Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby Six Nations

England trounce Ireland 21-10 in Six Nations clash at Twickenham - player ratings

England set up a potential RBS 6 Nations championship decider against Wales by powering past Ireland 21-10 at Twickenham.

Anthony Watson and Mike Brown's second-half tries ensured England's third win under Eddie Jones, teeing up a mouthwatering battle with Wales at Twickenham on Saturday, March 12.

England's 100 per cent record leaves them still in line for a first Grand Slam since 2003 with France to play last, though Warren Gatland's unbeaten Wales will provide a huge test of those credentials.

England wasted a hatful of half-chances to carry a slender 6-3 lead into the break in the RBS 6 Nations clash with Ireland at Twickenham.

Sloppiness in possession undid much goood work for Eddie Jones' men, who led at half-time thanks to two Owen Farrell penalties to one from Johnny Sexton.

England captain Dylan Hartley came up just short of a try, with inaccuracy denying his side elsewhere.

Conor Murray and CJ Stander denied Billy Vunipola a try with a fine last-ditch double tackle, after the England number eight had rumbled blind off a driving maul.

England sustained the attack however, Devin Toner penalised for a deliberate knock-on preceding Vunipola's break.

But the hosts were denied the game's first try, with England captain Dylan Hartley judged to have been held up short of the line.

Ireland failed to clear their lines from a penalty, Sexton missing touch with Mike Brown rising high to tap the ball and keep it in play.

England's sloppiness in possession handed the visitors several further chances to clear, but still Joe Schmidt's men could not snuff out the danger.

Jonathan Joseph's knock-on attempting a tap-pass to Anthony Watson allowed Ireland finally to clear - only for yet another mistake to hand England an easy penalty.

Stander gifted England a shot at goal, entering a ruck from the side, and this time Farrell converted, to nudge the hosts into a 6-3 lead.

England wasted yet more prime possession and territory when Brown's tap-pass to Joseph strayed forward.

England quickly doubled their try count after the break when Brown capped a flowing move by coasting home on the right flank.

England's twin playmakers Ford and Farrell again combined well to whip the ball wide at speed, capitalising on the overlap for Brown to scoot home.

Farrell landed the tricky conversion to push England into a 21-10 lead.

Ireland broke quickly from the restart, Henshaw racing down the right flank.

The Connacht centre stretched for the line under a last-ditch challenge from Jack Nowell, only to lose the ball attempting to ground for a try.

Ireland refused to be cowed, debutant lock Ultan Dillane bashing through England's defensive line before exchanging passes with Van der Flier.

Murray was forced to leave the field after Brown was judged to have accidentally kicked the Ireland scrum-half in the face.

England's replacement nine Danny Care was sin-binned for killing the ball, and Ireland opted for a five-metre scrum from the penalty.

Ireland flanker Van der Flier was denied a try, judged to be held up over the line by Elliot Daly.

A man light for a second spell, this time England refused to buckle. Ireland threw what they had left at the hosts, only to be rebuffed



Ireland player ratings

Rob Kearney: Solid enough effort but appears past his peak. 6/10

Andrew Trimble: Struggling to stay on the Test match pace. 5

Robbie Henshaw: Unlucky not to claim a try but quiet otherwise. 6

Stuart McCloskey: Promising and physical debut. 7

Keith Earls: Looked sharp on the wing. 7

Johnny Sexton: Fended off the expected barrage but not at his best. 6

Conor Murray: Lacked the usual sharpness. 6

Jack McGrath: Scrummaged well. 7

Rory Best: Performed well but could impose his captaincy more. 7

Mike Ross: Cemented the scrum well enough. 6

Donnacha Ryan: Put himself about. 6

Devin Toner: Gave away too many penalties. 5

CJ Stander: Threw himself into everything. 6

Josh van der Flier: Not overawed on debut but not outstanding either. 6

Jamie Heaslip: Below the standards he sets for himself. 7


Richardt Strauss (for Best, 70): Bested at the scrum. 5

Cian Healy (for McGrath 59): Could not get onto the front foot. 5

Nathan White (for Ross, 59): Finding it tough going now. 5

Ultan Dillane (for Ryan, 65): Hugely promising cameo. 7

Rhys Ruddock (for Stander, 66): Gritty as ever. 6

Eoin Reddan (for Murray, 70): Unable to alter outcome. 6

Ian Madigan (for Sexton, 76): Little chance to strut his stuff. 6

Simon Zebo (for McCloskey, 63): Solid effort. 6


England player ratings

MIKE BROWN: Ran in England's second try and attacked with trademark aggression. 7

ANTHONY WATSON: Apart from his touchdown, it was a quiet afternoon. 6

JONATHAN JOSEPH: Defended well but unable to follow up his hat-trick in Rome. 6

OWEN FARRELL: Started badly but grew in stature and England benefited from his playmaking at 12. 7

JACK NOWELL: Brilliant try-saving tackle on Robbie Henshaw helped England home. 7

GEORGE FORD: Best performance of the Six Nations for a player who had been out of form. 7

BEN YOUNGS: Will be hard to shift from the starting jersey after this high-class display. 8

JOE MARLER: Conceded needless penalties and Mako Vunipola offers more around the pitch. 6

DYLAN HARTLEY: Another player who produced his best outing of the Six Nations yet. 7

DAN COLE: At times in the second half he appeared to be back to his best. 6

MARO ITOJE: A full debut to remember - the Saracens lock has a long future ahead of him. 7

GEORGE KRUIS: Continues to confirm his presence as England's premier second row. 6

CHRIS ROBSHAW: Showed vision and a neat pass to tee-up Watson's try. 6

JAMES HASKELL: Sin-binned for a dangerous tackle, but it looked a harsh yellow. 6

BILLY VUNIPOLA: Outstanding shift from the number eight who rampaged around Twickenham. 9


JAMIE GEORGE: Late arrival for Hartley. 6

MAKO VUNIPOLA: Made an impact. 6


JACK CLIFFORD: Did well, won an important turnover. 6

DANNY CARE: Sin-binned. 5

ELLIOT DALY: Unable to cut loose. 6

Belfast Telegraph Digital


From Belfast Telegraph