Six Nations : Ireland 13-9 England

Six Nations : Ireland 13-9 England

 

 

Ireland beaned England's Grand Slam dream and ended their world record run of victories with a dramatic win at a happiness Aviva Stadium.

The home side overwhelmed the Six Nations champions with their reinforcement and physicality, just as they had in Slam deciders here in 2011 and 2001.

In the action they also halted England's winning run at a record 18 Tests, vacating them level with New Zealand, who were also beaten by Ireland to bring to an end their record run back in November.

A first-half try from Iain Henderson and eight points from the boot of a pounded Johnny Sexton established a lead that England never looked like closing, in spite Owen Farrell's three penalties.

It was a terrible, chastening evening for Eddie Jones' men, the first defeat of his reign coming with possibly the worst performance of his 18 matches in charge, although they at least have the consolation of retaining their Six Nations title.

Ireland had come into the match having missing two of their four matches in the championship, but a green-shirted gale blew the men in white away, their much-vaunted finishers at less to get them out of jail one more time.

The victory provides Ireland finished second in the table, ahead of France and Scotland on points difference.

Having already lost first-choice scrum-half, Conor Murray, to harm, Ireland then had to reorganize minutes before kick-off when Jamie Heaslip hurt himself in the warm-up, CJ Stander moving to number eight and Peter O'Mahony coming into the starting line-up and manufacturing an outstanding performance.

In an opening every bit as frenetic as expected, both sides had an early event, Farrell's pass hitting Mike Brown on the shoulder with Elliot Daly free outside him, Jared Payne impedes his own pass to Keith Earls down the other end.

After Sexton and Farrell exchanged penalties, Ireland then hit again, twice kicking penalties to the corner, Henderson reaching out after a driving maul to slam the ball over the try line.

A 10-3 lead reflected Ireland's grip on the match, with almost 75% terrain and ownership in the first quarter.

England was rattled, Courtney Lawes knocking on, Ford kicking out on the full from outside his 22, the men in white being forced to make three times as many gears as their opponents.

The only silver lining for Jones was that the deficit was not greater, the bad news that England had never come from behind at half-time in Dublin to win a Six Nations match.

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