England's sweet chariot marches on

Sat, 17 Mar 2012 00:00
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England continued their resurgence under the guidance of stand-in coach Stuart Lancaster with an utterly commanding 30-9 thumping of Ireland at Twickenham on Saturday.

England continued their resurgence under the guidance of stand-in coach Stuart Lancaster with an utterly commanding 30-9 thumping of Ireland at Twickenham on Saturday.

Smashed! Ireland were smashed as you may never have seen an international team smashed before.

From a team in total disarray after last year's World Cup, England have grown into a genuine international force - finishing second only to the Grand Slam-winning Welsh side in this year's Six Nations championship.

It was a huge statement by England and will once again raise the stock of Lancaster - as he awaits the decision of the Rugby Football Union over who will become the full-time coach.

For the English fans it was a joyous occasion, as they repeatedly sung the words of the 19th century African-American spiritual song: 'Swing low sweet chariot.'

You have heard old men saying things like 'Test matches are won and lost in the front row', and you have probably thought that it no longer applied. It certainly applied at Twickenham on a drizzly St Patrick's Day in 2012 when Ireland came to play and got smashed.

They were in trouble in the first half but hanging in there at 9-6 - three Owen Farrell penalties to two Jonathan Sexton penalties. But the writing was on the wall for two of England's penalty goals came from scrum infringements.

Ireland were already in trouble by then, penalised three times at the scrums but when Mike Ross went off holding his ribs to be replaced by young Tom Court, Ireland fell apart. In the second half they were penalised four times at scrums and had a penalty try awarded against them. But the effect on Ireland was worse than that. The pressure from the scrums rattled the whole side and they were probably lucky that they lost by only 21 points.

It was not a day for expansive rugby. The match was centred on the scrum and everything revolved around that. There were in fact in 80 minutes only three good runs - one by Keith Earls in each half and one by Tom Croft at the start of the second half when Ben Foden started a counterattack near his own 22 and the ball squirted out of Croft's untouched hands in the Irish 22.

For the rest the game was a mixture of scrums, errors and kicking at goal. Even England's second try was scrum generated.

England were leading 22-9 with seven minutes to play when Ireland were again penalised at a dilapidated scrum. Ben Youngs tapped and sprinted past Tomas O'Leary to score.

The penalty try began with a clever chip by Farrell down towards the Irish corner on his right. O'Leary carried over and conceded the five-metre scrum that was such an engine of Irish destruction. The scrum fell apart four times before producing a penalty. England chose another scrum and it was then that the referee wandered off to award a penalty try.

Man of the Match: The scrum was the thing that won the match. It had to be a member of the front row and the most effective of the three was Dan Cole who destroyed Cian Healy. Dan Cole is our Man of the Match.

Moment of the Match: We are giving it to the scrumming down in Ireland's left corner, five metres from their line that took the score to 19-9 and ensured and English victory.

Villain of the Match: Nobody.

The scorers:

For England:
Tries:
Penalty try, Youngs
Cons: Farrell
Pens: Farrell 6

For Ireland:
Pens:
Sexton 3

Teams:

England: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 David Strettle, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Chris Robshaw (captain), 6 Tom Croft, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Mouritz Botha, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Alex Corbisiero.
Replacements: 16 Lee Mears, 17 Matt Stevens, 18 Tom Palmer, 19 Phil Dowson, 20 Ben Youngs, 21 Charlie Hodgson, 22 Mike Brown.

Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Keith Earls, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Andrew Trimble, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Stephen Ferris, 5 Donnacha Ryan, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Rory Best (captain), 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Tom Court, 18 Mike McCarthy, 19 Peter O'Mahony, 20 Tomas O'Leary, 21 Ronan O'Gara, 22 Fergus McFadden.

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Jérôme Garces (France), Neil Paterson (Scotland)
TMO: Jim Yuille (Scotland)

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Sat, 13 February 2016
Treviso v Cardiff Blues 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
France v Ireland 14h25 Paris
Sale Sharks v Exeter Chiefs 14h30 AJ Bell Stadium
Gloucester v Harlequins 15h00 Kingsholm
Northampton Saints v London Irish 15h00 Franklin's Gardens
Worcester Warriors v Bath 15h00 Sixways
Wales v Scotland 16h50 Cardiff
Sun, 14 February 2016
Italy v England 14h00 Rome
Saracens v Wasps 16h00 Allianz Park
Munster v Ospreys 17h00 Irish Independent Park
Mon, 15 February 2016
NMMU-Madibaz v Maties 14h45 Port Elizabeth
CUT-Ixias v UCT-Ikeys 16h30 Bloemfontein
UKZN-Impi v Fort Hare 16h30 Pietermaritzburg
TUT v UWC 16h30 Pretoria
UP-Tuks v Shimlas 16h30 Pretoria
NWU-Pukke v UJ 17h00 Potchefstroom
Thu, 18 February 2016
TUT v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Pretoria
Fort Hare v Wits 16h30 East London
Fri, 19 February 2016
Zebre v Leinster 22h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
RESULT SCORE
Fri, 12 February 2016
Scarlets v Edinburgh 22 | 21
Newcastle Falcons v Leicester Tigers 26 | 14
Leinster v Zebre 52 | 0
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 13 | 10
Thu, 11 February 2016
Dragons v Connacht 21 | 26
Mon, 08 February 2016
UCT-Ikeys v Shimlas 17 | 23
UJ v NMMU-Madibaz 19 | 12
Maties v CUT-Ixias 40 | 0
UWC v UKZN-Impi 13 | 24
Wits v TUT 53 | 0
UP-Tuks v NWU-Pukke 15 | 38
Sun, 07 February 2016
Ireland v Wales 16 | 16
Exeter Chiefs v Saracens 11 | 14
London Irish v Worcester Warriors 20 | 13
Sat, 06 February 2016
Scotland v England 9 | 15
SIX NATIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
England 1 1 0 0 2
France 1 1 0 0 2
Ireland 1 0 1 0 1
Wales 1 0 1 0 1
Italy 1 0 0 1 0
Scotland 1 0 0 1 0
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