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English Media Reaction To Ireland Winning The Six Nations Grand Slam

18 March 2023; Ireland players, from left, Jonathan Sexton, Caelan Doris and Josh van der Flier celebrate after teammate Dan Sheehan scores their side's first try during the Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and England at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
PJ Browne
By PJ Browne
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There seems to be a general acceptance in the English media that though the sending off of Freddie Steward late in the first half of Ireland's Six Nations victory over England on Saturday was harsh, it did not decide the course of the game.

"I don’t think Steward’s red card ruined the game because, in my view, Ireland were always going to win and would have done so anyway had England stayed with 15 on the field," writes former England coach Clive Woodward in the Mail on Sunday. "Farrell’s squad tend to find a way," says Rob Kitson in The Guardian.

While in The Sunday Times, Stephen Jones writes: "It was 10-6 to Ireland when Steward left the field. So was it the key moment? I somehow doubt it. England did knock Ireland out of their stride at the start with surging commitment, but Ireland had scored just before the incident, and there was a sense that they were stabilising on their way to winning."


Ireland's 29-16 bonus point victory sealed their fourth ever Six Nations grand slam. Jones adds that "There is no praise too high for Andy Farrell’s coaching of this team — he is now in the pantheon of the greatest in history."

Farrell's side won amid the expectations created by being the world's number one ranked side.

"With Ireland having won 21 of their previous 23 Tests, confidence was also sky high," Rob Kitson writes in The Guardian.


"Not since the 2011 World Cup, when all and sundry expected New Zealand to beat France in the final, had there been comparable levels of pre-match assurance."

In the Sunday Telegraph, Daniel Scofield says the strength of Ireland's squad was key.

"It is testament to Ireland’s staggering depth that they got over the line here without three certain starters in the form of the injured Garry Ringrose, Iain Henderson and Tadhg Beirne," he says.


"Probably the biggest compliment that you could pay Farrell’s squad is that they are not reliant on three or four big-game performers as many sides are. There is always someone willing to step up." He adds that "This Ireland team deserve to be considered alongside the England side of 2003 as the best of the Six Nations era."

For many English commentators, there is a comfort that Steve Borthwick's side was defiant despite being reduced to 14 players.

"The reality is that England are a mid-table team at present," former England fullback Mike Brown says in the Mail On Sunday.


"They should be beating Scotland but they're miles behind France and Ireland and it's hard to see them bridging that gap before the World Cup."

In his column, Clive Woodward adds: "Before I analyse England further, I want to give credit to Ireland. They fully deserved to win the Grand Slam this year. Ireland and France are the two best sides on the planet right now."

See Also: Ireland Player Ratings As Historic Grand Slam Secured Against 14-Man England

Ireland v England: Irish Player Ratings

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