Five takeaways from England v Ireland

Date published: March 17 2018

Following Ireland's Grand Slam-winning 24-15 victory over England in the Six Nations, here's our five takeaways from the game at Twickenham.

England's plan backfires: When your luck is out your luck is out, or so it must seem for England. Extending the in-goal area did not work in their favour as Ireland's frequent finisher Jacob Stockdale used the extra space to dive over for his team's third try of the match at Twickenham. That score made it a 21-5 lead at the interval and Ireland didn't look like losing their grip on the Grand Slam from then on.

Perfect campaign for Jacob Stockdale: Speaking of Stockdale, he became the first player to score seven tries in a Six Nations campaign, capping a brilliant couple of months in the green jersey. A relative unknown on the international scene before this championship, he certainly announced himself in February and March, running away with the top try-scorer honours. Stockdale finished three scores ahead of his nearest rival.

Joe Marler does himself no favours: What was he thinking? Alec Hepburn did well for England in Marler's absence earlier in the Six Nations campaign and some felt he was unlucky to be ushered out of the squad when Marler returned from serving his suspension. To see the England loosehead come on against Ireland and land a late, off-the-ball hit on Ireland replacement Joey Carbery must have left Eddie Jones fuming.

Tadhg Furlong on the other hand: On the opposing side Furlong was outstanding for the Irish as he once again showed his class at tighthead. As our ratings state, world class is his minimum default and he sets the standard for every prop in international rugby. Only CJ Stander made more carries in an Irish jersey and throw in being the third top tackler for his country today and he has more than earned his wage.

England need an attack coach: Short on ideas, tired and unsure of their best positions are just a handful of issues that have been noted about this English backline. There has subsequently been plenty of debate about England needing a full-time attack coach – something head coach Eddie Jones is currently in charge of – and judging from their showings and a fifth place finish, it is a point that may be heeded.