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Dublin: 13°C Tuesday 11 May 2021


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Good afternoon and welcome to today’s liveblog on Ireland versus England in the Autumn Nations Cup. Ireland arrive into this game on the back of three successive defeats to England as well as the provocative words of Eddie Jones ringing in their ears.

After stating that England could have ‘declared at half-time if it was a cricket match’ during the Six Nations encounter between these sides back in February, Jones has since dubbed Ireland ‘the United Nations’ of world rugby even though his own team selections have regularly included players born outside of England’s borders.

Historically England have 79 wins to Ireland’s 49 in this fixture – but the last three victories have been comprehensive, an aggregate scoreline of 113 to 47 in England’s favour.

Here is the view of Paddy Johns, the former Ireland captain, ahead of today’s game: “What Eddie Jones said, ‘Ireland being the United Nations’, taunting (Andrew) Porter about his scrummaging; that’ll motivate them. Without question, England have hardened up in the last couple of years, Jones opting for players who are a lot more physical.

“People have said they’ve bullied Ireland in the last few matches. Well, there’s the motivation for us. It’d be lovely to see the Irish pack coming up with an answer to that.”

We’ll see how they go about things in about 40 minutes time.

This is a massive day for Ross Byrne. The last time he played at Twickenham was in the World Cup warm-up – when England thumped Ireland. Byrne didn’t get his spot on the plane to Japan after that one.

England’s half-backs have played 185 times for their country; Ireland’s duo of Byrne and Jamison Gibson-Park have just 11 caps.

The theme of an experienced line-up coming up against experimental XV is extended right through the sides, England’s starting XV containing 725 caps, Ireland’s just 433.

Here are the teams.

ENGLAND: Elliot Daly (Saracens); Jonathan Joseph (Bath), Ollie Lawrence (Worcester), Henry Slade (Exeter), Jonny May (Gloucester), Owen Farrell (Saracens, capt), Ben Youngs (Leicester); Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Jamie George (Saracens), Kyle Sinckler (Bristol); Maro Itoje (Saracens), Joe Launchbury (Wasps); Tom Curry (Sale), Sam Underhill (Bath), Billy Vunipola (Saracens).

Replacements: Tom Dunn (Bath), Ellis Genge (Leicester), Will Stuart (Bath), Jonny Hill (Exeter), Ben Earl (Bristol), Dan Robson (Wasps), George Ford (Leicester), Max Malins (Bristol).

IRELAND: Hugo Keenan (Leinster); Keith Earls (Munster), Chris Farrell (Munster), Bundee Aki (Connacht), James Lowe (Leinster); Ross Byrne (Leinster), Jamison Gibson-Park (Leinster); Cian Healy (Leinster), Rónan Kelleher (Leinster), Andrew Porter (Leinster); Quinn Roux (Connacht), James Ryan (Leinster, capt); CJ Stander (Munster), Peter O’Mahony (Munster), Caelan Doris (Leinster).

Replacements: Rob Herring (Ulster), Ed Byrne (Leinster), Finlay Bealham (Connacht), Iain Henderson (Ulster), Will Connors (Leinster), Conor Murray (Munster), Billy Burns (Ulster), Jacob Stockdale (Ulster).

Ireland are out on the pitch, England heading down the tunnel now.

Anthem time, Ireland’s Call first.

We are underway. You can read our man, Murray Kinsella, with his post-match report

1 min – England 0-0 Ireland – Decent start by Ireland, they have made an effort to get on the front foot

3 min – England 0-0 Ireland – Ireland win their first line-out, a short one to James Ryan

4 minutes – plenty of kicking so far from both sides, poor enough efforts too. Lowe has a kick blocked down, Ireland recover possession

5 minutes – England 0-0 Ireland first scrum of the match coming up, big area, especially given Eddie Jones’ pre-match jibe about Andrew Porter’s technique

9 minutes – England 0-0 Ireland England nearly score a try, CJ Stander saves the day after Ben Youngs takes a quick penalty. England setting a high tempo, England’s kicking game has been inconsistent thus far

9 minutes - great take by Hugo Keenan in the air. Ireland awarded a penalty after Keenan cleaned out, Byrne finds touch

11 minutes - Kelleher’s throw isn’t straight, scrum England

 12 minutes, England 0-0 Ireland England put-in, solid from England. Their backline gets moving – but Ireland’s linespeed is good in defence 

13 minutes - Earls makes a super catch under the high ball

13 minutes - scrum England – penalty awarded to the hosts. 

