London - Two tries inside four second-half minutes from Anthony Watson and
Mike Brown helped England to a 21-10 win over Ireland at Twickenham on
Saturday as they kept alive their bid for a Grand Slam.
England, in Australian coach Eddie Jones' first home game in charge, were 10-6 down before Watson and Brown struck.
Inside centre Owen Farrell kicked England's remaining points.
fly-half Conor Murray's try early in the second half had previously
helped overturn a 6-3 interval deficit, with the rest of their points
kicked by fly-half Jonathan Sexton.
But this defeat left the defending Six Nations champions without a win from their first three games.
had to play the final nine minutes a man down after replacement
scrum-half Danny Care was yellow-carded in a ruck incident.
debutant Josh van de Flier was then held up over the line by
replacement back Elliot Daly, also winning his first cap, and England
then won a relieving penalty from the ensuing Irish scrum.
was England's first match at Twickenham since a 33-13 defeat by
Australia in October saw them become the first host nation to be knocked
out of the World Cup at the group stage.
Jones had riled Ireland
by suggesting their favoured kicking game was not the way he wanted to
play rugby and also by expressing concerns for the health of Sexton, who
has had several concussions in his career.
But it was Sexton who
kicked Ireland into a fifth-minute lead with a 40-metre penalty only for
Farrell to draw England level before another long-range effort went
With neither side threatening a try, England No 8 Billy
Vunipola, the man-of-the-match, almost found a way through with a
blindside break off a ruck in the 23rd minute before being tackled into
touch just short of the line by Murray and flanker CJ Stander.
From a penalty, England saw an attacking line-out move end with skipper Dylan Hartley held up under the posts.
Even worse for England, they were denied a five-metre scrum after the hooker was penalised for a double movement.
However, the hosts soon had an attacking scrum just 10 metres from the Irish line.
series of close-range drives produced another scrum before Jonathan
Joseph, a hat-trick hero against Italy, knocked-on carelessly.
The centre's error was one of several England handling mistakes in the first half.
England did get some reward when Farrell kicked a long-range penalty to give them a narrow half-time advantage.
in the second half Ireland kicked a penalty to touch, rather than have
Sexton go for goal, only for Itoje to steal the resulting line-out.
however, were soon down to 14 men when openside flanker James Haskell
was yellow-carded for a late and high tackle on Murray.
Ireland spurned a kickable penalty chance but this time won the line-out
and Murray did well to dive over for a try off a ruck.
Sexton landed the difficult conversion from out on the right and Ireland led 10-6.
Farrell's third successful penalty from distance cut Ireland's
advantage to a point in a match where Steve Hansen, coach of world
champions New Zealand, was among a 81,826 crowd.
In a change of
tactics England, spreading the ball wide, saw wing Jack Nowell burst
clear before he was hauled down short of the line by Keith Earls.
when the ball came across field, a floated pass from former captain
Chris Robshaw sent left wing Watson in at the opposite corner in the
Farrell missed the conversion but minutes later
England had a second try when, after Vunipola had driven hard, the ball
was spun wide to full-back Brown who made the most of a huge overlap.
This time Farrell converted and England led 21-10.
Ireland almost hit back when only Nowell's desperate tackle on Henshaw prevented a try after a Sexton break.