Ireland deny England the Grand Slam

They won 13-9 at Aviva Stadium

BY Simon Maguire 19:05 Saturday 18 March 2017, 19:05 18 Mar 2017

Ireland's Rory Best. Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

Ireland produced a thunderous display to beat England 13-9 at Aviva Stadium to deny Eddie Jones' side back-to-back Six Nations Grand Slams and a world record 19th consecutive win.

The home side went after the English from the start clearly determined not to let their visitors settle as they attempted to win successive Six Nations Grand Slams.

James Haskell and Robbie Henshaw put in huge early hits as both teams battled for supremacy in the physical stakes.

An early error from Jared Payne gave the English a platform in Irish territory but the home side repelled the attack.

Joe Schmidt’s side attacked the English relentlessly and Johnny Sexton kicked over an early penalty for a 3-0 lead and Rory Best returned to the field after undergoing a HIA.

Owen Farrell levelled the scores with a penalty of his own before Maro Itoje received a warning for a late and questionable tackle on Johnny Sexton.

An Irish line-out deep in English territory saw Best find Peter O’Mahony at the back who then fed Iain Henderson who dived towards the line. Sexton converted to bring the scores out to 10-3.

Late in the half George ford kicked the ball straight out and allowed Ireland to mount another attack in the English 22 only for Eddie Jones’ men to turnover the ball at a maul and the teams went to the interval at 10-3.

Andrew Conway came on for his first cap as Keith Earls had to be replaced while England appeared rejuvenated after the break and took the game to Ireland in the forwards.

Farrell slotted three points to bring the scores to 10-6 as England clawed their way back on the scoreboard.

Ireland's Johnny Sexton scores a penalty. Image: ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Sexton continued to be targeted by the English defence but battled on bravely and he reinstated Ireland’s seven point lead with a penalty in the 62nd minute.

Farrell responded moments later to make the scores 13-9. as the rain poured down, England went in search of the try they needed to win the match. A couple of penalties won by their pack had them in possession with a line-out in the Irish 22 only for man-of-the-match Peter O'Mahony to steal the ball and allow Ireland to clear. 

Luke McGrath, on for the brilliant Marmion, pinned the English back when he kicked to the corner from the back of a ruck.

Ireland held the late English charge at bay to finish second in the tournament. 


Off The Ball


The very best bits of Off The Ball delivered every week