Sweet salvation for Ireland
Ireland finally put a performance together in this season's Six Nations when they deprived England of a Grand Slam at the Aviva Stadium yesterday evening.
A powerful first half display laid the foundation for the 24-8 win for Declan Kidney's men, who now have plenty of time to reflect on the highs and many lows of a disappointing Championship between now and the World Cup in September.
Having been off colour for most of the Championship, Ireland came flying out of the blocks and rocked the pre-match favourites back on their heels.
With man of the match Jonny Sexton pulling the string, Ireland established an early lead with three penalties. After a Brian O'Driscoll try was controversially ruled out, winger Tommy Bowe danced through to get Ireland's first try and leave England clearly shell-shocked at the break.
O'Driscoll's predatory instincts were at their sharpest seven minutes into the second half when he collected a loose ball to become the top try scorer in the Championship's history with 25.
"The plan was to start fast and continue for the 80 minutes," said Sexton afterwards. "The rain came in and spoiled it a little but we'll take the win and hopefully we'll build a little momentum going into the World Cup."
There was some consolation for England, however, as France's convincing victory over Wales in Paris last night confirmed Martin Johnson's men as Six Nations champions.
Sunday Indo Sport