Ireland reignited the St Patrick’s weekend celebrations by clinching grand slam success in Dublin for the primary time with a battling 29-16 bonus-point victory over 14-man England.
The world’s top-ranked aspect had been odds-on favourites to comb apart their rivals to seal the Six Nations title and however had been made to work arduous for the nation’s fourth championship clear sweep general.
Dan Sheehan’s two tries and additional scores from Robbie Henshaw and Rob Herring in the end elevated Andy Farrell’s class of 2023 alongside the heroes of 1948, 2009 and 2018 on a historic event at a rowdy Aviva Stadium.
England performed half of the match a person mild after Freddie Steward was controversially despatched off on the stroke of half-time following an arm to the pinnacle of Hugo Keenan and did their finest to spoil the celebration.
Visiting skipper Owen Farrell, restored at fly-half, gave his father’s aspect some trigger for concern by kicking three penalties, whereas Jamie George added a late comfort rating as Steve Borthwick’s males confirmed a steely resolve following final weekend’s record-breaking humiliation by the hands of France.
Yet a bruising Test match belonged to the hosts, with Ireland skipper Johnny Sexton transferring away from Ronan O’Gara because the competitors’s all-time file factors scorer with a penalty and three conversions to take his general tally to 566 on his Six Nations swansong earlier than retirement later this yr.
Defending champions France had snatched high spot within the standings earlier within the day courtesy of a 41-28 bonus-point victory over Wales to pile the stress on Ireland.
England, in the meantime, crossed the Irish Sea wounded by final weekend’s record-breaking humiliation by the hands of the French, which emphatically extinguished their title hopes. They delivered on their vow to return out preventing.
In-form Ireland had been by no means going to have every part their very own manner and the scrappy opening exchanges had been punctuated with errors and turnovers as each side sought a foothold amid a collection of kicking exchanges.
A pair of early Owen Farrell penalties heightened a palpable nervous rigidity within the air, earlier than Sexton halved England’s lead together with his milestone kick simply earlier than the halfway level.
Ireland orchestrated some respectable stress in enemy territory however initially struggled to slide into their free-flowing rhythm or acquire management towards dogged opposition displaying no indicators of rolling over.
The hosts finally put a significant dent on the scoreboard seven minutes earlier than the break when a well-executed line-out transfer allowed Josh Van Der Flier to ship Sheehan rampaging for the road to spark the gang.
England misplaced Charlie Ewels to a purple card inside 82 seconds of final yr’s 32-15 Twickenham defeat to the Irish. And they had been left dealing with a equally uphill process 12 months on as they went into the break 10-6 and a person down after referee Jaco Peyper dismissed Steward for a strong problem which compelled off rival full-back Keenan.
Galvanised by the purple card, the guests lowered the deficit to a single level by one other Farrell kick within the second interval, with their penalty wins now being celebrated extra fervently and the excessive stakes sparking a few flashpoints.
Ireland desperately wanted to stretch the scoreboard to capitalise on their numerical benefit and kill off any probability of being compelled to face an anxious closing interval.
Henshaw alleviated the mounting rigidity by crossing within the 62nd minute on his first begin of this yr’s competitors, earlier than Sheehan claimed his second rating shortly after.
George bulldozed over seven minutes from time as England continued to plug away for pleasure.
But Borthwick’s males completed the match with simply 13 males as flanker Jack Ellis was sin-binned late on, earlier than alternative Ireland hooker Herring stretched for the road to finish the scoring. A deafening roar greeted the full-time whistle.