Ireland smothered by ruthless England

Sun, Feb 10, 2013, 00:00

Ireland 6 England 12:England’s clarity of purpose and intelligent game management were decisive in securing victory in today’s Six Nations Championship match at a rain drenched Aviva stadium. It was a first tournament victory in Dublin for the visitors since 2003 and they deserved their triumph that guarantees they are the only remaining team in the tournament that can win a Grand Slam.

England were ruthlessly professional but they came to Dublin with a clearly defined game plan and were largely able to implement it. They were rigid in their structures but that was attributable to the adverse conditions. Their kicking was largely well directed, their chase organised, and they took Ireland through multiple phases.

England’s 21-year-old outhalf Owen Farrell kicked four from six penalties opportunities but there was a great deal more quality to his performance. His punting was well judged and he ensured that when the ball arrived from the skies so did the chasing Englishmen. The visitors were patient and organised and well marshalled by captain Chris Robshaw; few would quibble with his man of the match accolade.

England’s back three were exemplary under the night ball, their midfield assured in the tackle, while the work of the pack took the legs from Ireland long before the end. The visitors had the stronger bench and it showed.