Another day another England victory, though this was a far harder test than Scotland at home. England had not won in Dublin for ten years and our record against the Irish in recent years has not been that great, though the Welsh still can be considered our hoodoo team in the Six Nations. Still this was a (relatively) inexperienced England side (250 caps) vs a more experienced Irish one (500 caps) yet it didn't show at all in a scrappy first half not helped by the weather which led to a lot of handling errors though mostly on the Irish side of things. One major area of failing though for England was the line up throws, for some reason or other the communication skills were not so great yesterday and there were a lot of unforced errors though the Irish were unable to capitalise on them. Still England led at half time by 0 to 6 courtesy of some well taken penalties.
The second half started badly as a series of unforced errors led to Ireland getting three points back on the board followed up by equalising the score after James Haskell was given a yellow card for hitting the ball with his foot when attempting to leave a ruck. At this point with Haskell off the pitch for ten minutes you'd suspect a game change opportunity for Ireland and indeed they got one with England suddenly putting the lock down with two more penalties and an almost try for Tuilagi leaving the score at Ireland 6 : 12 England. It was a scrappy match and Ireland can complain about key injuries on the pitch, though they certainly could consider themselves lucky that Cian Healy remained on the pitch after a vicious stamp on an England players ankle during a first half ruck.
So a good victory for England, grinding out a result against an Irish side which dominated the possession, though did not look like scoring any tries and indeed very rarely looked threatening or able to gain ball possession in England's 22'. A mark of a good side is its ability to grind out results when the conditions or opposition make it necessary. This England side are not a great side yet, but it looks quite promising.
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