England demonstrated a scrummaging masterclass against Ireland on Saturday as they beat their visitors 30-9 at Twickenham.
England demonstrated a scrumming masterclass against Ireland as they crushed their visitors 30-9 in the Six Nations at Twickenham on Saturday.
In difficult weather conditions for running rugby, the English destroyed the Irish set-piece on numerous occasions as Alex Corbiserio, Dylan Hartley and Dan Cole enjoyed immense games.
The trio – with help from their back-five – totally dominated their opposite numbers in what became a feasting ground for the home side.
Victory means England finish the Championship in second place after winning four out of their five games while Ireland end up in third position.
Stuart Lancaster must now wait to see whether chief executive Ian Ritchie believes he is the right man to lead the English on a full-time basis.
On the evidence of the Six Nations, it will be difficult for Ritchie to overlook Lancaster staying with Graham Rowntree while Andy Farrell is unlikely to remain due to club commitments.
The opening half was a rather stagnant affair as both sides based their game largely on defence, with regular handling errors hampering proceedings. Ultimately, the action at Twickenham failed to excite those watching as three Owen Farrell penalties and two from Jonathan Sexton meant the half-time score was 9-6.
What was a blow to the Irish cause was the loss of starting tighthead Mike Ross, who left the field injured on 36 minutes and left Ulster loosehead Tom Court with what proved to be the toughest 44 minutes of his career. Cue England's pack twisting the knife at scrum-time.
Corbisiero was dominant while Cole also capitalised as Ireland's pack looked dejected, which created the first try of the game on 65 minutes when England were given a five-metre scrum after Tomas O'Leary carried over his line. Referee Nigel Owens had little option.
In the 73rd minute another massive scrum effort led to a further penalty for England and Ben Youngs, who came on for an out-of-sorts Lee Dickson, reacted to tap quickly to scoot over.
Farrell could not land the conversion but added another penalty three minutes from time to complete the victory and rubber stamp another positive step forward for the young side.
Man of the match: Change to Men. England's pack.
Moment of the match: It is harsh to pick on one Irish player but the back-tracking Tomas O'Leary was rather lethargic when running back in an attempt to collect a grubber through. Ultimately he did not have time to clear which meant England had a five-metre scrum that turned into seven points. The hosts turned the screw at the set-piece and the rest is history.
Villain of the match: Despite all the hype, it was relatively clean.
Tries: Penalty, Youngs
Pen: Farrell 6
Pen: Sexton 3
England: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 David Strettle, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Chris Robshaw (capt), 6 Tom Croft, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Mouritz Botha, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Alex Corbisiero.
Replacements: 16 Lee Mears, 17 Matt Stevens, 18 Tom Palmer, 19 Phil Dowson, 20 Ben Youngs, 21 Charlie Hodgson, 22 Mike Brown.
Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Keith Earls, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Andrew Trimble, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Stephen Ferris, 5 Donnacha Ryan, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Rory Best (c), 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Tom Court, 18 Mike McCarthy, 19 Peter O'Mahony, 20 Tomas O'Leary, 21 Ronan O'Gara, 22 Fergus McFadden.
Referee: Nigel Owens
Assistant referees: JÃ©rÃ´me Garces, Neil Paterson
Television match official: Jim Yuille
By Adam Kyriacou