‘A slaughter seldom seen in modern rugby’ - English press reacts to Ireland’s Six Nations drubbing

The Offload: University of Pittsburgh finds new way of testing for concussion; battle for the URC playoffs heats up

The 88-10 defeat of Ireland by England will make tough viewing for the Irish women’s team and staff. But the headlines and comments from around here and the UK played on a similar theme of a deeply one-sided match in Twickenham.

“Even by the standards of this peerless England side, this was a scintillating slaughter of the kind seldom seen in modern rugby,” said the UK’s Independent. “While France may pose a test next weekend, England are now in another stratosphere to their other Six Nations ‘rivals’. There remains a certain tedium to knowing the victor on arrival but it is impossible not to admire the ambition with which they now carve, athletic advantages allied to razor sharp phase play, all enhancing a remarkable winning machine.”

Louis Deacon, England women’s forward coach doubled down on their superiority as did fullback Ellie Dunne..

“We get our competitiveness in training…the girls really go at each other in training. That’s where our competitiveness is, in training, to be honest with you,” said Deacon.


“No disrespect to Ireland but we really turned it on, it became running rugby, and it was enjoyable,” added Kildunne.

“On the downside Ireland were falling off tackles from very early on, and were never able to exert much pressure in terms of disrupting England’s ball,” observed the Guardian, while Fiona Tomas in The Telegraph said Ireland were “pulverised”.

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“This was a Twickenham training session for England, who delivered a ruthless performance at the home of English rugby with a 14-try thumping of Ireland…It seemed almost cruel that Ireland were facing the domineering Red Roses so soon after their ego-boosting win over Wales last week. They never had a chance to build on that momentum after being pulverised by an England outfit who looked even more dangerous than usual on the wide pitch in front of a 48,778-strong crowd.”

“Abby Dow and Ellie Kildunne both scored a hat-tricks in England’s highest points win over Ireland in front of 48,778 at Twickenham to remain on course for the Grand Slam. England’s previous highest points win over Ireland was a 79-0 win in 2002,” said the BBC, while Sky Sports left nothing to the imagination.

“Women’s Six Nations recap: Red Roses annihilate Ireland at Twickenham. Ireland just wanted to get the ball off the field and that is it. Absolutely emphatic by the Red Roses. 14 tries in total. What a day! England have absolutely thrashed Ireland at Twickenham,” they concluded.

Breakthrough in concussion testing

Testing for head injuries in rugby is an ongoing challenge and one of the biggest talking points in the sport. Bulls outhalf Johan Goosen was red carded in his side’s URC game against Munster for making head-to-head contact with scrumhalf Craig Casey, a decision that was a turning point in the game. Incidents like that highlight the dangers of potential head injuries as reports from the University of Pittsburgh offer fresh hope that a blood test can objectively indicate concussion.

They have also cleared a major hurdle in terms of their device reaching the market by gaining approval from the USA’s Food and Drugs Administration, the body responsible for ensuring public safety.

The work of Dr David Okonkwo – the Pittsburgh Steelers’ neurosurgeon – and his team has resulted in the first lab-quality test capable of detecting concussions rapidly and accessibly, right at patients’ bedside and, someday, on the sidelines of sporting events. The instrument, known as i-STAT Alinity, tests blood with no laboratory needed.

When a blow is sustained proteins are released into the blood. The detection of two of those – UCH-L1 and GFAP – is how i-STAT Alinity is able to rule out concussion, with a 96.5 per cent predictive value when assessed within 24 hours of injury.

“The nature of the studies performed to gain FDA clearance for these tests were done in patients brought to level one trauma centres,” said Dr Okonkwo. “We have every reason to believe there is significant overlap with the injuries to athletes who sustain a concussion, but we need to do studies specifically in that patient population to confirm that use.”

Battle for the URC playoffs

It is rare the weekend when three Irish provinces win and the one that is beaten is Leinster. Ulster, Munster and Connacht won their respective United Rugby Championship games, with Leinster taking a sobering 44-12 beating in South Africa. Ulster and Connacht wins sets them up for an epic finish to the season. They remain outside the top eight but intriguingly sit on 39 points along with two other teams.

Edinburgh, Connacht, Ulster and Emirates have each earned 39 points, with Edinburgh inside the eight-place cut line and the other three teams outside. Above Edinburgh are Ospreys and Stormers, who each sit on 40 points, making it six teams with just a point separating them with three above the cut line and three below. There are four rounds to go before the quarter finals begin on June 7th. Strap in.

Number: 14

How many tries England scored against Ireland in Twickenham on Saturday, six scores in the first half and eight more after the break.


“No disrespect to Ireland but we really turned it on, it became running rugby, and it was enjoyable. We talk a lot about taking the handbrake off … keep trying new things … he [coach John Mitchell] gives us bags of confidence and belief and we just do our thing,” said Ellie Kildunne, the England fullback.