As an Englishman with an Irish wife, Ireland vs England in the 6 Nations has always been a possible grounds for divorce. Whether is was a bad TMO decision, a ref not seeing a forward pass or simply a yellow card ruining a great match…we always found something to debate. Often our debates started with me sleeping of the sofa and ended with flowers and promise never to swear during a rugby match ever again.
But this weekend something changed…
This weekends winning performance by England in Dublin I’ve thankfully found all of our arguments have been put to one side and quite simply the white flag was raised by my wife.
It was evident England had won the match by pure power play, skill and planning. Ireland didn’t have a plan B nor the physicality to match the England team both in the scrum and at the breakdown. Some of the key Irish players like Sexton and Murray either under performed or simply couldn’t adapt to England’s brutal game plan.
It was total rugby at its very best. Eddie Jones had played a masterclass in rugby..and the Irish were at the receiving end of the lesson.
England set the tone for the whole game’s tempo with a fantastic line out opening move which led to Jonny May’s try. Not only did it lead to May’s try, but also a celebration roar at Wymondham rugby club that left my wife fuming!
Ireland never recovered. After the match, Conor Murray said that Ireland started too slowly, but I think a better answer would be England started so quickly from the whistle. They were not only off quickly, but it was planned, accurate, creative and slighty brutal. It was total rugby. Nowell and May both acting like inside-centres, taking inside lines that dissected the Irish at key points, whilst Manu’s massive presence made a massive difference in creating space for players to run into. Farrell played one of his most commanding matches at captain and fly-half, which for me must see the end George Ford’s reign at fly-half. Slade also had an amazing performance, both in creative attack and defence. Although Tom Curry received an early yellow card, his performance was outstanding for someone his age. I haven’t even started with praise for Mako, Billy and George…
The list of outstanding England players stepping up just went on and on and “Man Of The Match” could of easily been converted into “Team of the Match”.
Sadly it looks like Itoje has now got a significant injury and will be out for the majority of the 6 Nations now, however he’ll be back ready for the World Cup.
So…finally, I’ve managed to see England not only score in Dublin, but win, avoid having to sleep on the sofa and save on the cost of a bunch of flowers. I think that was the perfect result!
Note: The only thing I haven’t managed to do is convert my youngest son to supporting England sadly…you can see where his heart lies…