Monday 6 February 2023 Dublin: 2°C
# familiar story
England smother the life out of Farrell's Ireland in dominant win at Twickenham
A late Jacob Stockdale try put some gloss on the scoreline but Ireland were a clear second best.

England 18

Ireland 7

THE SENSE OF familiarity will be most hurtful of all for Ireland.

Andy Farrell’s men were a clear second-best in their fourth consecutive defeat to Eddie Jones’ side in a game where didn’t fire a shot until the contest was over.

England’s defence was brilliant but they didn’t even need to be at their best to overcome an Ireland side that was very poor at the scrum, breakdown, and in their decision-making. The lineout and maul, meanwhile, was a horror show for James Ryan and co.

sam-underhill-makes-a-break Craig Mercer / INPHO England had too much quality for Ireland. Craig Mercer / INPHO / INPHO

Led by the dominant Maro Itoje, England smothered Ireland’s attack but Farrell’s side did at least avoid being nilled thanks to a late try from Jacob Stockdale off a clever chip kick from replacement out-half Billy Burns.

Ireland did keep battling in the second half, having trailed 12-0 at half time, but they never had the quality to genuinely worry the English, who remain top of Group A in the Autumn Nations Cup.

Eddie Jones will likely be a little frustrated that England didn’t rack up a bigger scoreline after two first-half tries from right wing Jonny May, the second of them a stunning effort on turnover that started inside his own 22.

For Ireland, it will be a miserable journey home after their latest failure against the English. James Ryan’s first outing as captain was a very tough one as he contributed to Ireland’s damaging penalty count but there weren’t any particularly strong individual performances from the Irish side.

Farrell’s men dominated the possession stakes but only rarely stretched the English defence as the likes of Itoje, Tom Curry, Sam Underhill, and Kyle Sinckler repeatedly cut them down with some stunning tackling. The English excelled at the breakdown too and while they had some favourable calls in that area, Ireland’s work there was poor.

Ireland face Georgia next up in this Autumn Nations Cup so should get back to winning ways in Dublin next weekend but the reality is that there is still a big gap in quality to the best teams like England.

jonny-may-scores-a-try-despite-james-lowe Craig Mercer / INPHO Jonny May scores two first-half tries. Craig Mercer / INPHO / INPHO

Ireland had a decent start as they used their kicking game to pose questions to the English defence but the early signs at set-piece were ominous and Jones’ men gradually began to take control.

They threatened off a quick-tap penalty in the ninth minute only for CJ Stander to get a hand to Farrell’s offload. The set-piece issues at scrum and lineout were seriously harmful for Ireland and helped provide the platform for England’s opening score. 

The home side very nearly went over from a five-metre lineout maul before they used penalty advantage to cross kick off Farrell wide to the right, where Jonny May leaped above the isolated Hugo Keenan to gather and dot down.

The second England score came four minutes later from another Irish lineout failure – Kelleher’s throw flying over and beyond Peter O’Mahony as England sparked on the counter-attack as the bouncing ball eluded Ross Byrne.

The English shifted it wide left to May inside his own 22 and he skinned Chris Farrell to break upfield, chipping ahead and then nudging the ball on as he beat a lazy Irish trackback for a stunning solo score converted by Farrell.

The English defence was hitting hard to deny momentum although there was brief hope as Keith Earls broke clear off a snipe and offload from scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park, only for Billy Vunipola to win a turnover penalty – one of several in the first half from England.

james-lowe-is-tackled-by-mako-vunipola Billy Stickland / INPHO England's defence made a big impact in the first 40 minutes. Billy Stickland / INPHO / INPHO

Jones would have been frustrated that his men didn’t end the half with a third try as they pressured Ireland in their 22. First, O’Mahony and the Irish pack did well to force a maul turnover and then the TMO ruled out a possible Underhill score. That came from a bizarre Ireland exit play that saw Gibson-Park snared by the English flanker, who illegally stripped the ball on the ground after his tackle.

Trailing 12-0, Ireland needed an excellent start to the second half but instead conceded another three points as TMO Nigel Owens intervened to call a penalty against Quinn Roux for grabbing Tom Curry around the neck near a ruck. Farrell extended the English lead.

Keenan’s aerial win under a Byrne garryowen soon gave Ireland hope in attack but Gibson-Park followed up with a dire kick that bounced over the deadball line.  

Farrell pushed the scoreline out to 18-0 in the 52nd minute when referee Pascal Gaüzère pinged Ireland skipper Ryan for going off his feet at the breakdown, just after Farrell had used his bench to get Conor Murray, Iain Henderson, and Rob Herring on.

A poor pass from Murray saw Henderson knock-on in their first real involvement as Ireland struggled to get any grip on the game, although a Doris turnover penalty relieved pressure heading towards the final quarter. 

And a scrum penalty in the 61st minute gave Ireland a five-metre platform but England’s  defence bullied Ireland once again and the magnificent Itoje produced another turnover penalty at the breakdown.

maro-itoje-competes-in-a-line-out-with-iain-henderson Billy Stickland / INPHO Maro Itoje was superb for England. Billy Stickland / INPHO / INPHO

Chris Farrell came close to scoring for Ireland with just over 10 minutes left, gathering a Byrne grubber kick on penalty advantage, but the TMO review confirmed that Henry Slade had held him up over the tryline. 

Exclusive Six
Nations Analysis

Get Murray Kinsella’s exclusive analysis of Ireland’s Six Nations campaign this spring

Become a Member

The sustained Irish pressure ended with another error from the Irish pack, the ball bobbling out the back of the subsequent five-metre maul and England swooping for yet another turnover penalty. 

But Ireland did manage a consolation score as replacement out-half Burns dinked a lovely kick over the top for Stockdale to gather on the full and swerve past the last defender for a converted score. 

That try doesn’t gloss over the reality of the English dominance. 

England scorers:

Tries: Jonny May [2]

Conversions: Owen Farrell [1 from 2]

Penalties: Owen Farrell [2 from 2]

Ireland scorers:

Tries: Jacob Stockdale 

Conversions: Billy Burns [1 from 1]

ENGLAND: Elliot Daly; Jonathan Joseph (George Ford), Ollie Lawrence (Max Malins), Henry Slade, Jonny May; Owen Farrell (captain), Ben Young (Dan Robson ’63); Mako Vunipola (Ellis Genge ’63), Jamie George (Tom Dunn), Kyle Sinckler (Will Stuart); Maro Itoje, Joe Launchbury (Jonny Hill); Tom Curry, Sam Underhill (Ben Earl ’63), Billy Vunipola

IRELAND: Hugo Keenan (Jacob Stockdale ’58); Keith Earls, Chris Farrell, Bundee Aki, James Lowe; Ross Byrne (Billy Burns), Jamison Gibson-Park (Conor Murray ’51); Cian Healy (Finlay Bealham ’65), Ronan Kelleher (Rob Herring ’51), Andrew Porter (John Ryan); Quinn Roux (Iain Henderson ’51), James Ryan (captain); CJ Stander (Will Connors ’65), Peter O’Mahony, Caelan Doris.

Referee: Pascal Gaüzère [FFR].

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment

    Leave a commentcancel