Ireland crash and burn as England rip Schmidt's men apart in London

Ireland conceded eight tries in a record defeat against the English.

England 57

Ireland 15

Murray Kinsella reports from Twickenham

THIS WAS SUPPOSED to be about Joe Schmidt’s Ireland showing that they are ready to rebound from a disappointing 2019 Six Nations campaign.

Instead, they were hammered by a rampant England, conceding eight tries and delivering a performance that will leave supporters gravely worried about Ireland’s prospects at the World Cup in Japan.

Schmidt’s side missed an alarming 34 tackles in a deeply-concerning defensive effort, as they thoroughly failed to deal with England’s power and guile, while their attack created virtually nothing after an early try for Jordan Larmour.

manu-tuilagi-celebrates-his-try-with-tom-curry-and-joe-cokanasiga Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

This, in short, was a humiliation and destruction in London as England set a new record winning margin over Ireland of 42, more than the previous 40 set in Dublin all the way back in 1997, as well as scoring more than 50 points against them for the first time ever.

In scorching 30-degree heat at Twickenham, Ireland also lost first-choice loosehead prop Cian Healy to a concerning ankle injury, while Conor Murray was replaced at half-time after undergoing and passing a HIA in the first half. Those two join Joey Carbery in the list marked ‘injury concerns.’

Ireland would have gone to number one in World Rugby’s rankings with a win here but they looked genuine miles off that standard on a day when there were no positives.

Captain Rory Best couldn’t find his jumpers in a shambolic lineout performance, while other key players such as CJ Stander, Peter O’Mahony and Bundee Aki were largely anonymous. Out-half Ross Byrne began well on his first start for Ireland but faded off badly later in the game, while left wing Jacob Stockdale was error-prone. 

cian-healy-is-treated-by-the-irish-medical-team Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Ireland started poorly, getting turned over, tackled into touch and throwing a forward pass in the opening minutes, helping England to draw first blood as Owen Farrell slotted three points after his pack won a scrum penalty.

But Schmidt’s men responded strongly as Rob Kearney showed some class, first offloading on a kick return and then throwing a floated right-to-left pass in the lead-up to a Jordan Larmour try.

The score stemmed from lock Iain Henderson turning over an English maul before Kearney found Stockdale on the left touchline, with the wing chipping over the head of the advancing Elliot Daly, whereafter the retreating Manu Tuilagi was beaten by the bounce and Larmour pounced to dot down in the eighth minute, Byrne converting.

A Kearney knock-on in the air gave England the platform to respond within five minutes, a clever double-screen play from the resulting scrum drawing some poor midfield defence from Ireland and then Jonny May’s quick hands under pressure from Stockdale allowing Daly to send Joe Cokanasiga surging over past Larmour’s cover tackle effort.

jordan-larmour-celebrates-his-tis-try-with-jacob-stockdale Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Ireland looked to play territory with a pair of low, long grubber kicks down the right just before the first water break, while a turnover penalty from the impressive Henderson allowed Byrne to fire over a 45-metre penalty soon after the short interval for a 10-8 lead.

But England’s awesome power and offloading saw them move back into control with an impressive team score that saw Conor Murray injured as Jonny May broke up the left inside Ireland’s 22, before they swung the ball right through George Ford and Tom Curry for Daly to finish. 

Farrell converted as Murray went for a HIA he passed, and then Ireland’s lineout disintegrated as Maro Itoje and George Kruis picked off consecutive Rory Best throws, the second of which resulted in their third try.

It came from a five-metre scrum this time, as scrum-half Ben Youngs fired a pass to the imposing Manu Tuilagi and he breezed inside Stockdale after a poor read from Bundee Aki close to the scrum.

rob-kearney-iain-henderson-ross-byrne-rob-revins-jean-kleyn-rory-best-and-conor-murray-watch-on-from-the-match Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Farrell converted for a 22-10 lead that England carried into the half-time break, though there was time for that Healy injury and a turnover penalty from Josh van der Flier before Nigel Owens signalled a much-needed breather for the players.

