England 15-32 Ireland, Twickenham Stadium
Ireland capitalised on the red card to Charlie Ewels as they defeated England 32-15 in the fourth round of the Six Nations at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday.
The result meant England's chances of winning the title is effectively over while Ireland are still in contention as they are at second with 16 points and will face Scotland in the final round. France with four wins from as many games are at the top as they eye a Grand Slam for the first time since 2010 when they host England in Paris on 20th March.
The game started with a huge setback for Eddie Jones' men as Ewels was sent-off in the 2nd minute of the game for a dangerous tackle on James Ryan, who left the field for a Head Injury Assessment. Ireland skipper Johnny Sexton landed a penalty goal to start the proceedings.
The visitors with the extra player advantage pressed forward and got their opening try in the 6th minute with Dan Sheehan sending Josh Van der Flier through the line resulting in James Lowe go over the line in the corner. Sexton's conversion went wide as Ireland received the news that Ryan failed the HIA and will not be taking part further in the game.
The 13th minute saw Caelan Doris try disallowed after Garry Ringrose had a knock-on in the build up before England won a penalty at scrum providing Marcus Smith an opportunity to get them off the mark which he did gracefully in the 18th minute and in the process became the fifth player for the red rose team to score over 50 points in a Six Nations Championship after Jonny Wilkinson, Toby Flood, Owen Farrell, and George Ford.
Even though Ireland piled up the pressure, England did well not to concede any further points and even went on to win a penalty at the breakdown as Smith got his second kick right in the 32nd minute making it 6-8 before Jamie Gibson-Park provided a perfect offload for Hugo Keenan to dot down in the 37th minute and this time Sexton landed the conversion right making it 6-15.
With Sinckler also injured and needing a Head Injury Assessment, Smith with his third penalty kick kept England in the game reducing the arrears to six points before the break.
Smith slotted penalties in the 53rd and 61st minutes to finally bring parity on the scoreboard but it was Ireland, who dominated the final quarter which started with an infringement from Maro Itoje allowing Sexton to kick a three-pointer that put the visitors in front again.
With seven minutes left in the game, a delayed Henshaw pass to Ringrose allows him to release Conway before Conor Murray recycled the possession allowing Jack Conan to score and the bonus point came in the 76th minute as once again Murray found Finlay Bealham following a line out for their fourth try. Sexton kicked both the conversions as Farrell's men stay in contention to win the title following a 17-point win at the iconic Twickenham Stadium.
Team line up:
England XV: Freddie Steward, Max Malins, Joe Marchant, Henry Slade, Jack Nowell, Marcus Smith, Harry Randall; Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler, Maro Itoje, Charlie Ewels, Courtney Lawes, Tom Curry, Sam Simmonds.
Reserves: Jamie Blamire, Joe Marler, Will Stuart, Joe Launchbury, Alex Dombrandt, Ben Youngs, George Ford, Elliot Daly.
Ireland XV: Hugo Keenan, Andrew Conway, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, James Lowe, Johnny Sexton, Jamison Gibson-Park; Cian Healy, Dan Sheehan, Tadhg Furlong, Tadhg Beirne, James Ryan, Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier, Caelan Doris.
Reserves: Rob Herring, Dave Kilcoyne, Finlay Bealham, Iain Henderson, Jack Conan, Conor Murray, Joey Carbery, Robbie Henshaw.