England ended Ireland’s Grand Slam hopes in harsh style as they rediscovered a few of their World Cup kind to reignite their own hopes of landing the 6 Countries title.
First-half tries from George Ford and Elliot Daly after Irish protective errors plus 2 conversions and a charge from Owen Farrell offered England a commanding 17 -0 lead.
Ireland struck back with a shot from Robbie Henshaw however with Johnny Sexton uncharacteristically stubborn off the tee, they never ever seriously threatened a comeback.
Luke Cowan-Dickie drove over for England’s third midway through the 2nd half, with replacement Andrew Porter’s late shot no sort of consolation for Ireland.
With Wales at home in a fortnight prior to a trip to Italy, Eddie Jones’ guys will think they can complete the champion in style, although they might need Ireland to do them a favour and beat France in Paris next month.
For the guys in green and their head coach Andy Farrell it was a chastening afternoon, all the optimism created by the wins over Scotland and Wales leaching away in a display that was ponderous until the game was gone.
England started at a genuine lick, Manu Tuilagi punching holes through the middle and going close down the left before Andrew Conway hauled him down.
Sexton then mis-kicked terribly with a simple penalty from 30 metres out and England set up camp once again in the Ireland half.
CJ Stander lost his shirt in a first-half tussle with Maro Itoje
Jonathan Joseph danced through in midfield after a mis-hit clearing kick from Conor Murray as Maro Itoje and CJ Stander ditched in the 22, and England’s forwards hammered away at the Ireland line.
With a charge coming, the men in white shaped to go broad, just for Ford to pop through another kick – and this time it was Jacob Stockdale who dallied, Daly diving onto the ball as Irish hands went to heads.
The scoreboard showed the gulf in between the two sides, England vibrant with ball in hand and relentless in defence, Ireland laboured and error-ridden.
And Sexton’s unpleasant half was intensified when he was penalised for slowing the ball up, Farrell rubbing over his kick to give England their biggest half-time lead over Ireland in 18 years.
England handled to stop an Ireland driving maul from a line-out close in however the pressure kept coming.
England’s scrum, strong throughout, began to dominate and the charges started to install.
Farrell kicked to the corner, the forwards set up the whip from the line-out and Cowan-Dickie peeled off with Sam Underhill and Jonny Might driving him on to roll over for England’s third shot.
What the coaches stated
England head coach Eddie Jones: “We had a good preparation, we were constantly looking at this game and the next as the ones we had to be at our finest.
” We were disappointed with the second half, but when you are playing against a side like Ireland you expect them to get some ownership.
Ireland head coach Andy Farrell: “I believe the scoreline flattered us a little bit.
What did the experts think?
Former England scrum-half Matt Dawson: “It’s a wonderful win for England, they were dominant throughout the whole game. The tactics in the very first half were spot on, however it was a bit weird they didn’t continue that after half-time and put the game away.
” They mored than happy to let Ireland have the ball and safeguard. They were really comfortable.”
Former England hooker Brian Moore: “Ireland’s half-backs Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray have actually been world class for a very long time however I don’t believe I’ve ever seen them play as terribly, and definitely kick as badly. That developed a platform for England who were sharp and really could have scored more tries.
” England’s line speed was great throughout, they won the majority of the collisions and got on top in the set-piece.”
Former Ireland number 8 Jamie Heaslip: “If you keep showing the exact same picture against a side like England, they’ll penalize you. Make standard mistakes in the back-field, you will get penalized. If you wish to win a championship, you can’t make those mistakes.”
Replacements: Slade for Tuilagi (74), Heinz for Youngs (58), Genge for Marler (58), Cowan-Dickie for George (52), Stuart for Sinckler (69), Launchbury for Kruis (60), Ewels for Lawes (58), Earl for Curry (66).
Ireland: Larmour; Conway, Henshaw, Aki, Stockdale; Sexton, Murray; Healy, Herring, Furlong, Toner, Ryan, O’Mahony, van der Flier, Stander.
Replacements: Earls for Larmour (64), R. Byrne for Conway (66), Cooney for Murray (55), Kilcoyne for Healy (26), Kelleher for Herring (60), Porter for Furlong (58), Dillane for Toner (60), Doris for van der Flier (60).
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Touch judges: Romain Poite & Alexandre Ruiz
TMO: Marius Jonker
Still to come in the Six Nations …
Saturday, 7 March: Ireland v Italy, England v Wales.
Sunday, 8 March: Scotland v France.
Saturday, 14 March: Wales v Scotland, Italy v England, France v Ireland.