Needing to bounced back, Ireland instead started the second-half in dire fashion, as Stockdale was turned over by Tuilagi wide on the left soon before Kearney knocked-on in the tackle.

When yet another lineout went wrong on Ireland’s 22, Best’s poor throw evading Henderson, England pounced and took advantage of appalling fringe defence from Ireland as Itoje burst between Tadhg Furlong and Jack McGrath – on for Healy – to canter in, with Farrell converting.

Instead of responding, Ireland only got worse. Byrne dropped a ball cold in the England half, Furlong knocked-on and then Byrne kicked out on the full after the ball was passed back into him inside his 22. 

maro-itoje-tackled-by-iain-henderson-and-ross-byrne Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

From that lineout, England struck for a fifth try after working the ball wide left to May, with a TMO review confirming Kruis had scored through McGrath and Henderson. 

Farrell converted again for a commanding 36-10 lead with over 25 minutes still to play. 

Schmidt made six further changes to his team immediately after that Kruis score but England’s momentum continued as Cokanasiga opened up Larmour – now at fullback – with a huge turnover hit on kick chase. 

England were rampaging by now and their next score came as tighthead Kyle Sinckler skillfully tipped-on a pass for Sam Underhill to break, the flanker drawing in Larmour to send back row partner Curry over for a score that again showed Ireland’s defensive frailty.

Farrell’s fifth successful conversion put England 43-10 up with a quarter of the game still left. 

maro-itoje-celebrates-his-try-with-jamie-george-and-tom-curry Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Cokanasiga got over for his second direct from another scrum after another Ireland handling error, bursting through the line after a Ringrose misread and dummying Larmour to finish all too easily.

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Farrell’s conversion took England to the 50-point mark, before Ireland awoke enough to send Aki over for a score in the right corner with seven minutes remaining and both benches fully emptied. 

It wasn’t the end of the Irish pain, however, as sub hooker Sean Cronin overthrew a five-metre lineout and his opposite number, Luke Cowan-Dickie snaffled the ball to dot down.

George Ford’s conversion ensured suffer a record losing margin against England -  which had stood at 40 from 1997 – on what was an abysmal day for Schmidt’s Ireland.

England scorers:

Tries: Joe Cokanasiga [2], Elliot Daly, Manu Tuilagi, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Tom Curry, Luke Cowan-Dickie

ConversionsOwen Farrell [6 from 7], George Ford [1 from 1]

PenaltiesOwen Farrell [1 from 1]

Ireland scorers:

TriesJordan Larmour, Bundee Aki

ConversionsRoss Byrne [1 from 1], Jack Carty [0 from 1]

Penalties: Ross Byrne [1 from 1]

ENGLAND: Elliot Daly; Joe Cokanasiga, Manu Tuilagi (Joe Marchant ’71), Owen Farrell (captain) (Piers Francis ’69), Jonny May; George Ford, Ben Youngs (Willi Heinz ’54); Joe Marler (Mako Vunipola ’61, reversal ’78), Jamie George (Luke Cowan-Dickie ’54), Kyle Sinckler (Dan Cole ’60); Maro Itoje, George Kruis; Tom Curry (Courtney Lawes ’58), Sam Underhill (Mark Wilson ’58), Billy Vunipola. 

IRELAND: Rob Kearney (Andrew Conway ’54); Jordan Larmour, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale; Ross Byrne (Jack Carty ’54), Conor Murray (HIA – Luke McGrath ’31 to ’36, permanent HT); Cian Healy (Jack McGrath ’40), Rory Best (captain) (Sean Cronin ’54), Tadhg Furlong (Andrew Porter ’54); Iain Henderson (Tadhg Beirne ’61), Jean Kleyn (Devin Toner ’54); Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier, CJ Stander.

Referee: Nigel Owens.

Attendance: 81,360.

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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