Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

England end on a high

Stuart Lancaster strengthened his claim to be appointed England's permanent head coach after Ireland were beaten 30-9 in the climax to the 2012 RBS 6 Nations at Twickenham.

Owen Farrell kicked 20 points in a near-flawless afternoon, while referee Nigel Owens awarded a penalty try against an Irish scrum that was obliterated from start to finish.

Ben Youngs completed the rout with an opportunist late try as England finished championship runners-up, muting awful Ireland's St Patrick's Day celebrations in the process.

England established their scrummaging dominance from the outset, earning a penalty from the first set piece which Farrell converted in the third minute.

Rob Kearney's 45-metre drop goal attempt had crashed back off the post before a Jonathan Sexton penalty brought the visitors level but England edged ahead with two more penalties from Farrell, the first a reward from another dominant scrum performance.

For all their scrum strength, England were struggling against Ireland's ferocity at the breakdown and twice they were counter-rucked, the second time allowing Sexton to land a penalty.

After the break, Ben Foden ran back a poor kick and then fed Tom Croft who galloped into the Ireland 22 but, just as he looked for the try-scoring pass to one of two men on his inside, the ball slipped clear but the England scrum, led by Alex Corbisiero, earned immediate redemption by shoving Ireland back and winning a penalty for Farrell to convert.

Sexton responded before Ireland's scrum-half Tomas O'Leary committed the grave error of carrying the ball back over his own line after sweeping up a Farrell grubber kick.

England's scrum had a golden attacking platform. They drove Ireland back and referee Nigel Owens blew for a penalty just before Tom Palmer touched the ball down.

Chris Robshaw opted for another scrum, England drove on, Ben Morgan peeled off the back and the Irish back row dived on top of him to concede a penalty try and Youngs, who has struggled for form through the championship, applied the coup de grace for England with a try from a quick tap penalty that had been earned by his dominant forward pack.


From Belfast Telegraph