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6 Nations

England Batter Lacklustre Ireland

England have thrown themselves right back into the chase for the Six Nations crown with a dominant win over Ireland



(Photo by Ashley Western/MB Media/Getty Images)

England have overcome Ireland 24-12 in a physically dominant display from the hosts at Twickenham this afternoon.

The win puts England right back into the mix for the Six Nations title, while Ireland will be disappointed with a poor showing that ends their Grand Slam hopes. 

England came roaring out of the blocks as they looked to make an early breakthrough and were rewarded on nine minutes as Ben Youngs sent a lovely grubber kick through the centre of the Irish 22. Johnny Sexton failed to gather the ball inside his own in-goal area allowing George Ford to pick up the ball and touch-down. 

Owen Farrell slotted the conversion to make it 7-0 in what was a dominant start by the hosts. 

Ireland had a chance to get on the scoreboard a couple of minutes later, but Sexton scuffed a penalty kick wide. 

They were made to regret that miss as the home side came powering back, not allowing Ireland to gain any territory and got their second try of the game on 25 minutes. Ford chipped a kick over the top which Jacob Stockdale hesitated to gather which gave Elliot Daly the opportunity to pounce on the ball and score. Farrell again converted to stretch the lead out to 14-0. 

England continued to dominate and Farrell extended their lead to 17-0 with a penalty kick just before half-time and that’s how they went in when the whistle was blown moments later with Ireland facing an uphill battle to get anything from the match in the second period.  

Ireland needed a response and they got it early in the second-half as they came out a different side, mounting a number of meaningful attacks, winning penalty after penalty in the English 22. 

They took their time but they eventually managed to get over the line as Robbie Henshaw barrelled over from close range. Sexton made a mess of the conversion leaving it at 17-5 with 50 minutes on the clock, but it gave Ireland some hope heading into the final half an hour. 

However, the visitors couldn’t continue their good start and it was England who scored next with their third try of the game just past the hour mark as replacement hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie drove over the line off the back of a line-out maul. Farrell was once again perfect from the tee to push his side 24-5 in front. 

Ireland played better over the remaining 20 minutes and managed to get a consolation try through Andrew Porter, who burst over the line after a number of phases. Replacement scrum-half John Cooney knocked over the conversion to make it 24-12 come the full-time whistle.

Next up for England is a clash with Wales where they could seal a Triple Crown, while Ireland host Italy as they look to try and maintain a title tilt and will want to improve on their poor showing today.

Player Ratings

Ireland Starting XV: 

Jordan Larmour (5), Andrew Conway (6), Robbie Henshaw (6), Bundee Aki (6), Jacob Stockdale (4)), Johnny Sexton (5), Conor Murray (5); Cian Healy (4), Rob Herring (6), Tadhg Furlong (6), Devin Toner (5), James Ryan (6), Peter O’Mahony (6), Josh van der Flier (6), CJ Stander (6)

Replacements (7)

England Starting XV: 

Elliot Daly (6), Jonny May (7), Manu Tuilagi (8), Owen Farrell (8), Jonathan Joseph (6), George Ford (7), Ben Youngs (7); Joe Marler (7), Jamie George (7), Kyle Sinckler (7), Maro Itoje (8), George Kruis (7), Courtney Lawes (9), Sam Underhill (7), Tom Curry (7)

Replacements (7)

6 Nations

Huge boost for Ulster & Ireland as Henderson signs new deal



Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Ulster captain, Iain Henderson, who has represented the province on 116 occasions, has secured his future with the club for the next two years.

Craigavon-born Henderson, who took up the role of Ulster captain in 2019, has progressed through the Ulster development system. Starting with mini rugby at Academy RFC, his early playing career saw him reach the final of the Danske Bank Schools Cup in 2010 with Belfast Royal Academy, represent Queen’s University Belfast as well as Ireland at Age-Grade level, before quickly rising through the ranks of senior professional rugby in the province.

Iain, who captained Ireland for the first time against France in this year’s Guinness Six Nations, made his international debut against South Africa in November 2012 and has won 60 caps to date for his country. 

A Lions tourist in 2017, Iain succeeded Rory Best as Ulster captain in 2019.  

David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented,

“Over the past few seasons Iain has really developed into a leader within both the Ireland and Ulster squads. He is part of the national leadership group, captaining Ireland recently for the first time and we are delighted to have ensured that he continues his career in Ireland.”

