Ireland receive Twickenham wake up call; Galway join list of contenders

The Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Ireland were beaten and bullied by England on Sunday afternoon. Photograph: Getty Images

Ireland were beaten and bullied by England on Sunday afternoon. Photograph: Getty Images

Yesterday’s 24-12 defeat by England at Twickenham has made it a three-way fight to be Six Nations champions, with Ireland, realistically, down to third in the table and the outsiders after being beaten and bullied. Gerry Thornley assesses the damage after a disappointing day for Irish rugby. In his column, Liam Toland explains how England’s astute kicking game helped them establish a stranglehold on the game: “the immediate question is how do Ireland cope with such a tactic imposed upon them? This, having been beaten thrice in such fashion, is the key question for Andy Farrell and his Irish team.”

January signing Bruno Fernandes put in another man-of-the-match display as Manchester United beat Watford 3-0 on Sunday. Fernandes scored a first half penalty before Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood sealed the points - the win moves United to fifth in the Premier League. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hit a brace in Arsenal’s 3-2 victory over Everton as the Gunners rallied from conceding inside 49 seconds to secure their third win in a week. Wolves also followed up on their Europa League form with a 3-0 win over Norwich. Tonight, runaway leaders Liverpool host West Ham (kick off at Anfield is 8pm). In his column this morning, Ken Early is looking ahead to Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 clash between Manchester City and Real Madrid: “Madrid are so big that beating them would a milestone in City’s European history, yet so vulnerable that City could tear them to pieces. Doing so would be Guardiola’s best European moment at City, and the best way to convince his players that what might be their last season in Europe for a while might also be their best.”

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