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m3n4.net December 15, 2018


Ireland pile pressure on England with bonus-point win

11 March 2018, 01:13 | Tracey Rhodes

Ireland captain Rory Best says they cannot afford to lose concentration against Scotland

Ireland captain Rory Best says they cannot afford to lose concentration against Scotland

Ireland were crowned Six Nations champions on Saturday with a match to spare after England lost 22-16 to France.

While a Grand Slam is the only thing that will matter this week, and a Championship will be little consolation in the short term should they fail, the achievement of another title should not be overlooked.

A day that ended so joyously for the Irish had begun nervously as Scotland, buoyed by a victory over England last time out, matched their hosts for much of a high-tempo first half.

Winger Jacob Stockdale, in only his eighth game for Ireland, bagged a brace of tries to take his overall worldwide tally to 10, while further scores from Conor Murray and Sean Cronin handed a ruthless Ireland a thumping win.

"But Jacob Stockdale got another two tries, and we got over for the bonus point in the end, so now we look ahead to Twickenham".

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Ireland can't let itself be affected by possible distractions as it did previous year when it lost to Scotland, captain Rory Best said on Friday.

They were deep into Ireland territory and leading 3-0 through Greig Laidlaw's penalty when they offered the hosts the first of several gifts during the afternoon.

However, the pendulum swung towards the Irish just after the 20 minute mark as expert poacher Stockdale pounced to intercept a long pass by Peter Horne and race away to touch down and Sexton converted for 7-3.

Scotland wasted a glorious chance to score when Huw Jones chipped over Keith Earls, picked up and burst clear with Stuart Hogg inside.

Ireland made its bonus-point intentions known after only four minutes, when flyhalf maestro Jonathan Sexton waived off a penalty goalkick to set up a lineout.

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Blair Kinghorn's try did narrow the lead to 21-8 with a well-worked try in the 51st minute, but Ireland were simply more clinical and there was a sense of elation when a lineout move in the corner resulted in Cronin, nearly on his knees, going over.

He's determined he doesn't squander this rare shot at a Grand Slam. Yet if I could I'd suggest that they need to be treat that ticket as a privilege; a chance to influence the outcome, because they...

"We're very proud of how the team played but there is a realisation that we have more work to do", Townsend said.

"Eddie (Jones, the England head coach) said "Le Crunch" is a very good name for it and he's spot on".

Should England manage that feat, which given Ireland's struggles in Paris, if far from a guarantee, a huge amount would still have to go their way next weekend in Twickenham.

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