These young fans are confident of an Irish Grand Slam

12 March, 2018, 09:19 | Author: Clint Gray
  • Players were seen rolling around on the floor and stretching during the practice

It's back to the drawing board for England, for Eddie Jones and for his grand plan to win the 2019 Rugby World Cup, and while there was no need for an overreaction after the Scotland defeat a fortnight ago, alarm bells should now be ringing loud and clear.

A third Six Nations title in five years marks a period of success in the history of Irish rugby the like of which hasn't been known since the late 40s and early 50s, and to do so they had to win four matches out of four.

Then England reduced the gap to 19-16 with a superb try.

We'll be giddily discussing how they can get the job done once again in a live Six Nations Show at the East Side Tavern on Leeson Street, Dublin on Thursday evening.

"The shoe is on the other foot from previous year [when Ireland ended England's Grand Slam hopes with victory in Dublin on the final weekend] and I am sure they will be licking their lips".

"But we know that the biggest challenge is ahead, still. They haven't lost at Twickenham under Eddie Jones".

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Yet, in beating Scotland, not only did this remorseless Irish machine register an 11th successive win at Test level and a third successive bonus point win at home despite not firing on all cylinders, but they extended their unbeaten home record over five years under Schmidt to 15 matches.

Scotland had their chances but weren't as accurate, and butchered at least two tries.

Ireland blamed the bus arriving at Murrayfield 15 minutes late on their 27-22 loss to Scotland past year - and captain Best insisted his side have learned the hard way how to clear unforeseen hurdles. It is going to take us some time. The Irish stayed undefeated with a four-try bonus point at Lansdowne Road. However, the throw-in wasn't caught.

When the first kickable penalty of the match was awarded, instead of taking the three points on offer, Johnny Sexton chose to kick to the corner but unfortunately Rory Best's throw didn't connect with his target and Scotland lifted the pressure without conceding any points.

France got the better of England in this respect, with openside flanker Camara winning some key penalties while also showing his athleticism and strong ball-carrying ability in open play.

Jacob Stockdale took that opportunity in the 21st minute when he picked off a wild Peter Horne pass to run in from 55 metres untouched.

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Scotland bore more gifts for the hosts.

Ireland now seems to have the ability to turn games around directly prior to half time as they did against Wales a fortnight ago at the same venue. A nice flick-on by center Garry Ringrose, playing only his second match this year, freed fullback Rob Kearney.

Yet it was not until six minutes from time that wing Jonny May crossed the French try-line.

That score was a massive boost mentally for Ireland who, despite not firing on all cylinders, went into the dressing room 14-3 up. A typical Conor Murray score from close range where he burrowed through and stretched for the try-scoring line to touch down, his 12 Ireland try.

"If that's how they want to do it, we've got to adapt to that".

The resulting maul was roared to the rafters and the Scottish defence was powerless to prevent sub hooker Cronin from crashing over.

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"We need to make sure that when we have these experiences that are tough, it goes into our work to improve".


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