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Six Nations: Ireland 19 England 13

Six Nations: Ireland 19 England 13

A sizzling Brian O’Driscoll try added to 14 points from Ronan O’Gara proved the difference for Ireland, as they secured back-to-back Championship wins over England for the first time since 1994.

A sizzling Brian O’Driscoll try and 14 points from Ronan O’Gara proved the difference for Ireland, as they secured back-to-back Championship wins over England for the first time since 1994.

RBS SIX NATIONS: Sunday, February 27
Ireland 19 England 13, Lansdowne Road

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Scorers: Ireland: Try: Brian O’Driscoll; Con: Ronan O’Gara; Pens: O’Gara 2; Drop gls: O’Gara 2
England: Try: Martin Corry; Con: Charlie Hodgson; Pen: Hodgson; Drop gl: Hodgson

Ireland edged a Dublin dog fight as England were downed at Lansdowne Road for the second time in three visits since 2001.

Eddie O’Sullivan’s side remain on course for a first Grand Slam since 1948, with O’Driscoll’s 58th-minute touch down – his first in six Tests against England – swinging the decision for the home side.

The visitors – still without an RBS Six Nations point in 2005 – rattled Ireland early on as Leicester back row Martin Corry waltzed over for a 7th-minute score, but without that winning habit, Andy Robinson’s men fell to a valiant defeat.

Not without controversy though, as near-exclusive ownership of both ball and territory was theirs in the final quarter-hour.

England’s pack did rumble over the Irish line on 75 minutes, but with Wasps flanker Johnny O’Connor – playing his first full 80 minutes for his country – in close attendance, South African referee Jonathan Kaplan failed to spot a conclusive grounding from Josh Lewsey.

In condemning England to their worst Championship run since 1987, Ireland were quick out of the blocks with O’Gara flicking over a fourth minute drop goal.

The Munster fly-half was to the forefront of Ireland’s play, but could do little when held off-the-ball by Danny Grewock for Corry’s third international try in eight years, just three minutes later.

England set up ruck position 30 metres from the Irish line, and with the home defence all at sea, Corry grabbed a quick pick-and-drive to thunder over to the left of the posts.

A more-at-ease Charlie Hodgson converted and it was game on for Robinson’s side – who travelled without a victory since November’s defeat of South Africa.

Backed by the wind, they performed well, using strike runners Lewsey and captain Jason Robinson to good effect in the loose.

Still though, it was Ireland who pushed the points and O’Gara succeeded with two close-in penalties on 10 and 14 minutes to rack up his 500th Test point on the occasion of his 50th cap.

Quite a record, and the England reposte was quite forceful too with Hodgson almost celebrating a Mark Cueto try in the right corner.

The Sale fly-half had flighted a brilliant cross-field kick for his winger, but Cueto – with only O’Driscoll and Denis Hickie aware to the danger – failed to check his run sufficiently and was pulled by Kaplan for offside.

Hodgson did reassume the lead for England on 25 minutes with a penalty from halfway, but O’Gara’s second drop nine minutes later gave O’Sullivan’s men a slim 12-10 break buffer.

A silly Harry Ellis tug on his opposite number Peter Stringer then offered the Ireland number ten his first shot at the posts on the restart.

He fluffed it and was to miss a further two shots – one a late drop attempt – as the Irish, albeit in overall dominance, stuttered to their ninth straight home win since 2003’s 42-6 Grand Slam loss to the men in white.

The result did hang very much in the balance up until O’Driscoll’s try. Jamie Noon was finding more freedom in the Irish midfield, and a 55th-minute break from the Newcastle centre set up Hodgson for a neat drop goal, and a 13-12 advantage.

Ireland countered quickly and following a deft incision by Hickie, and recycled ball dummied by Geordan Murphy past Hodgson, O’Driscoll danced in along the right touchline for his 26th Test try – and an outright lead in the Ireland record stakes again, over Leinster colleague Hickie.

O’Gara converted to draw up a 19-13 scoreline – one very familiar to Irish supporters from last year’s Twickenham win.

Composure was called for, but it was hard to come by in a frantic finale, with lock Paul O’Connell shining with fifteen awesome tackles. O’Gara chopped a 61st-minute penalty wide and seven minutes later, went for the wrong option – with unmarked men to his left – as he was wayward with a drop shot, following a barracking 20-metre Irish maul.

The late inclusion of wily scrum-half Matt Dawson did much to England’s attack, and Hickie was called upon twice to tackle Cueto and Lewsey only metres from his own line.

That line held out, but only just, and perhaps with a friendly nod to Kaplan and the tireless O’Connor, the Irish held on to set up another home hum-dinger against champions France in two weeks’ time.

The result – O’Sullivan’s 31st win in 42 games in charge of Ireland – guarantees his side fourth place in today’s IRB World Rankings.

Scoring Sequence:

4 mins: Ireland drop goal: Ronan O’Gara – 3-0

7 mins: England try: Martin Corry – 3-5; conversion: Charlie Hodgson – 3-7

10 mins: Ireland penalty: O’Gara – 6-7

14 mins: Ireland pen: O’Gara – 9-7

25 mins: England pen: Hodgson – 9-10

34 mins: Ireland drop gl: O’Gara – 12-10

57 mins: England drop gl: Hodgson – 12-13
58 mins: Ireland try: Brian O’Driscoll – 17-13; con: O’Gara – 19-13


(15) Geordan Murphy
(14) Girvan Dempsey
(13) Brian O’Driscoll (Capt)
(12) Shane Horgan
(11) Denis Hickie
(10) Ronan O’Gara
(9) Peter Stringer
(1) Reggie Corrigan
(2) Shane Byrne
(3) John Hayes
(4) Malcolm O’Kelly
(5) Paul O’Connell
(6) Simon Easterby
(7) Johnny O’Connor
(8) Anthony Foley

Replacement used: Marcus Horan for Corrigan (67 mins). Not used: Frankie Sheahan, Donncha O’Callaghan, Eric Miller, Guy Easterby, David Humphreys, Kevin Maggs.


(15) Jason Robinson (Capt)
(14) Mark Cueto
(13) Jamie Noon
(12) Olly Barkley
(11) Josh Lewsey
(10) Charlie Hodgson
(9) Harry Ellis
(1) Graham Rowntree
(2) Steve Thompson
(3) Matt Stevens
(4) Danny Grewcock
(5) Ben Kay
(6) Joe Worsley
(7) Lewis Moody
(8) Martin Corry

Replacement used: Matt Dawson for Ellis (70 mins). Not used: Andy Titterell, Duncan Bell, Steve Bortwick, Andy Hazell, Andy Goode, Ollie Smith.

RBS Man-of-the-match: Ronan O’Gara
HT: Ireland 12 England 10; Attendance: 49,250

Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)

Saturday’s Six Nations results:

France 18 Wales 24, Stade de France, Paris
Scotland 18 Italy 10, Murrayfield, Edinburgh