Friday 19 January 2018

The game at a glance

Hugh Farrelly

Star turn

Stephen Ferris

Jamie Heaslip got the official award after another big day out, while wingers Tommy Bowe and Keith Earls were on top of their games. However Ferris, coming off a quiet game in Paris, battered the English muscle-men all afternoon, dumping them time after time as Ireland's back-row held sway -- much to the evident frustration of James Haskell.

Turning point

Reversing the penalty against Danny Care was a big moment but Heaslip preventing England from getting the ball back as they pushed for a winning score at the death was the win-clincher.

Magic moment

Jonathan Sexton's double dummy and perfectly weighted kick through for Tommy Bowe's first try was pretty special but, in a first half dominated by kick-backs, Earls' decision to break the trend and have a cut was a get-out-of-your-seat moment. A shimmy, a shoulder-drop, a surge of acceleration and the Munster man was running free.

Ref watch

Martin Johnson had a major issue with the crucial penalty reversal and Mark Lawrence's decision to award Ireland the put-in after England's powerful maul at the end, while some of the South African's 14 penalties against Ireland looked very dubious.

Stat watch

Ireland -- tackles made: 99; tackles missed: 1.

Crowd watch

A packed Twickenham struggled to find its voice during the dour first-half exchanges but it picked up in the second, with the sizeable Irish contingent giving a rousing rendition of the Fields of Athenry.

Talking point

Sexton did marvellously for Ireland's first two tries but missed 10 points off the kicking tee. Ronan O'Gara's experience and composure when he appeared off the bench was crucial in sealing the victory -- the out-half debate will rage again ahead of the next game against Wales.

They said

"I said to the players they have to keep that horrible feeling inside of them for two weeks and release it at Murrayfield." -- England manager Martin Johnson

"We can't afford that penalty count going forward." -- Ireland coach Declan Kidney

What's next?

Saturday, March 13: Ireland v Wales, Croke Park, 2.30.

Irish Independent

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