Written by James Price.
England came from behind to beat Ireland 13-10 in a breath-taking game at Twickenham, denying them the chance of the Triple Crown and ending hopes of a Six Nations Grand Slam.
The decisive moment of a compelling encounter arrived with Danny Care’s 57th minute try, enabling Stuart Lancaster’s men to turn a 10-6 deficit into a 13-10 lead that they never relinquished. The win spoiled the party of Brian O’Driscoll, making a record-equalling 139th Test appearance ahead of his looming retirement at the end of the season.
The Red Rose rallied with a display of trademark character to register their fourth successive victory in the fixture. Remarkably, the score had been limited to just 3-0 in England’s favour at half-time as defences reigned, the rivals taking it in turns to trade blows in an absorbing contest.
For the second successive game the magnificent Mike Brown was named man of the match with his run to set up Care’s try the high point of another outstanding afternoon. The Harlequins full-back was influential as England made a bulldozing start.
Farrell conceded a penalty for a late tackle on Murray as the move died out, but once that had been defended the Saracens fly-half landed the first points of the match in the 23rd minute. Farrell struck the left post with a second penalty attempt before England suffered a damaging blow when Billy Vunipola fell awkwardly on his right ankle and was replaced by Ben Morgan.
Just 82 seconds after the interval Ireland raced ahead when Jamie Heaslip sent Rob Kearney darting through a hole at the breakdown on the 22 and the Leinster full-back easily evaded Brown. Sexton converted and added a penalty minutes later, but Farrell, following a great passage of play from the Red Rose that almost saw Burrell squeeze over slashed the deficit to four points. The pivotal moment arrived 16 minutes into the second half with an outstanding try launched by Robshaw’s break through the midfield.
Robshaw fed Harlequins team-mate Brown and just as the full-back was hauled down, Care grabbed his pass and raced in under the posts with Farrell converting. England needed to summon on their depths of character as they repelled a driving maul that showed Ireland were far from finished as an attacking force. Dave Kearney tripped as Ireland staged one final attack and once more the home defence held firm, snuffing out the final throws of Irish resistance.
England’s next test is an even bigger one, against Six Nations holders, Wales, in a fortnight at Twickenham. The Six Nations has been blown open with Ireland, France, Wales and England all on four points having won two games and lost a game each.Tweet