The last game of the six nations weekend was England vs Ireland, and this is a match with silverware, the millennium trophy. Both teams had something to prove. England, though they have two wins from two, the match against Italy last week was far from convincing. Ireland had a humiliating defeat against France.
Going into the match, though I wanted an England win, I feared than Ireland would had a greater hunger, after all, England did win two weeks ago.
In the first few minutes, Bowe for Ireland scored a quite spectacular try following passes to the wing and a footrace following a kick. The Irishman grounded the ball but this was not converted. 5-0 to Ireland.
In the 10th minute, Johnny Wilkinson saw that the referee was playing advantage to England and tried for a drop goal. It was not successful, but Wilkinson had a penalty in hand. Here the ball bounced off the posts into Irish hands.
Ireland weren't able to capitalise and England piled on the pressure. Wilkinson chipped the ball over, but nobody got up in time to put the ball down.
In the 16th minute, England got on the scoreboard with a penalty kick from Wilkinson. 3-5.
In the 23rd minute, Ireland was awarded a penalty as an English front row player popped up when going forward. The Irish kick in the torrential rain was short.
In the 30th minute Ireland kicked a successful penalty. This was from what (to me) looked to be a questionable decision about the tackler not releasing.
Soon after, Ireland had another break, the ball went loose, and thankfully Danny Care could get back to touch down and hold the score to 3-8.
In the 37th minute, Wilkinson kicked a penalty to bring the score to 6-8.
A decent lineout for England with a short throw went nowhere. The play went to the ground, and the ball turned over.
Ireland attacked in the last minute of the half, but England stopped the attack and kicked to touch. 6-8 at half time.
The second half began with a penalty kick for each side, first Ireland, then England a few minutes later. Neither was successful.
In the 50th minute England came.under pressure. Ireland did not get quick ball, and England was awarded a penalty, which they used to remove the danger.
In the 54th minute there was a controversial decision, an Irish player infringed for the second time (the first was not addressed by the ref), England players, including Haskell and others reacted and the penalty was reversed. Immediately afterwards, Ireland scored a try, and the score went to 6-13.
England replied with and attack on Ireland, and earned a scrum at five metres. The scrum took several attempts, and eventually a penalty was awarded for a collapsed scrum - not a penalty try, though. England applied pressure and scored a try directly under the posts, after a tricky TMO decision. The try was duly converted and it became all square at 13-13, with a little under 20 minutes to play.
Brian O'Driscoll received a big knock to his head from the knee of a team-mate, he looked a bit dazed and as a precaution he was stretchered off.
In the 66th minute, Ireland gave away a penalty for offside. Wilkinson kicked and missed. The score remained at 13-13.
In the 70th minute, Care made a run, the ball found Wilkinson who put in a drop goal. England went ahead for the first time, 16-13.
So far, the standard is better than it was against Italy, but it doesn't currently look enough to counter France.
In the 74th minute, Ireland's Tommy Bowe nipped through the England line, having received the ball from a line-out. It was a great try, and the conversion took the score to 16-20. England would need a try or two penalties.
England applied the pressure, and metres from Ireland's line the attack collapsed and Ireland won the scrum. As is usual in the modern game, the ball was not straight, and Ireland got the ball. The ball found touch and England had a line-out.
There was a series of messy plays and the ball was turned over, 16-20 to Ireland.
So, the millennium trophy to Ireland, and only France can still win the Grand Slam. Ireland is still in contention for the triple crown.
|Table Built: Saturday, 27 February 2010 18:00 UK|