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Sloppy effort leaves Farrell's men with a sense of deja vu

England 24 Ireland 14

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Ireland's Conor Murray kicks clear. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire

Ireland's Conor Murray kicks clear. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire

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Ireland's Conor Murray kicks clear. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire

So much for the dawning of a new era then as Ireland's old frailties were once again ruthlessly exposed by a ferocious England side who dominated all over the pitch from the opening minute.

After an encouraging start to Andy Farrell's tenure, this was like watching the Ireland of 2019 as they were obliterated in the contact area and made countless sloppy errors on the back of it.

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England's Manu Tuilagi tackles Ireland's CJ Stander. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire.

England's Manu Tuilagi tackles Ireland's CJ Stander. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire.

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England's Manu Tuilagi tackles Ireland's CJ Stander. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire.

It had all the hallmarks of both of England's wins over Ireland last year. Just as they did in Dublin, Eddie Jones' side went after the back-field and exploited the space.

England ruled the aerial and breakdown battles, while they had the edge at scrum time throughout. Ireland's cause wasn't helped in that regard by losing Cian Healy to a first-half injury, with Conor Murray and Andrew Conway also hobbling off later on.

Ireland had spoken all week about coping with England's physicality, yet they had no answer to their pace and power.

Johnny Sexton had a day to forget as his howler gifted England an early try, while the out-half really struggled off the tee.

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Ireland's Johnny Sexton misses a conversion kick. Photo: David Davies/PA Wire

Ireland's Johnny Sexton misses a conversion kick. Photo: David Davies/PA Wire

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Ireland's Johnny Sexton misses a conversion kick. Photo: David Davies/PA Wire

Like his captain, Jacob Stockdale also had a nightmare game and won't want to see a replay of his error for Elliot Daly's try.

With no platform on which to play off, Ireland were ragged and lacked any real shape throughout. It was like Groundhog day.

The damage was done in the first half, and with England leading 17-0 at the break, there was no way back for Ireland, who were brought crashing back to reality.

Not coming away with a losing bonus point could prove costly as they are still in with a chance of winning the title in Paris.

That all seems like a very long way off now, because if Ireland play anything like this, France will inflict similar damage.

The warning signs were glaring early on as England made a trademark blitzing start that Ireland ultimately couldn't live with.

A Courtney Lawes knock on brought an end to a barrage of pressure, but it was very much a brief moment of respite because on eight minutes, England were gifted their first try. Jordan Larmour had just done well to claim a towering kick, but he will have huge regrets that he didn't call for the mark.

It put his side under needless pressure and when Ben Youngs spotted the Ireland full-back out of position, he delicately chipped through. Sexton looked to have had it covered, but he made a mess of trying to collect the ball in the in-goal area and fumbled it into George Ford's path.

Farrell's conversion put the hosts into a 7-0 lead before Ireland made a rare visit to the England 22, and set up the maul, only for Courtney Lawes to cynically pull it down. He was lucky it was just a penalty.

Sexton pointed to the posts, but the Ireland captain shanked his kick horribly wide, much to the delight of the home crowd.

It was a real let-off for England, who quickly went down the other end of the pitch and built pressure again. A Peter O'Mahony lineout steal close to the Ireland line momentarily relieved the onslaught, but the Munster flanker was pinged for a breakdown penalty shortly after.

It was all very ominous and as the clocked ticked towards the 25th minute, England were handed a second utterly avoidable try.

England again went after Ireland's back-field, this time it was Owen Farrell who dinked the ball in behind. Just as Sexton did earlier, Stockdale endured a horror moment as he was outmuscled by Daly who touched the ball down.

Mistake

Farrell made no mistake with the conversion and added a penalty for good measure just before the break to push his side into a commanding 17-0 lead.

Ireland needed something to quickly happen and 10 minutes after the restart Robbie Henshaw gave his side a glimmer of hope.

After staying patient in the England 22, the hosts were perilously close to yellow card territory. Referee Jaco Peyper kept his cards in his pocket, but Henshaw ensured that Ireland came away with five points.

Sexton's struggles continued as he failed to connect properly with the conversion as the ball sprayed wildly wide again.

Whatever slim hopes Ireland had of mounting what would have been a very unlikely comeback were dashed just after that. England cranked up the pressure and when they won a scrum penalty against the head, they sensed blood.

Luke Cowan-Dickie was barely on the pitch before the hooker burrowed his way over the line to floor Ireland. Farrell added the extras with a superb touchline kick to put the icing on the cake.

With 'Swing Low' ringing around Twickenham, it was a sobering ending to another tough day in London.

England - E Daly; J May, M Tuilagi (H Slade 73), O Farrell (capt), J Joseph; G Ford, B Youngs (W Heinz, 57); J Marler (E Genge, 57), J George (L Cowan-Dickie 60), K Sinckler (W Stuart 69); M Itoje, G Kruis (J Launchbury 60); C Lawes (C Ewels 57), S Underhill, T Curry (B Earl 66).

Ireland - J Larmour (K Earls 64); A Conway (R Byrne 66), R Henshaw, B Aki, J Stockdale; J Sexton (capt), C Murray (J Cooney 54); C Healy (D Kilcoyne 25), R Herring (R Kelleher 60), T Furlong (A Porter 57); D Toner (U Dillane 60), J Ryan; P O'Mahony, J van der Flier (C Doris 60), CJ Stander.

REF - J Peyper (South Africa).

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