Irish Wolfhounds 10 England Saxons 14: As it happened

Carl O'Malley Fri, Jan 25
Irish Wolfhounds
England Saxons
LIVE: Rugby

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  • 19:16

    Good evening, folks and welcome to our live coverage of tonight's A international between Ireland and England at The Sportsground in Galway.

  • 19:20
    20 minutes to kick-off but there's only one place to start and that's with one Jonny Sexton.

    The Leinster outhalf has decided to up sticks and head to France at the end of the season for the princely sum of €750k a year. Not bad if you can get but will he feel the love?
  • 19:24
  • 19:26
    A lot at stake here for some young Irish players against a strong Saxons team. Here's Gerry Thornley's preview from the mothership today.
  • 19:27

    IRISH WOLFHOUNDS (* denotes uncapped): Robbie Henshaw* (Connacht), Andrew Trimble (Ulster), Darren Cave (Ulster), Dave McSharry* (Connacht), Luke Fitzgerald (Leinster); Paddy Jackson* (Ulster), Paul Marshall* (Ulster); Dave Kilcoyne (Munster), Mike Sherry* (Munster), Michael Bent (Leinster), Lewis Stevenson* (Ulster), Devin Toner (Leinster), Kevin McLaughlin (Leinster), Tommy O’Donnell* (Munster), James Coughlan* (Munster, capt).

    Replacements: Damien Varley (Munster), Tom Court (Ulster), Declan Fitzpatrick (Ulster), Iain Henderson (Ulster), Rhys Ruddock (Leinster), Isaac Boss (Leinster), Ian Madigan* (Leinster), Ian Keatley (Munster).

    ENGLAND SAXONS: Elliot Daly (Wasps); Christian Wade (Wasps), Joel Tomkins (Saracens), Jordan Turner-Hall (Harlequins), Tom Biggs (Bath); George Ford (Leicester), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens); Nick Wood (Gloucester), Joe Gray (Harlequins), Paul Doran-Jones (Northampton), Graham Kitchener (Leicester), George Robson (Harlequins), George Kruis (Saracens), Will Fraser (Saracens), Jordan Crane (Leicester, capt).

    Replacements: Rob Buchanan (Harlequins), Matt Mullan (Worcester), Shaun Knight (Gloucester), Ed Slater (Leicester), Jamie Gibson (London Irish), Joe Simpson (Wasps), George Lowe (Harlequins), Kyle Eastmond (Bath).

  • 19:29

    Ian Madigan, with the road at Leinster having been cleared before him today, will be itching to get on the pitch tonight.

    One imagines the young outhalf will get a lot more game time with his province between now and the end of the season.

    Feel free to give us your thoughts on Sexton's move and what it means for Leinster/Irish rugby

  • 19:33

    Straight on to Sexton with the lads at RTE.

    "It was inevitable that somebody would go," says Donal Lenihan, who cites the French money men and private backers as the baddies in this landmark day for Irish rugby.

    Will it set a trend?

  • 19:35
    We're a minute or two away from kick-off now as the James Coughlan leads the Wolfhounds out.
  • 19:36
    1 min:  Paddy Jackson gets things going with a deep start and Henshaw gathers the Saxons clearance and runs it back.
  • 19:37
    Penalty Ireland after hands in the ruck from England. Jackson with a sight of the posts in the second minute.
  • 19:37
    It's the right side for him and not too tight an angle. Should be kicked.
  • 19:38
    Nope, he missed it. A bit of a nervy strike from the Ulster outhalf.
  • 19:38
    Conditions aren't great but that just wasn't a great kick from the youngster.
  • 19:40

    Some up n'under tennis from the two sides is effectively ended by a monster of a boot from Fitzgerald. Lineout Ireland on the 10 m line after England clearance.

  • 19:41

    Ireland take and Jackson finds a good touch. England flanker Will Fraser took a heavy knock there, but he's continuing for now.

