Ireland deny England Slam glory in Dublin

Ireland deny England Slam glory in Dublin

England were not able to complete yet another late rescue act as their 18-match winning streak was halted by Ireland in Dublin.

Ireland battled to a deserved 13-9 victory in Dublin to deny England a second successive Six Nations Grand Slam and bring an end to the record-equalling winning run of Eddie Jones' men.

England matched New Zealand's mark of 18 consecutive victories by a tier-one Test nation last weekend as they wrapped up the championship title by trouncing Scotland.

However, just like the All Blacks in Chicago last year, England saw their lengthy streak halted by Ireland, who had much the better of a scrappy opening period before holding off a predictable response from their visitors in the second half.

An injury-hit Ireland led 10-3 at the interval, Iain Henderson's converted try the least their dominance of possession and territory merited.

England have made a habit of finishing games strongly under Jones, but an improved display after the break was not enough to prevent the Australian overseeing a first defeat since he succeeded Stuart Lancaster in the wake of a dismal 2015 Rugby World Cup campaign.

Ireland's defence held firm throughout, ensuring an England side that scored 61 points last weekend was limited to three penalties from Owen Farrell, with the final whistle sparking jubilant roars from the home supporters packed into the Aviva Stadium.

Already shorn of the influential Conor Murray and Rob Kearney, Ireland suffered another injury blow when Jamie Heaslip rolled his ankle in the warm-up, Peter O'Mahony taking his place as CJ Stander shifted to number eight.

Home skipper Rory Best was then forced off inside 10 minutes for a head injury assessment, but his departure was immediately followed by Jonathan Sexton kicking the first points of the game after England had been penalised amid a predictably frenetic start.

Although the scores were level courtesy of Farrell by the time Best returned, Joe Schmidt's men soon had a more significant advantage.

A late tackle on Sexton from Maro Itoje gave Ireland the platform to attack and, after they had opted to kick to the corner from another penalty deep in England territory, the recalled Henderson powered over off the back of a maul.

England were looking nervous as Keith Earls subsequently streaked down the right flank, only for Kieran Marmion to give up the ball in a promising position.

The visitors briefly threatened when a delightful chip from Farrell was collected by Elliot Daly, but Ireland were good value for their half-time lead.

Farrell reduced his side's arrears with a 51st-minute penalty from distance and England were beginning to gather a hint of momentum as skipper Dylan Hartley exited five minutes later.

Yet Ireland were still ahead as the hour mark passed, amid the usual raft of substitutions, and Sexton - the victim of several heavy hits throughout the contest - duly responded with a similarly impressive kick to make it 13-6.

A productive rolling maul from England resulted in Farrell, briefly moved to fly-half during a cameo from Ben Te'o that was cut short by injury, again trimming Ireland's lead to four points with 13 minutes remaining.

England applied pressure thereafter, but another late rescue act proved beyond them as they suffered a first Six Nations loss since their last visit to Dublin in 2015.


Key Opta stats:

- Ireland are unbeaten at home in the Six Nations in 11 games (W9, D2), their last such defeat coming in 2013 when England visited.
- Ireland have now ended the 18 game winning runs of both England and New Zealand.
- Iain Henderson scored the opening try of the game and has scored a try in each of his last three starts for Ireland.
- England have never beaten Ireland after trailing at half-time in the Six Nations, last overturning a half-time deficit to win against Ireland in the Five Nations in 1996.
- Ireland slotted their last 22 kicks at goal in the Six Nations, missing only their first attempt against Scotland; Jonathan Sexton didn't miss a single kick at goal in the tournament (8/8).
- England failed to score a try for the first time since their last trip to Dublin to face Ireland in 2015; they had crossed the try line in 26 consecutive games between those two matches.
- England have failed to score in their last three away games against Ireland; Delon Armitage was the last England player to score in Dublin against Ireland, in August 2011.


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