Iain Henderson, commented,

“It has been a great honour to captain both Ulster and Ireland in recent times. Irish rugby is in a good place despite the disruption the sport has experienced during the pandemic. As professionals, we have been in a privileged position to be able to continue playing and I know we all hope to see supporters back in the Aviva and Kingspan in the near future.”

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6 Nations

Ireland Release 12 Players For Guinness PRO14



Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

The Ireland coaching group will retain a 24 man panel for the two day mini-camp on Thursday and Friday this week at the IRFU High Performance Centre at the Sport Ireland Campus.

There were no additional injury concerns following the match against France and the players (Burns, Healy, Henderson) who were removed for HIAs will follow the appropriate protocols this week.

Twelve players are returning to their provincial bubbles to avail of game time in the Guinness PRO14 this weekend – Bundee Aki, Ultan Dillane, Dave Heffernan (Connacht), Ryan Baird, Ross ByrneJack Conan (Leinster), Craig CaseyAndrew ConwayShane DalyChris Farrell (Munster) and Stuart McCloskeyTom O’Toole (Ulster).

The three players who provided specialist cover at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday – Harry ByrneJohn Cooney  and Eric O’Sullivan– have also returned to their respective provinces.

All members of the Ireland squad and backroom team undertook routine PCR tested on Monday producing no positive results.  The group will undergo further routine testing  again this week as per our protocols.

Ireland Squad – Two Day Camp February 17/18


Billy Burns (Ulster) 5 caps
Keith Earls (Munster/Young Munster) 90 caps
Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 7 caps
Robbie Henshaw (Leinster/Buccaneers) 49 caps
Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 8 caps
Jordan Larmour (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 26 caps
James Lowe (Leinster) 4 caps
Conor Murray (Munster/Garryowen) 88 caps
Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD) 32 caps
Jonathan Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 96 caps


Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne) 19 caps
Ed Byrne (Leinster/UCD) 4 caps
Will Connors (Leinster/UCD) 7 caps
Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) 46 caps
Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) 106 caps
Iain Henderson (Ulster/Academy) 60 caps
Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 18 caps
Ronan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne) 8 caps
Dave Kilcoyne (Munster/UL Bohemians) 40 caps
Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD) 34 caps
Rhys Ruddock (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 27 caps
James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 33 caps
CJ Stander (Munster/Shannon) 48 caps
Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD) 30 caps

Returning to Provinces

Bundee Aki (Connacht/Galwegians) 30 caps
Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University) uncapped
Ross Byrne (Leinster/UCD) 12 caps
Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon) uncapped
Andrew Conway (Munster/Garryowen) 24 caps
Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) 17 caps
Shane Daly (Munster/Cork Con) 1 cap
Ultan Dillane (Connacht/Corinthians) 18 caps
Chris Farrell (Munster/Young Munster) 14 caps
Dave Heffernan (Connacht/Buccaneers) 5 caps
Stuart McCloskey (Ulster/Bangor) 4 caps
Tom O’Toole (Ulster/Ballynahinch) uncapped

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6 Nations

Farrell forced to make big changes for Ireland v France



Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

The Ireland coaching group have named the side that will face France in round 2 of the 2021 Guinness Six Nations Championship.

There’s a new half-back pairing, a new captain a cap record in the front row and one uncapped player on the bench.

Ireland captain Johnny Sexton and vice-captain James Ryan have not hit all their markers this week in the return to play protocols so are not considered for selection.

Ulster’s Iain Henderson will captain Ireland for the first time, becoming the 108th player to lead Ireland. He will be partnered in the second row by Tadhg Beirne.

The front row that started against Wales of Cian HealyRob Herring and Andrew Porter is retained. Healy will win his 106th cap taking him ahead of John Hayes (105) as Ireland’s most capped prop.

In the backrow Josh van der Flier and CJ Stander are joined by Rhys Ruddock who slots in on the blindside flank.

Conor Murray picked up a hamstring strain in training this week and has been ruled out of this game. Jamison Gibson Park comes in to start at 9 and will partner Billy Burns.

Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose line out in the centre and the back three is unchanged with  Hugo Keenan at fullback flanked by  Keith Earls and James Lowe.

There are four changes in the replacements as Ed Byrne, Ultan Dillane, Ross Byrne and the uncapped Craig Casey come in while Ronan Kelleher, Tadgh Furlong, Will Connors and Jordan Larmour complete the bench for the weekend.

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