England outmuscle Ireland

2012-03-17 21:11

London - England's forwards powered their team to second place in the Six Nations with a comprehensive 30-9 win over Ireland on Saturday.

Ireland coped better with the rain at Twickenham and did much of the running but its scrum disintegrated under pressure. England was awarded a penalty try midway through the second half for Ireland's persistent collapsing on its own line and replacement Ben Youngs added a second try from his own quick tap penalty.

Both teams struggled with the wet ball, repeatedly knocking on when they tried to build in the loose. There were more than 30 turnovers.

Flyhalf Owen Farrell kicked 20 points, missing only the second conversion, to help boost interim coach Stuart Lancaster's chances of being asked to lead the side on a permanent basis.

Having led England to three away wins for the first time in a Six Nations campaign and taken the side to its biggest win over Ireland since 2008, Lancaster has made it hard for the Rugby Football Union to contemplate appointing anyone else.

Former South Africa and Italy coach Nick Mallet is widely reported to be the biggest rival to the relatively inexperienced Lancaster.

Ireland initially coped better with Saturday's rain, pumping in high kicks that proved difficult to deal with. But coach Declan Kidney's team truly looked for alternatives only late in the game, when it was on the back foot.

England was 12-9 ahead when replacement Tomas O'Leary carried the ball over his own line and was tagged by fullback Ben Foden. A roar went up around Twickenham as the home fans recognized the opening and, after tiring of repeatedly resetting the scrum, referee Nigel Owens awarded England five points for Ireland's illegal attempts to hold things up.

Farrell's conversion made it 19-9 and the game was effectively settled.

Youngs, who replaced Lee Dickson after the scrumhalf's most testing match yet for his country, stretched the lead with a smartly taken tap and run.