| 12.8°C Dublin

England didn't know what hit them as Ireland came out firing

Well, that was a bit of a bolt from the blue. Nothing we had seen in the previous four matches had prepared us for the onslaught that we were to witness. From the first minute, from the first scrum, this was an Ireland in stark contrast to the one-paced version we had bemoaned.

This was a performance of intent, full of pace, accuracy, control and aggression. And in showing what was possible, it also posed the question, what could have been if we had managed to have this attitude in all the games?

The statement that the team were only a step away from getting it right is a bit of misdirection.

This was 'old school' rugby -- basic, tough and effective. The change was not brought out by a switch in personnel or tactics but more by the realisation that playing with pace and urgency has to be the foundation on how every game should be played.

I feel that in the other games Ireland were trying to play and develop a game plan, whereas here they just played.

It is hard to have a variety of options when you are tearing around the place at full pace and, to be honest, Ireland have not needed a surfeit of options -- they needed certainty.

And for me that was the difference. England had thought they had certainty but this young and inexperienced team had never seen a team playing with such purpose.

Dreams of a Grand Slam were dashed amidst an array of heavy hits and 'choke tackles'. England looked shell-shocked and crumbled on the spot.

Ireland were rampant all over the field, they won most of the collisions and most of the decisions. All players stood up to the task and delivered. If it was just a few, you would say that that they had led the charge, but this was a very evident change in attitude, in atmosphere. Nothing was taken for granted.

Above all, this was a day to be proud of. The new Aviva Stadium had needed a day such as this a day to hang your hat on. We had doubted that these days were possible again. We got our answer in italics. An Ireland with that attitude is a team we can all believe in. It was also beautiful to watch, a reminder of our good days of the past and good days still to come.