the most anticipated Six Nations in years.
England took control of much of the game, delighting the fans with endless pressure against the Irish line and promising the English rugby fans who made their way over the Irish Sea much more to come from them in the rest of the tournament.
While the Irish proved they’re a world-class test team, they simply were a step behind England for much of the game. Eddie Jones’s tactical wizardry secured a victory, with a huge emphasis on the classic ’10-man’ kick-and-chase style of play.
Few pundits saw this final result coming – the Irish were favourites to win long before either team sheet was even considered. Being caught off guard against a strong English side set them on the back foot early, and they struggled to regain control of the momentum until England really stopped trying to score with minutes to spare at the end. The performance from England was truly terrific, and no man in the team seemed to be lagging in any department.
The aggressive defending which won England the game could have lost it for them, too. They were lucky to have only given away twice the penalties that Ireland did, and could have easily seen many more points rack up against them.
Ireland looked most on top of the game when Tom Curry was sin-binned in the first half for a late tackle on Keith Earls, taking up some ground on the 14-man England. Credit is due to every man in green on the pitch – despite taking a mashing in their own territory, there was never a moment when they seemed despondent or lacking in the motivation department.
Last year’s Grand Slam champs are still considered likely to do well in the Six Nations 2019, and will be wanting to prove themselves worthy in their upcoming games, especially in the Celtic clash with Scotland this weekend in Edinburgh.
What does this mean for the rest of the Six Nations?
England now shift ahead of Ireland in the bookies’ predictions, now coming in at 7/2 over Ireland’s 7/1. Wales and Scotland are 6/1 and 11/1 respectively, with France pitched as low as 100/1 and Italy given 5000/1 by one bookmaker at time of writing, though most have them between 500/1 and 1000/1.
It’s all to play for still. While one good showing against Ireland is a promising sight for English rugby fans, in the Six Nations anything can happen. Eddie Jones still has to take his men to the Principality Stadium and host France, Italy and Scotland at Twickenham – and any one of these games could be a tournament-changing upset.
Ireland are still a strong side and one less-than-anticipated performance shouldn’t knock them back too hard. Coming from their Grand Slam victory of 2018 they are still strong contenders in the competition. England vs Ireland was always going to be the toughest match of the tournament, so they’ll have plenty more chances in the coming weeks.
Six Nations Hospitality Packages
Guests wishing to attend the Six Nations can experience the thrill of test rugby from the comfort of a VIP experience.
At the BT Murrayfield Stadium, bagpipes and singing of Flower of Scotland set the tone for a truly Scottish rugby experience. A fully inclusive bar and a three-course, pre-match fine luncheon will immerse you in luxury before the game starts. Scotland home games against Italy, Ireland and Wales are sure to entertain your guests.
Fans can celebrate the Six Nations in the VIP facilities at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, including in private suites, boating a butler style service, a four-course fine-dining meal and much more. Wales will host England and Ireland in this tournament campaign, and neither game is to be missed!