Rugby

The English Media Reaction To Ireland Humbling England

The English Media Reaction To Ireland Humbling England

Ireland ended their Six Nations campaign on a high with victory over England in Dublin on Saturday. Just as the game has given reason for optimism about the Irish team, it has resulted in pessimism about their side in the English media.

READ: Henshaw Leads Irish Player Ratings 

For The Observer, Paul Rees writes that Saturday's game was Ireland's best performance of recent times.

"Ireland, marshalled by their half-backs Murray and Johnny Sexton, delivered their most impressive performance since 2018. They were, as usual, unrelentingly physical, but their two tries, which both involved the No 8 Jack Conan, who was making his first start since before the last World Cup, showed how they have tweaked their attack under Mike Catt."

In the Mail On Sunday, former England international Mike Brown says:

"Our strapline against Ireland was always 'win the air, win the floor'. It was all about wining the aerial battle and the breakdown.

"On Saturday, England won neither of those areas.

Advertisement

"Andy Farrell's selection was a masterstroke. He brought in his experienced guys who had been stuck on the sidelines and would have been really revved up.

"They all stepped up. Conor Murray showed that he is still a force, while Bundee Aki and Robbie Henshaw were huge together in the midfield. Great also to see veteran Keith Earls have another brilliant game."

Also in the Mail on Sunday, former England head coach Clive Woodward selects his Lions XV. Tadhg Beirne is the only Irish player to make the team.

Clive Woodward's Lions XV

15 Stuart Hogg (Sco)
14 Louis Rees-Zammit (Wal)
13 Henry Slade (Eng)
12 Jonathan Davies (Wal)
11 Anthony Watson (Eng)
10 Owen Farrell (Eng)
9 Gareth Davies (Wal)
1 Rory Sutherland (Sco)
2 Ken Owens (Wal)
3 Kyle Sinckler (Eng)
4 Alun Wyn Jones (c) (Wal)
5 Maro Itoje (Eng)
6 Tadhg Beirne (Ire)
7 Tom Curry (Eng)
8 Justin Tipuric (Wal)

Advertisement

In his column, Woodward questioned why Conor Murray has been absent from the Ireland team of late.

"The Ireland half-backs completely bossed proceedings. I have no idea why Ireland have been leaving Murray out because to my eyes he is always a class act and that is only accentuated when he pairs up with Sexton.

"Warren Gatland will have enjoyed seeing the duo back in form. This was the best I've seen Ireland play in a long while and it's a huge moment for Andy Farrell. Ireland 'found' themselves on Saturday."

The Telegraph's Gavin Mairs writes that Ireland bridged a physical gap with England.

"Most significantly, Ireland finally rid themselves of any sense of a physicality inferiority complex against England. Each of England’s previous four successive victories against Ireland had been defined by their ability to bully their opponents in the forward collisions.

"Yet the roles were completely reversed here.

Advertisement

"It is no exaggeration to report that at times this contest was little more than a training exercise, such was the gap in intensity between the two sides."

In The Sunday Times, Stephen Jones heaps praise on numerous Irish players, in particular, Robbie Henshaw.

"The Tadghs, Furlong and Beirne, were epic. So too the half-back bosses. England simply did not have the dominators available to Ireland. Sexton and Conor Murray at half back looked almost back to their best. Furlong on the tight-head was monstrous, so superior that he was almost disdainful. Beirne looked a Lion all over, though probably at blind side.
The whole team played with accuracy and energy, and if my own player of the match was unquestionably Robbie Henshaw in midfield, then you could have made a case for several. Henshaw looked like exactly the kind of midfield storm force for which England have been searching since 2003. He was everywhere, and everything."

Also in The Sunday Times, Stuart Barnes praises Johnny Sexton and Paul O'Connell while also calling for England head coach Eddie Jones to be shown to the door.

"Sexton quietly proved his doubters wrong. I will admit I thought his end was approaching, but his previous two performances have been immaculate. He has catapulted himself right into contention for the British & Irish Lions. He has been peerless, cool behind the white-hot furnace of a pack pulled back from the brink of being uncompetitive by Paul O’Connell, the forwards coach.

Advertisement

"The fly half is one of the great tens of the last decade. O’Connell is an Irish rugby immortal on the field. He appears destined for greatness as a coach. One coach rises, another should fall. It is Jones’s team. It is his fault. Time to go."

Barnes, Jones and Lawrence Dallaglio also selected their Lions teams.

Stephen Jones's Lions XV

15 Liam Williams (Wal)
14 Anthony Watson (Eng)
13 Garry Ringrose (Ire)
12 Robbie Henshaw (Ire)
11 Sean Maitland (Sco)
10 Finn Russell (Sco)
9 Ben Youngs (Eng)
1 Mako Vunipola (Eng)
2 Ken Owens (Wal)
3 Tadhg Furlong (Ire)
4 Adam Beard (Wal)
5 Iain Henderson (Ire)
6 Maro Itoje (Eng)
7 Tom Curry (Eng)
8 Toby Faletau (Wal)

Stuart Barnes's Lions XV

15 Liam Williams (Wal)
14 Anthony Watson (Eng)
13 Henry Slade (Eng)
12 Owen Farrell (Eng)
11 Josh Adams (Wal)
10 Finn Russell (Sco)
9 Conor Murray (Ire)
1 Cian Healy (Ire)
2 Ken Owens (Wal)
3 Tadhg Furlong (Ire)
4 Maro Itoje (Eng)
5 James Ryan (Ire)
6 Tadhg Beirne (Ire)
7 Tom Curry (Eng)
8 Toby Faletau (Wal)

Lawrence Dallaglio's Lions XV

15 Stuart Hogg (Sco)
14 Anthony Watson (Eng)
13 Garry Ringrose (Ire)
12 Owen Farrell (Eng)
11 Jonny May (Eng)
10 Johnny Sexton (Ire)
9 Conor Murray (Ire)
1 Mako Vunipola (Eng)
2 Jamie George (Eng)
3 Tadhg Furlong (Ire)
4 Maro Itoje (Eng)
5 Alun Wyn Jones (Wal)
6 Tadhg Beirne (Ire)
7 Tom Curry (Eng)
8 Toby Faletau (Wal)

Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Watch: Emotional CJ Stander Proved Just How Much Playing For Ireland Meant To Him

Balls Team

You may also like