Published: Sun, March 18, 2018

With Grand Slam, Ireland the new king of European rugby

With Grand Slam, Ireland the new king of European rugby

They finally scored a third try through Jonny May with the final move of the match to deny Ireland a record victory here, but the men in green were already celebrating something far more significant.

Ireland captain Rory Best added: "We knew it was going to be really tough but we tried to attack England from the start, with and without the ball".

"I can't say enough about how everyone involved with the squad has gone about their business - we wanted to make a statement by winning something big and we have shown on the big stage what we are made of". "They play to their strengths and [are] very worthy Grand Slam winners".

Ireland are up to second in the world rankings, ahead of England, following their NatWest 6 Nations triumph with just one Championship to go before the 2019 World Cup.

England, seeking to avoid a third successive defeat in the competition for the first time since 2006, came out full of fire in the second half but came up against the disciplined, organised and hugely motivated defence that has been a key aspect in Ireland's march to the title.

"We gave them too many penalties at the start of the game and allowed them to build a lead", Jones said. They have just beaten an English team that have gone on a long incredible run. England can legitimately claim that the Ireland full-back knocked the ball on, but the Television Match Official was non-plussed.

A try in each half from Elliot Daly and a late Jonny May consolation was all the much-changed 2016 and 2017 champion England could muster as it suffered a first home loss under Jones and a third consecutive defeat.


Sexton, without whose last-ditch drop-goal in a tournament-opening win over France the Irish would not have had a chance of a Slam this season, duly converted.

After great link play between Sexton and prop Tadhg Furlong, Bundee Aki burst through England's defence and passed to CJ Stander who barrelled over the line from 10 metres. Ireland led 21-5 and were on course to trump their biggest win here, by 13 points in 1964.

The second half was an enormous power struggle, as England tried and tried and tried again to get an advantage over the Irish squad. But Farrell again missed the conversion, leaving his side 14 points adrift with 15 minutes to go.

Deep into first-half stoppage time, impressive wing Stockdale scored his 11th try in just nine Tests when he chipped over the top and won the race to the touchdown under challenge from replacement Mike Brown and Daly.

Joey Carbery's conversion - on for Sexton while the Ireland starter was undergoing a HIA - left the half-time score at 21-5.

But, summing up England's day and entire championship, Farrell uncharacteristically failed to convert any of them and the score did nothing other than slightly delay the Irish celebrations.

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