  • 19:41
    6 min:  Ireland knock on, scrum England just inside their 22.
  • 19:42
    England get the shove and Mike Sherry pops up, penalty England. A little worrying for Ireland, there.
  • 19:43
    Ireland turn it over at the lineout and Jackson pins Saxons back, using the wind. Good position.
  • 19:45
    England go short and take but Coughlan steals it after the ball rolls clear and Ireland attack inside the England 22.

    Penalty Ireland after offside.

    Ireland go for touch and Toner takes.
  • 19:46

    Ireland keep it close and take turns to burrow for the line. McLaughlin looks to have got over. It's with the TMO but it looks good.

  • 19:47
    Kevin McLaughlin has got Ireland up and running and that was a good decision from Coughlan to go for touch.

    Jackson has converted. Ireland 7 England 0 after 10 minutes.
  • 19:48
    Henshaw takes a high ball beautifully, Kearney would have been proud of that, and Ireland run at England again
  • 19:49
    Wasps winger Wade collects his own up and under after Ireland clear deep, but the ball has gone loose and Coughlan chases.
  • 19:50
    Elliot Daly adjudged to have carried the ball back over his own line, so it's a 5 metre scrum for Ireland. That looked a poor call from the referee and a stroke of luck for Ireland.
  • 19:52
    13 min:  England bully Ireland's scrum ut of it and it's their put in. Ireland pulverised in that setpiece on Michael Bent's side.
  • 19:53
    Daly clears for england under pressure. It's not great and another Ireland lineout deep in English territory.
  • 19:54

    Ireland execute a lovely backrow move, Coughlan bursts after Toner's take and then Stevenson takes it towards  the posts but Ireland penalised for holding

  • 19:55

    Ireland steal the lineout and move wide again but a forward pass ends their swift progress. Bright start for the homeside, if a little sloppy, at times.

  • 19:56
    Scrum holds up better this time round and England hoof clear
  • 19:56

    Proper chance for Saxons to clear their lines now after Toner was ruled offside.

  • 19:58
    England up to halfway with Wigglesworth orchestrating the attack. Toner penalised again and Ford has decided to go up the line with the wind against him
  • 19:59
    Toner was penalised for taking the man in the air at the last lineout. Not sure he knew much about it though.
  • 20:00
    20 min:  Ireland under pressure nonetheless but Jordan Turner Hall knocks forward and the scrum is to Ireland.
  • 20:00
    Big scrum needed on the 22 here.
  • 20:02
    "You;re not riverdancing or mossi dancing here," says the ref as the scrum lines up.

    It takes two goes but at the second attempt Henshaw is fed up the line and caught by Wade. Lineout England.
  • 20:04
    Wood drops a hospital pass from Wigglesworth and it's an Ireland scrum. Under pressure, Coughlan does well to pick it off the back again and Fitzgerald finds touch.
  • 20:04
    Henshaw takes another up n under from Ford but Ireland are penalised for coming in on the wrong side.
  • 20:05
    Ford is heading for the posts here in a bid to get England's first points on the board.
  • 20:07
    My mistake, it was Elliot Daly but it's off the post from 41m against the wind. It was a good effort.

    Ireland closed the gap in the lineout and England tap and run back.
  • 20:07
    Up to the 10m line and then a chip through but Trimble is back to touch down. Ireland 22 drop out.
  • 20:09
    Ireland's lineout on the 22 but this has been a good period of possession for England and, as Tony Ward says, they are beginning to control the pace of the game.
  • 20:10
    30 min:  Marshall clears and poor ol Tom Biggs gets his frst touch. Had to come off the left wing to do it, but it's an Ireland lineout.
  • 20:12
    Marshall clears and Trimble chases but the whistle has gone. 

