'Outclassed, ill-disciplined and imprecise' – English media react to chastening Ireland Six Nations defeat
With Grand Slam hopes dashed and championship aspirations taking a huge blow in Dublin, here is the English reaction to the 10-point defeat at the Aviva Stadium.
England's heroes of Cardiff revert to novices in Dublin with this chastening defeat
Paul Hayward offers no excuses for England's defeat to Ireland, lamenting the self-inflicted wounds in an error-strewn performance.
"They blundered through the first half and were fortunate to reach the dressing room 9-3 down," before picking out only Alex Goode, Jack Nowell, Dan Cole and Billy Vunipola as those "eager to carry the fight to Ireland."
Hayward suggests that it could do a lot of psychological damage with the World Cup on the horizon.
"In the last five months, Stuart Lancaster’s men have lost to New Zealand and South Africa at home and Ireland away. In between they have beaten Samoa, Australia and Italy at home, and Wales away. If you took the median line from those results you would chalk them up as outsiders to win the World Cup on home soil."
Outclassed England given wake-up call in Dublin
Staying with The Telegraph and Mick Cleary says the loss was a stark reminder of where this team currently stands in the greater scheme of things.
"Put the Six Nations Grand Slam on ice for another year, hold those hosannas of praise and revise those notions of World Cup glory. This was a salutary lesson for England, a rude awakening after the upbeat mood of the opening fortnight of the championship."
Imprecise and ill-disciplined but do not judge England until after Rugby World Cup
Former England international Brian Moore added that not only was it a sobering experience in Dublin, it highlighted the gulf between the two sides.
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"Small errors count at this level of sport and cumulatively they saw the Irish win with something to spare."
He does however refrain from castigating Stuart Lancaster and says that judgement should be reserved for the World Cup.
"There will undoubtedly be some who believe that failure to criticise Lancaster roundly is a sign of favouritism. In truth it is no more than recognising the fact that he has fallen short dealing with a number of problems that were thrust upon him. England are not where they wanted to be at this stage in their development and might not be when the result of their World Cup campaign is known. At that point Lancaster can be judged properly. As far as yesterday’s game is concerned – sometime Schmidt happens.
Ireland found England’s weakness and worked on it for Dublin victory
In The Guardian, Johnny Sexton was earning plaudits from Dean Ryan for his supreme game management.
"What Lancaster didn’t have to say was that while Johnny Sexton was on the field England were second best, the fly-half doing for 52 minutes what he does better than anyone else playing Test rugby. It wasn’t until he limped off holding his hamstring, to be replaced by Ian Madigan, that England sensed they might be in with a shout."
Ireland battle England into submission to remain on course for Grand Slam triumph
The Independent heaps praise on Ireland's suffocation of the English threat to put themselves in pole position to retain their title.
"They fiddled and fumbled their way to a chastening defeat and as a consequence, Ireland are the last team standing in the race for a Grand Slam in World Cup year."
Sexton kicks apart sorry England's hopes of Grand Slam triumph
The Express too combines Sexton praise and England criticism in equal measures as Joe Schmidt's side made it 10 wins on the bounce at international level.
It's all on for the Ireland game and there's no reason why Wales can't come out on top
Meanwhile in Wales the build-up is beginning in earnest to the showdown at the Millennium Stadium.
WalesOnline has been looking at all the permutations following the weekend's results and sees no reason why Warren Gatland's side can't get their championship challenge back on track with a win in front of their home supporters on Saturday week.