Ireland announce details of Grand Slam homecoming on Sunday

Ireland announce details of Grand Slam homecoming on Sunday

Kerry Wise
March 18, 2018

Ireland, this weekend, added the Grand Slam to their NatWest 6 Nations Championship with victory over England.

The loss was the first defeat under Eddie Jones at Twickenham in some 16 attempts, and just the second time in history - after France in 1981 - a Grand Slam was confirmed for any visitors to the home of English rugby.

Jones had vowed to gain revenge for Ireland's win over England in Dublin a year ago, which denied them a clean sweep and halted their record-equalling 18-match winning run.

England, unbeaten at home in the Six Nations since 2012, managed tries by Elliot Daly in each half and another in stoppage time by Jonny May but always looked second-best.

For the first time since 2006 England have lost three Six Nations games on the bounce and they were only ever chasing in this one.

Johnny Sexton has been hugely influential for Ireland in this campaign and it was his pin-point up-and-under that helped them make the ideal start at Twickenham.

Garry Ringrose, CJ Stander and Jacob Stockdale all touched down to reward Ireland's dominance before the break, despite a spell in the sin bin for Peter O'Mahony.

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After six minutes, TMO Ben Skeen confirmed the first try of the day after a deep Johnny Sexton kick was spilled backwards by Anthony Watson under pressure from Rob Kearney, and Ringrose was there to pounce on the loose ball for Ireland.

Exactly 60 minutes in, Conor Murray scored the first three points of the second half with a lovely kick, bringing Ireland to 24 points, but mere minutes later, England pushed back with a neat try, raising their score for the game to 10 and regaining possession.

While Ireland rejoiced on St. Patrick's Day after a national record-extending 12th straight win, the soul-searching began for an England team that started the tournament seeking a third consecutive title and ended it in fifth place - its lowest finish since the Six Nations expanded in 2000.

Prop forward Tadhg Furlong, the man-of-the-match, found inside Bundee Aki with a fine pass and the inside centre burst clear before releasing Stander, with the No 8 forcing his way over from close range.

Ireland quickly took the lead, and were 14-0 to England after the first 30 minutes. England finally roused themselves with a series of driving mauls that created space for Owen Farrell to find with a deft kick for Daly to reach on the left wing.

In a thrilling match, Ireland dominated England, with a final score of 15-24.

The second half was an vast power struggle, as England tried and tried and tried again to get an advantage over the Irish squad. But Farrell again missed the conversion, leaving his side 14 points adrift with 15 minutes to go.