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Stephen Ferris On The Agony And The Ecstasy Of Playing England At Twickenham

Stephen Ferris On The Agony And The Ecstasy Of Playing England At Twickenham
By Jonathan Browne
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Ireland haven't had many good days in Twickenham. In the nearly 150 year history of Ireland playing against England, they only won in Twickenham 13 times. In the last 12 years Ireland have only won over there twice but when we do win over there, it's never forgotten.

One of the great days in Irish rugby came in 2010 when off the back of the Grand Slam, Ireland hadn't had another rip-roaring successful Six Nations. They lost heavily away in Paris against France and would finish off the campaign with a defeat at home against Scotland in the final Rugby international to take place in Croke Park.

However in Round 3 there was a beautiful day in Twickenham where Ireland played out of their skin from the get go. Stephen Ferris played that day and he spoke about the match with Balls on The Buildup in association with Ladbrokes.

Jonny Wilkinson started at outhalf that day for England,with England still hunting a Grand Slam. But it wasn't to be.



Back in 2010 the weather was good, I remember waking up in the hotel and was really excited about the match and we got off to the perfect start. Tommy Bowe scored a try really early on, Johnny Sexton had started that game against Johnny Wilkinson, there was myself in the backrow against James Haskell and Lewis Moody.

During the game I remember Lewis Moody carrying the ball, Lewis Moody was just crazy, just did not care about his body at all and he carried the ball and I drilled him, knocked him back five or six yards and it seemed like whenever an England player had the ball we seemed to have the better of them and I know it ended being tight in the end but never at any stage did we feel that the game was getting away from us.

We felt like we were always in control, exactly the situation you want to fins yourself in in any match no matter if you're home or away against England or France. It was a really good squad, Tommy scored a second try off the tail of a lineout and there was a bit of a down and give.  Really, really good try and post-match in Twickenham it was a good feeling to get one over the arch enemy

It was a really good display considering we were off the back of a Grand Slam in 2009 and probably didn't do ourselves justice in 2010, to get a victory over England was important to us.

Those good days have come in between tough days in London. Ireland have had a few bad days in Twickenham and 2012 is one of the absolute worst. It was the beginning of the end of the Declan Kidney era. Ireland had lost at home to Wales and drew in Paris and were out of contention for any silverware.


England dominated and bullied in usual fashion when they're on form. Owen Farrell was only earning his fifth cap and he was almost flawless from the tee as he kicked over penalty after penalty to build an England lead. They ended up winning 30-9 and it's not a day Stephen Ferris remembers fondly.


You're not allowed to talk about 2012, it's banned, it's like the Rugby World Cup in 2007, you're not allowed to talk about it. It was my last ever international for Ireland and what a disastrous game it was. Mike Ross went off injured and Tom Court came on. We only had 22 players back then and Court played loosehead 99% of his career but he was up against Alex Corbisiero who chewed him up and spat him out,

The weather wasn't particularly good, I can remember carrying the ball into the second rows Moritz Botha in the first five or six minutes into the game and he hit me and my first rib popped out and from then i was walking around holding my arm like "I don't want to be here, take me off". As the game went on it got worse and worse and I bound onto the scrum like i was on roller-skates, I can't even hold onto the second row because of my rib's popping in and out and all i could think about was getting off that pitch.

If England had been on their game that day they could've put 50 or 60 points on us, thankfully they weren't and the scoreboard didn't really reflect the game. We didn't fire a shot, we barely got into their 22 and got a couple of penalties at the end.

Hopefully for Stephen Ferris and all Irish fans Saturday will be more like 2010.


See Also: Ireland's 2016 U20 World Championship Finalists: Where Are They Now?

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