Ireland deny England the Grand Slam with 13-9 Six Nations win
Last Updated: 19/03/17 8:48pm
Ireland denied England back-to-back Grand Slams with a hard-fought 13-9 win at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday.
In a fiercely contested game, Ireland lock Iain Henderson scored the only try of the game with Johnny Sexton nailing the conversion and adding two penalties to also deny England a record 19-match winning streak for Tier One teams.
England had few chances as Ireland were quick on defence to shut down any space, and had to rely on three penalties from Owen Farrell.
Ireland were disrupted by a late change when Jamie Heaslip was ruled out after suffering an injury in the warm-up, but it gave flanker Peter O'Mahony the chance to shine as he was promoted off the bench with CJ Stander moving to No 8.
And shine he did, causing chaos in defence and dominating the lineout.
Ireland played with some real ferocity and there was plenty of controlled aggression as they looked to bounce back from disappointing wins against Scotland and Wales.
Sexton put them ahead after 10 minutes after they dominated the early battles. Farrell levelled the scores eight minutes later after Ireland were penalised for not rolling away but six minutes later the home side scored the only try of the game.
Sexton turned down a shot at goal and they were rewarded when Henderson rumbled over from the back of a maul and stretched out to score. Despite dominating the possession and territory, Ireland only went into the break 10-3 up and England were still well within striking distance.
Eddie Jones threw on his substitutes early in the second half but this time, the self-styled 'finishers' could not do the job. Farrell and Sexton swapped penalties and then Farrell made it 13-9 with 15 minutes to go to set up a tense finale.
England had their chances but Ireland kept their composure, and despite England still winning the Six Nations, they denied England a chance at greatness and handed Eddie Jones his first loss as England coach.
In the 72nd minute England had an attacking lineout right on Ireland's 22. However, Peter O'Mahony, who was exceptional for Ireland, disrupted Jamie George's throw-in and beat Maro Itoje to the punch. What a time for George to lose his 100 per cent lineout record. Ireland cleared their lines and held on for the win.
This was a real arm wrestle with chances few and far between for both sides. Ireland were able to adapt to the conditions better and harried England at every opportunity. They were happy to keep hold of the ball and really worked on their defence - not giving England any space to get their danger runners going. Ireland were also superb at the scrum and lineout where they dominated England with prop Tadhg Furlong really enhancing his reputation.
As for England, well they did win back to back Six Nations titles and suffered only their first loss in 19 games - that is not a bad return.
Ireland captain Rory Best was not happy with the amount of 'late' tackles going in on Johnny Sexton. Best tried to have a chat with referee Jérôme Garcès about it but was told to leave it to the referee. Good captaincy from Best, whose reply that he had a duty to look after his players gave Garces food for thought.
Man of the match
Getting the trophy now is one of the most upsetting things as a player.. #2001 but this feeling sent Johnson's team forward!!!— Will Greenwood (@WillGreenwood) March 18, 2017