As England beat Ireland 24-12 at Twickenham, TRUs Joe Harvey kept us up to date with events as they unfolded in West London. Read his full match report blow:
It became clear early on that England’s problem breaking the gainline could be behind them. Bulldozing runs from Manu Tuilagi, Courtney Lawes and Jamie George camped Eddie Jones’ side in Ireland’s 22 before the Irish won the ball back and opted to scrum.
England would draw blood first. Another Lawes carry put England in a good position, scrum-half Ben Youngs opted to grubber through. Johnny Sexton failed to deal with the ball in the try zone, allowing George Ford to dot down. Farrell converted the score giving the English a 7-0 lead with less than ten minutes played.
Sexton would be at fault some minutes later. England consistently giving away penalties in their own half left the Irish with a kick in front of the sticks. Usually Sexton’s bread and butter. Not this time. The Leinsterman missed from some 30 meters out, letting England off the hook.
England’s second try was rather like their first. A kick over a line-speed driven defence always causes issues. This time it was Elliot Daly patting down, evading Jacob Stockdale, who had his back turned on the Sarries man. Farrell slotted the conversion to double the English lead.
The rest of the second half was all England. Consistently breaking the Irish deffensive line, the men in white would probably be disappointed with themselves for not making the most of their chances. Approaching half-time, Owen Farrell kicked a penalty after Ireland were caught offside, giving England a 17-0 lead with a minute before the break.
Twickenham was treated to a scrum just seconds into the second half. England knocking on, it gave Ireland the chance to come back into the game early. Nothing came for Ireland, a maul diffused, and a Farrell infringement gave the Irish another maul close to the line.
After a Sinckler high tackle five meters away from the try line, Ireland opted to scrum. Swing Low rang out in an attempt from the home fans to keep Ireland at bay, all in vain. Robbie Henshaw collected the ball, going low to evade the arms of Farrell, finally getting Ireland off the mark. Sexton could not convert, meaning the score was 17-5 with roughly 30 minutes to play.
England went close to advancing their lead, Tuilagi crossing the line, but the pass to him was forward. England got the ball back after the Irish were pushed back at the resulting scrum. Sustained England pressure would hold no success, with Daly knocking on, giving the Irish a chance to exit, although deep in their half.
England won the ball back at the scrum, kicking to the corner twice before Luke Cowan-Dickie collected the ball at the back of the line-out, crashing over from short range. Farrell added the extras with ease, making the score 24-5.Then came the quiet period. Momentum barely shifting either way, penalties in positions that neither side could really mount any sort of attack from. Ireland would break this tedium, the left wing and the arrival of John Cooney adding some spark. A high tackle on the Ulster scrum-half leading to an Irish line-out just meters out.
England had to put in a big shift, but they won the ball back. This Irish line-out had not functioned too well all day, but unlike two weeks ago, no one had the excuse of weather conditions to use. With just minutes to play, it was certain that England had won the game, with Ireland playing for nothing more than glory.
With a minute on the clock, Ross Byrne kicked for the corner after George Ford did not release, giving Ireland the opportunity to roll toward the try line. The clock in the red they sread the ball to the middle of the pitch, it spread further to the left wing, not content at all with being kept to single figures. And they would score. Andrew Porter got low enough to register a score, John Cooney's conversion making the full-time score 24-12.