England hold on to beat Ireland in pulsating encounter

mike brown

A superb defensive effort in the last ten minutes saw England hold on to their slender three point lead and deny Ireland a Triple Crown, the hosts winning 13-10 at Twickenham on a cold, crisp afternoon.

The momentum swung both ways in a pulsating game that really could have contained double the points it did in the end.


The first half had been a tit-for-tat affair, with both sides threatening the try line only for stubborn defence and, at times, silly errors, seeing them fall short. In the end an Owen Farrell penalty was the only score of the first forty minutes, and the home side went into the break 3-0 ahead.

The second half burst into life immediately, Jamie Heaslip’s pass and Rob Kearney’s beautiful line sending the fullback in untouched under the posts. A penalty a few minutes later from Johnny Sexton extended Ireland’s lead to 10-3.

England hit back soon after, however, with something special. A seemingly aimless passage of play sparked into life when Chris Robshaw got on the outside of his man, before offloading smartly inside to Mike Brown. The fullback, who looked typically dangerous every time he touched the ball, rounded one man before being caught by the final defender.

Brown somehow managed to throw a no-look offload, however, and Danny Care nabbed the ball and scooted in to score under the posts. As had happened earlier for Ireland, Owen Farrell converted before adding another penalty moments later.

Mike Brown was the stand out performer for England, an assertion backed up by the IBM TryTracker. His 88 metres made, four defenders beaten and three gainline breaks were crucial to England’s win, with Jonny May and Dylan Hartley also weighing in with important contributions.

For Ireland, Gordon D’Arcy was staunch in defence, leading his side’s charge with 12 tackles made, but along with midfield partner Brian O’Driscoll failed to unlock what was a determined English defensive effort.

The last act of the game was somewhat poignant, as some stoic English defence forced a final turnover from an Irish rolling maul, such a potent weapon in the Championship to date. The whistle went and England recorded a vital win that keeps them in the hunt for the 2014 Six Nations title.

Keep up to date with all the latest stats on match days with the IBM TryTracker.

8 thoughts on “England hold on to beat Ireland in pulsating encounter

  1. Jamie, I think it’s harsh to use the term “silly errors” in your article. This was not like France yesterday who at times were making schoolboy mistakes, this was forced errors from both sides because of the intensity of the match. The obvious desire by both sides to win well rather than avoid defeat, which has been a feature of many previous 6N matches, made this a match to remember.

  2. Roy
    Yes it was a great match but all international rugby is intense.Our backplay in the first 10 minutes was shocking.Our backs have no idea of how to function as a backline -just compare our backs with the ab’s and oz.In terms of attack do Catt and Farrell justify their salaries??

    1. Please correct me if I’m wrong but I thought that Farrell was mainly in as defence coach? If that is the case I am happy with the work he is doing in that regard. I may be mistaken though. I do agree with you on catt to some degree, although I feel there has been improvement in our back pay.

    2. First home international for our young wings so think they deserve a bit of slack. It also looked to me as if communication was a problem simply because they couldn’t make themselves heard, rather than they weren’t communicating.

      But for the opportunities that weren’t finished lets acknowledge that the on that was taken was exceptional. Vision and communication from Brown up in the line (something I’ve been hoping to see him do), great offload from Robshaw, great line from Brown and excellent support running to convert it.

  3. Fantastic game. Launchbury and Robshaw standouts for me in the pack, but Mike Brown is something else. So many great fullbacks in the tournament at the moment.

    Our midfield does still has questions around it. It’s inevitable to an extent with new guys in but the overlaps we missed were inexcusable.

    Twelvetrees hasn’t been as impressive as we’d hoped, the handling errors in particular have been frustrating, but I wonder how much credit he gets for Farrell coming out of his shell.

    If Tuilagi’s match fit he plays, some of the stuff I’ve seen suggesting otherwise is ridiculous. But while there’s no doubt Burrell has been better than 36, I think there’s a danger Farrell-Burrell-Manu might take us back to the 2013 6 nations England. Ie not scoring tries. I don’t think 36 is even a much better distributor than Burrell, from a technical/skill level point of view. It’s more of a playing style difference.

    Be really interesting to see which direction Lancaster takes, especially with Burgess casting a bit of a shadow over it all now.

  4. Ha! the momentum graph sums it up quite nicely. The pendulum was certainly swinging. Unfortunately so was the chariot.

  5. I think this back line would click given time.

    I’m not convinced by 36, but neither am I convinced that Burrell would be ideal at 12 with Manu in at 13.

    I think Ford, Farrell and Tuilagi could work however, just to chuck a spanner in there.

    Back to the game though, lack of cutting edge for England (and indeed Ireland) in the first half, backed up by solid defence. The pundits were right that it was one of the most entertaining 3-0 first halfs.

    A bit of naivety from England’s backs at times, but they were no worse than the far more experienced Irish backs. Nowell played well, as did May, and neither have done their International careers any harm.

    Wales will be an intriguing game.

  6. Think that Jonny May will be disappointed with his finishing. There’s the obvious drop over the line that should have been finished. If he holds that with two hands he scores.

    Then there was a chance out on the left wing in the second half. Everybody in the stands thought he was in, and I think if he backed himself he’d have made it, but he cut back inside and got swamped by the cover defense.

    He cuts back inside a lot and often makes good ground, but he seems to have a tendency to do it too much. With his pace it would be nice to see him back himself once in a while.

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