England's sweet chariot marches on

Sat, 17 Mar 2012 00:00
Large 2511 0 0 0 2662692
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:
Penalty try, Youngs
Cons: Farrell
Pens: Farrell 6

For Ireland:
Sexton 3


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)

There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 16 October 2015
Blue Bulls v Western Province 17h10 Pretoria
Connacht v Zebre 18h30 Sportsground
Glasgow Warriors v Dragons 18h35 Scotstoun
Scarlets v Leinster 18h35 Parc y Scarlets
Worcester Warriors v Northampton Saints 18h45 Sixways
Edinburgh v Ulster 18h45 BT Murrayfield
Harlequins v Wasps 18h45 Twickenham Stoop
Newcastle Falcons v Gloucester 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 17 October 2015
Munster v Cardiff Blues 12h30 Irish Independent Park
Bath v Exeter Chiefs 13h00 Recreation Ground
Saracens v Sale Sharks 13h00 Allianz Park
Treviso v Ospreys 13h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
South Africa v Wales 15h00 Twickenham
Golden Lions v Free State Cheetahs 15h05 Johannesburg
New Zealand v France 19h00 Millennium Stadium
Sun, 18 October 2015
Ireland v Argentina 12h00 Millennium Stadium
London Irish v Leicester Tigers 14h15 Madejski Stadium
Australia v Scotland 15h00 Twickenham
Sun, 11 October 2015
United States v Japan 18 | 28
France v Ireland 9 | 24
Italy v Romania 32 | 22
Argentina v Namibia 64 | 19
Sat, 10 October 2015
England v Uruguay 60 | 3
Australia v Wales 15 | 6
Golden Lions v Griquas 29 | 19
Samoa v Scotland 33 | 36
Free State Cheetahs v Sharks 34 | 34
Fri, 09 October 2015
New Zealand v Tonga 47 | 9
Western Province v EP Kings 45 | 14
Pumas v Blue Bulls 24 | 25
Wed, 07 October 2015
Namibia v Georgia 16 | 17
South Africa v United States 64 | 0
Tue, 06 October 2015
Fiji v Uruguay 47 | 15
Team P W D L Pts
Ireland 5 4 0 1 8
England 5 4 0 1 8
Wales 5 4 0 1 8
France 5 2 0 3 4
Italy 5 1 0 4 2
Scotland 5 0 0 5 0