15 minutes – penalty England, Peter O’Mahony penalised for coming in from the side

Farrell goes to the corner

16 minutes – England 5-0 Ireland TRY ENGLAND JOHNNY MAY

Itoje gathered the initial line-out, Ireland defended the maul impressively and the tackle Ross Byrne put in on Lawrence was a try-saver but with men out wide, Owen Farrell spotted May in space, and fired a superb crossfield kick. May won it ahead of Hugo Keenan and finished it tidily. Try No30 for his country, Farrell misses the conversion

19 minutes – England 5-0 Ireland Ireland win a penalty inside the England half. Lowe fouled as he went to gather Gibson-Park’s boxkick.

Byrne heads to the corner, a superb kick

TRY ENGLAND Kelleher’s throw is inaccurate, England counter – May scores a beauty

21 mins – England 12-0 Ireland Ireland had the ball in the England 22, couldn’t secure the ball off their own line-out. England counter, May kicks ahead twice, controls, taps down, it already looks like this is going to be a rough afternoon

23 minutes – England 12-0 Ireland Quinn Roux getting treatment for a knee injury

Byrne kicks to the corner, Ireland back in England’s 22

25 minutes – Ireland go through nine phases of play, but are moved backwards. Eventually, Ireland get a penalty when England are penalised for coming in from the side. Iain Henderson likely to come on for Roux

26 minutes – Again, the Irish line-out is lost

27 minutes – England 12-0 Ireland Scrum Ireland, but once again, Ireland’s line-out is not functioning. Itoje applying pressure, Ireland in trouble at the set-piece

Lowe attacks off Ireland scrum, Porter carries, then Healy, O’Mahony, Porter for a second time, England’s line-speed is impressive. Stander, Farrell put their hands up for work

29 minutes – Huge moment in the game, great break from Keith Earls, after Ireland patiently build through the phases. No one there to support Earls, five metres short of the line. Chance missed for Ireland

31 minutes - this time it is Jamie George who throws crookedly

32 minutes – England 12-0 Ireland good scrum from Ireland, decent charge from Bundee Aki but James Ryan is subsequently penalised for going off his feet

Ireland have now conceded six penalties to England’s four

34 minutes – England 12-0 Ireland play has now moved into the Ireland 22, Itoje having a huge influence. Line-out, George to throw

Penalty conceded – Ryan pinged for pulling Itoje’s arm at the line out

35 minutes – England -0 Ireland George finds Itoje at the front of the line-out, Ireland defend brilliantly, O’Mahony putting in a great fight and Ireland win a penalty. Their best moment of the half

38 minutes – England 12-0 Ireland Play still in Ireland’s 22, Gibson-Park’s clearance kick has too much juice on it, England put ball back into Irish territory. From subsequent line-out, Gibson-Park is pressurised by Sam Underhill. England regain possession and Underhill is claiming he scored a try. TMO deciding 


Sam Underhill penalised. Lucky escape for Ireland – Nigel Owens in the TMO box favouring Ireland

Meanwhile another line-out ends in a mess for Ireland

40 minutes - England’s line-speed is frightening, they regain possession after Ireland failed to make any ground from a multi-phased attack


England simply have been too powerful so far. Their defending has been excellent, while the threat May poses is reflected on the scoreboard, his two tries the difference between the sides. 

Ireland’s line-out has been a disaster. They aren’t out of it by any means but it would be a major shock if they got out of here with a win.

jonny-may-wins-in-the-air-against-hugo-keenan-to-then-score-a-try Jonny May gathers above Hugo Keenan prior to scoring England's first try Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Here are Murray’s thoughts

And on the first-half in general

Teams are coming back out onto the field for the second-half. Ireland have it all to do.

