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Visitors claim Six Nations Grand Slam
18 March 2018, 01:28 | Tara Lloyd
Visitors claim Six Nations Grand Slam
Ireland are just one game away from being crowned Six Nations Grand Slam champions, with only old rivals England standing in their way. To celebrate this, TV3 is set to broadcast a rugby special tomorrow, entitled Ireland's Grand Slam, as the winners return home.
This was only the third clean sweep by Ireland since the term Grand Slam came into use 110 years ago. It was the home side's first defeat here since the 2015 World Cup and their first at home in the Six Nations for six years.
Just when the English, after 24 wins in 25 games under Jones, were looking the most unsafe challengers to New Zealand ahead of the 2019 World Cup, they have lost three games in a row.
Aki appeared fortunate to escape without a yellow card for a tackle on Daly before Peter O'Mahony was sin-binned for bringing down a driving maul with Ireland up against it.
The Irish made light of sleet and biting wind and an England team desperate to avoid a third successive defeat as they deservedly led 21-5 at halftime with tries by Garry Ringrose, CJ Stander and the prolific Jacob Stockdale.
Some of them were made for Ireland's second try after 23 minutes when they worked a move from a line-out, the hands of the prop Tadhg Furlong freeing Bundee Aki who feinted to pass outside him before freeing Stander who took two tacklers with him to the line before touching the ball down on a post.
After six minutes, TMO Ben Skeen confirmed the first try of the day after a deep Johnny Sexton kick was spilled backwards by Anthony Watson under pressure from Rob Kearney, and Ringrose was there to pounce on the loose ball for Ireland.
Elliot Daly notched a double, while Jonny May scored in the final minute in reply for England but an ultra-physical Ireland proved too hard to crack.
Joey Carbery's conversion - on for Sexton while the Ireland starter was undergoing a HIA - left the half-time score at 21-5.
But England did make their one-man advantage count when, after a 12-phase attack, Owen Farrell's grubber through the defence was chased down by Elliot Daly.
England dominated the opening minutes of the second half, but a sustained assault on the Irish tryline was ended by a ruck penalty. But Farrell again missed the conversion, leaving his side 14 points adrift with 15 minutes to go.
While Ireland had already wrapped up the title before the final match, Best said it was crucial to make a statement at the home of the deposed champions.
Restored to 15 men, Ireland struck a big blow at the end of the first half. Eleven tries in nine Tests is an incredible strike rate, and his seven in a single Six Nations Championship has never been done by anyone before.
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