|Ireland (10) 29|
|Attempts: sheehan 2, henshaw, herring Cons: Sacristan 3 Pen: Sacristan|
|England (6) 16|
|Attempt: Jorge Scam: farrell Feathers: Farrel 3|
Ireland won their fourth Grand Slam by beating England with 14 men in a tense Six Nations final in Dublin.
Two early penalties from Owen Farrell put England ahead before Ireland struck back with a well-worked try from Dan Sheehan.
England’s hopes of an upset were dashed when Freddie Steward was sent off just before half time.
Robbie Henshaw and Rob Herring try both sides of Sheehan’s second game to secure Ireland’s first Grand Slam in five years, winning for the first time in Dublin.
England, much better than their humiliating loss to France at Twickenham last week, scored a deserved second-half try through Jamie George but couldn’t surprise and spoil Ireland’s big day.
Despite being tested by a resilient English side, Ireland, as they have often done under Andy Farrell, found a way to win when they gave talismanic captain Johnny Sexton the perfect send-off in their last Six Nations game. .
The final whistle was greeted with Irish celebrations in a jubilant Aviva Stadium as the home side delivered on their immense promise, having entered the competition as the number one team in the world.
Irish nerves show in first half
With the prospect of being confirmed champions before the kick-off ended in France’s 41-28 win over Wales, the tension inside the Aviva Stadium was palpable from the outset as Ireland planned the dream finish to a memorable campaign. .
But while few gave England much of a chance to spoil the Irish party after France broke records last week, it was the visitors who settled in the quickest.
His reward was two penalties, both scored by Farrell, the second after Alex Dombrandt prevented Johnny Sexton from scoring with a crucial tackle at the other end.
Clearly nervous, Ireland had to wait until the 18th minute for their first goal. But it was a big one when Sexton hit a penalty between the sticks to overtake Ronan O’Gara as the competition’s top scorer.
While Sexton’s record-breaking penalty calmed some nerves, Sheehan’s score produced a massive roar from the Aviva crowd, the hooker crossing after a well-worked play saw Josh van der Flier break through a lineout maul.
With Sheehan giving Ireland a much-needed shot in the arm, things went from bad to worse for England on the cusp of half time when Steward was sent off after colliding with Hugo Keenan.
After an Irish pass went forward, Keenan ducked to pick up the loose ball. The running steward turned sideways at the last moment and Keenan’s head collided with the England full-back’s arm, with referee Jaco Peyper ruling the contact warranted a red card.
Despite their numbers disadvantage, England refused to lie down in the second half, moving within a point when Farrell kicked his third penalty between the posts.
But Ireland managed to regain control and put enough pressure to poke holes in the England defence, with Henshaw able to squeeze through before Sheehan’s second goal seemingly put the hosts out of England’s reach.
Ireland breaks English resistance to seal a famous victory
To their credit, England continued to connect and scored their only try when George crashed out, but after the visitors’ Jack Willis was dropped, replacement Irish hooker Herring stretched on to score his first Six Nations try and complete a famous win for Ireland. .
While England head coach Steve Borthwick may be glad his team have delivered on their promise to show more fight than they did against France, a fourth-place finish is a stark reminder of the task facing Eddie Jones’ successor. .
In contrast, Ireland will now approach the World Cup later this year with gusto as they look to get past the quarter-finals of rugby’s quadrennial masterpiece for the first time.
That’s all to come. For now, Ireland can celebrate retaking their place at the top of the Six Nations.
Ireland: Keenan; Hansen, Henshaw, Aki, Lowe; Sexton (captain), Gibson-Park; Porter, Sheehan, Furlong; Baird, Ryan; O’Mahony, van der Flier, Doris.
Replacements: Herring, Healy, O’Toole, Treadwell, Conan, Murray, R Byrne, O’Brien.
England: Butler; Watson, Slade, Tuilagi, Arundell; Farrell (c), Van Poortvliet; Genge, George, Sinckler, Itoje, Ribbans, Ludlam, Willis, Dombrandt.
Replacements: Walker, M Vunipola, Cole, Isiekwe, B Curry, Mitchell, Smith, Marchant.