Six Nations

Ireland subdue England

2015-03-01 18:57
Robbie Henshaw (AFP)

Dublin - Robbie Henshaw's first Test try has kept alive defending Six Nations champions Ireland's hopes of the Grand Slam on Sunday as the Irish beat England 19-9 at Lansdowne Road for a national record-equalling 10th success in a row.

The 21-year-old man-of-the-match's second-half try -- allied to 14 points by Jonathan Sexton -- ended a run of four successive defeats to the English, whose own hopes of the Grand Slam disappeared with this defeat, and could see the Irish retain the Five/Six Nations trophy for the first time since 1948/49.

"My first try coming against England is a dream that you daren't even think will come to reality," said Henshaw. "It was good chance to use my Gaelic football skills and get it down."

Coach Joe Schmidt was left beaming at matching the 10-Test winning record, adding: "I'm incredibly proud of the lads and the way they defended.

"It is probably our biggest win and is a little bit special as only one other Irish team has done that before."

His England counterpart Stuart Lancaster decried his team's ill-discipline and tactical naivety.

"In the first half we were masters of our own destiny. We played in the wrong areas at times and our discipline wasn't good enough and the timing of the try at the start of the second half was crucial," he told BBC.

"For us we need to understand where it went wrong and learn from it - we now need to focus on our two big games at home."

Sexton landed a penalty in the third minute pumping his arms in celebration on his way back to the halfway line to give the hosts early momentum.

The Ireland fly-half tested the English defence immediately afterwards with a delightful cross kick into the far corner and earned the Irish a scrum five metres out.

Hooker Rory Best looked to have gone over the line under the posts but he was held up and from the subsequent scrum the hosts went close to the line again through Rob Kearney but as consolation earned a penalty which Sexton converted.

England steadied the ship as George Ford reduced the deficit with a drop-goal in the 12th minute.

However, he missed a chance to draw them level when a penalty drifted wide of the post after Jordi Murphy, who had come in for the injured Jamie Heaslip, had been penalised.

England won another penalty but captain Chris Robshaw opted not to go for goal despite being within a kickeable distance and paid the price as Devin Toner won the resulting lineout allowing the Irish to clear the danger.

The visitors regained possession but Ireland somehow managed to turn the ball over despite being down to 14 as Sean O'Brien's injury woes continued when he went down -- he had to be replaced by Tommy O'Donnell after just 25 minutes.

O'Donnell was immediately in the thick of the action burrowing away as the Irish entered the England 22 but the hosts came away with nothing as Peter O'Mahony was penalised for not releasing the ball.

However back came the Irish and Sexton won them a penalty with a cracking tackle on Luther Burrell which earned him a pat on the shoulder from captain Paul O'Connell. The fly-half duly slotted it over for 9-3 after 30 minutes.

Sexton was like a man possessed as he put in another extraordinary tackle on Ford and Anthony Watson conceded a penalty picking up the ball yards offside. Sexton, though, sent his penalty just wide for Ireland's first miss of the championship in 16 attempts.

He made no mistake when called upon the next time as he extended Ireland's lead to 12-3 in the 48th minute.

The roar that greeted those points was nothing compared to those when Henshaw outjumped Alex Goode to touch down from Conor Murray's astute box kick, Sexton converting beautifully from the sideline for 19-3.

However, that was it for Sexton as he had to go off with an apparent hamstring problem and was replaced by Ian Madigan.

Ford got England's first points of the half on the board as the hour mark approached with a penalty to make it 19-6 and added another three points as the game neared the final 10 minutes but the Irish held firm for a deserved win.

Read more on:    ireland  |  england  |  six nations  |  jonathan sexton  |  rugby

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