It proved a miserable St Patrick's Day for the Irish at Twickenham as the men in green were well and truly put to the sword by a resurgent England side in a rain-soaked RBS Six Nations encounter.
Ireland went into the match with a good record against the 'Auld Enemy' at the home of rugby and expectations were high that they could produce something special on St Patrick’s Day. But it was not to be as England’s total dominance at the scrum proved the deciding factor, with a penalty try and a Ben Youngs touchdown, backed by 20 points from the boot of Owen Farrell, seeing them romp to a 30-9 victory. Jonny Sexton replied with three penalties for Declan Kidney’s men.
The first half was a tight affair with the greasy conditions making it difficult for both sides to play anything remotely resembling fluent rugby. The English scrum was dominant from the outset, winning a penalty with the first put-in of the game on three minutes which Owen Farrell duly converted.
Jonny Sexton opened Ireland’s account on 16 minutes after Brad Barritt was penalised for offside. Ireland looked the hungrier side in the earlier stages, but a series of errors ensured that they were unable to add to their tally.
However, two more Farrell penalties, both as a result of infringements in the scrum, saw the home side move six points ahead, before another Sexton penalty on the stroke of half-time reduced the arrears to three at the break.
Farrell and Sexton exchanged penalties early in the second half, before a spell of sustained pressure close to the Irish line saw referee Nigel Owens contentiously award a penalty try to the home side. It proved the turning point as Ireland went to pieces and England asserted total control.
Farrell added another three-pointer before Ben Youngs took a quick tap penalty and crashed over almost unopposed from eight yards to seal the victory on 74 minutes. Farrell missed the conversion but added another penalty near the end as England ran out worthy winners.