41 minutes – England 12-0 Ireland Itoje penalised for going offside trying to block Gibson-Park’s clearance

Better line-out from Ireland, Kelleher finds O’Mahony; play moves wide, Earls – again – makes yards

Ireland move into the England half – great footwork from O’Mahony, Lowe also makes a few yards, play moves left again, England defending well, 10 phases into this move, Farrell makes a small gain

Eventually a grubber kick is tried but Daly reads it and clears

England, at this stage, appear in total control of this game – irrespective of whether they have the ball or not

44 mins - Hugo Keenan has just taken a superb catch in the air

Quinn Roux is in trouble here, Nigel Owens has spotted an infringement committed by the Ireland second row on Sam Underhill. Penalty to England

Farrell goes for the posts


46 minutes – England 15-0 Ireland Farrell’s kick is on the money

Great kick chase by Keith Earls 

48 minutes – England 15-0 Ireland great take by Keenan, Ireland get decent field position but Gibson-Park’s kick is poor and goes over the endline

Mako Vunipola is getting treatment for a shoulder injury

50 minutes – England 15-0 Ireland Replacements called for, Henderson coming in for Roux, Murray for Gibson-Park, Herring for Kelleher – all three starters had poor days

51 minutes, PENALTY ENGLAND – Farrell kicks it, England 18-0 Ireland

Ryan had been penalised off an England line-out, Farrell punished him

Scrum England, Henderson pinged for a knock-on

53 minutes – England 18-0 Ireland England have made 162 penalties, Ireland 41. Some stat. 

Hugo Keenan has been very impressive under the high ball today. 

England’s period of sustained pressure comes to an end inside Ireland’s 22 when Caelan Doris forces a turnover. 

Finlay Bealham and Jacob Stockdale are about to be introduced

Super kick by James Lowe brings possession into the England 22

58 minutes – Keenan makes way for Stockdale; England concede a scrum, great work by Andrew Porter at the maul.

Ireland win a scrum penalty. Line out now in England’s 22

62 minutes – Herring and O’Mahony combine superbly at the line-out, Ireland go through nine phases in attack but Maro Itoje forces a turnover

63 minutes – decent kick by Jacob Stockdale, play back in England’s 22

Penalty Ireland – great play firstly by James Ryan, a superb boxkick by Conor Murray leads to an infringement off the ball by Owen Farrell. Byrne kicks to the corner

65 minutes – England 18-0 Ireland – Henderson collects Herring’s throw

Farrell, Earls, Ryan and Farrell again all make good carries; Ireland win a penalty, they will go to the corner again

67 minutes – It appears as if Chris Farrell was held up, following a super kick by Ross Byrne but TMO to see if a try should be awarded for Ireland

TMO Nigel Owens confirms initial on-field decision that Farrell failed to ground the ball. It remains an Irish penalty

69 minutes – England 18-0 Ireland 

O’Mahony takes initial throw but Earl recovers to force a turnover. Yet again Ireland have failed to score from inside England’s 22. They have had plenty of possession in the red zone but have nothing to show for it

71 minutes – O’Mahony wins a breakdown penalty

Byrne kicks it deep inside the England 22

Billy Burns, an Under 20 World Cup winner with England, is on for Byrne



Chip over the top from Billy Burns is tidily collected by Stockdale who then changes the angle of his run to race clear to the line. Deserved try for Ireland who have been much better in the last 15 minutes.

Replacements Herring, Stockdale and Burns have already made a difference

Scrum Ireland ….. tireless effort by Andrew Porter gets its reward

79 minutes – England 18-7 Ireland Ireland win scrum penalty; they head for the 22

Another mess at the line-out


Ireland had over the bulk of territory and possession but could only score seven points; the line-out was an absolute disaster; Ireland’s attack was blunt, save for the Stockdale try. 

Yet again, Ireland lose to England – that is four defeats on the spin now. Ireland, since 2018, have failed repeatedly against world rugby’s elite. 

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About the author:

Garry Doyle


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