Wednesday 7 December 2016

'Ireland lack creativity and leadership' – English media reaction to Twickenham victory

Published 29/02/2016 | 10:08

Eddie Jones' England made it three wins from three after a 21-10 victory over Ireland and here is how the UK media reacted to the Twickenham result.

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Writing in his column in The Daily Telegraph, former England prop Brian Moore asserted that the absence of Paul O'Connell was a huge loss for the visitors.

Echoing Alan Quinlan's comments in today's Irish Independent, Moore said the contribution of the Munster legend to Ireland's overall gameplan cannot be underestimated, though added that a blunt attack compounded the problem.

"As a one-man wrecker of opposing driving mauls and the fulcrum of Ireland’s line-out and subsequent drives, O’Connell was the base on which Ireland built control to allow them to play their technical and precise game," he wrote.

"Without that stability Ireland are struggling to dictate territory and tempo. When you add a lack of creativity they have significant problems to solve.

The BBC said in the aftermath of the 11-point victory, relief and regret were the overriding emotions.

"Relief that they are three from three under the new regime, relief that their imprecision and indiscipline was not punished, relief that in Billy Vunipola they have a man who is already a game-changer and may yet become the best number eight in the world," Tom Fordyce wrote.

"Regret that so many of the old weaknesses are still apparent, regret that they made something which should have been simple so much harder for themselves.

England's Mike Brown scores his side's second try of the game during the Six Nations clash with Ireland at Twickenham. Photo: David Davies/PA
England's Mike Brown scores his side's second try of the game during the Six Nations clash with Ireland at Twickenham. Photo: David Davies/PA

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Next up for England is Wales at home in a fortnight in a game that is likely to decide the destination of the 2016 title. While revenge will be a huge motivating factor for Jones' players, Fordyce says an improvement in performance is required to keep the Grand Slam dream alive.

"When Wales arrive in a fortnight, memories of their late triumph here in that pivotal World Cup group game still keeping so many warm into the winter nights, they are unlikely to be as generous as Ireland."

The Guardian attributes a large portion of England's victory to Irish shortcomings.

Conor Murray shows the scars of battle after being on the receiving end of Mike Brown’s boot. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Conor Murray shows the scars of battle after being on the receiving end of Mike Brown’s boot. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

"Joe Schmidt's side lost three of their four attacking line-outs on the England line and blew an attacking scrum in the same auspicious position; they won 10 turnovers to England's two yet too often brought pressure back on to themselves with poor decisions and sloppy execution," Robert Kitson informs readers.

Michael Aylwin commented on the fall from grace from the side who have won the last two Six Nations titles, though admitted it was a much-improved performance.

"Who would have thought that round four’s fixture between Ireland and Italy would turn into a decider for the wooden spoon? Scotland may yet enter the equation (they play in Dublin in round five) but for now Ireland-Italy equals fifth v sixth. Ireland will surely win it, though.

"This was actually their best performance of the 2016 championship, hard in defence and unlucky not to score more tries from their numerous line breaks. They did not much resemble Stoke City, whatever that means. Handling was their biggest letdown."

The lead-up to the game was dominated by Johnny Sexton and comments made by the England head coach surrounding his long-term health, but Adam Redmond in the Independent argued the Leinster star demonstrated just why he is held in such high esteem.

"For all of Ireland’s poor handling that scuppered their attacking game at key moments, Sexton and his half-back partner, Conor Murray, were the greatest influences on a team that played too much on the back foot.

"Jones incited a lot of criticism for discussing Sexton’s parents in reference to his history of concussion while also admitting the Irishman would be targeted at Twickenham. Sexton was having none it, however, and ensured he would be a force in this game as he tore open the English defence on a handful of occasions."

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