    There's been an elbow on the Ireland scrumhalf but referee Davies does not know the number so it's a penalty where the ball landed for Jackson
  • 20:13
    It was Harlequins flanker Joe Gray with that elbow and it was nasty, despite the fact there was minimal contact.
  • 20:13
    Jackson's converted the pen and Ireland lead by 10. Gray is wearing a bright blue scrum cap. One imagines if the incident was seen it was easy to identify the culprit.
  • 20:15
    England straight back at Ireland with a dominant scrum. They go wide and Trimble knocks on as he tries the intercept but it's called back for an England pen.
  • 20:16
    The Ireland scrum is in a lot of trouble. With six minutes to go to halftime, it will need to be addressed at the break.
  • 20:17
    Ireland pummelled again and we're boardering on a penalty try here. Scrum reset 5m out.
  • 20:18
    Better from Ireland this time, but there's another one to come after it heads sideways.
  • 20:19
    Well, that was remedied quickly. Ireland win the put in as the scrum wheels around.
  • 20:19
    It goes loose from this one and it's a bit of a skirmish but the Saxons are offside.
  • 20:20
    39 min:  Jackson clears down the line and Ireland look to have escaped, for now.
  • 20:22
    Toner taps it down and Coughlan takes it on. Trimble chases a kick but Daly gathers and England attack.

    Tom Biggs kicks through but Ireland recover and the whistle goes form halftime.
  • 20:23
    A 10-0 lead at the break looks good on paper but England were a little unlucky in that half considering the way they came back into the game and they'll have that wind at their backs in the second half.
  • 20:27
    "The Irish pack, apart from the scrum" was stronger, according to Lenihan.

    "Both sides need to use the ball a bit more," adds Popey.

    That's why they get the big bucks.
  • 20:29

    Prop Michael Bent, recently parachuted in from New Zealand, is getting a bit of a kicking from the RTE gang. He's had a tough time of it, though.

    "Kiwi's coming over here taking our jobs," jokes Daire, with a nod to Popey.

  • 20:34
    Tom Court has come on at loosehead for Dave Kilcoyne. "The problem, though, Tony is at tighthead, not loosehead," says Hugh Cahill.
  • 20:34
    England restart.
  • 20:37
    Marshall clears and Saxons attack but Ford's kick is gathered by Trimble. Ireland looking to keep the ball in hand against the wind.

    Well, that is until Jackson sends it high.
  • 20:37
    Trimble does well to gather Wigglesworth's kick over his head and the winger clears. Ireland under pressure from an England lineout here.
  • 20:38
    Graham Kitchener takes, then Nick Wood and Jordan Crane.

    Big tackle from Tommy O'Donnell.
  • 20:39
    And another from Jackson on Turner-Hall.

    Wigglesworth tries for the line but he's stopped, then McLaughlin puts in a big hit and England have knocked on.
  • 20:40
    Jackson clears the lines after Ireland gain control.  Good defence from Ireland, under severe pressure.
  • 20:41
    Coughlan puts in a big tackle. This could be a long half for Ireland.

  • 20:42
    And again the ball goes forward from an English hand. More controlled agression from Ireland and that's impressive stuff.
  • 20:42
    48 min:  First test of this new frontrow coming up now.
  • 20:44
    Went down on Court's side this time. And Bent is penalised on the second scrum.

    Shot at the posts for George Ford.

    Ward reckons Declan Kidney is trying to make a decision between Court and Kilcoyne as cover for Cian Healy next week.
  • 20:44
    50 min:  Ford kicks England's first points of the evening and  the gap is now seven.
  • 20:47
    Elliot Daly takes Henshaw's garryowen but he knocks it on and Ireland attack in numbers. Sherry's pass to Fitzgerald is almost nicked by Wade but it's in touch for an Ireland lineout.
  • 20:47
    Scrumhalf Isaac Boss is on for Marshall
  • 20:48
    52 min:  Penalty Ireland sees them move into the Saxons half and win the lineout.
  • 20:48
    Henshaw and Fitzgerald run at pace but Ireland are pinged for hands in the ruck.
  • 20:50

    England's lineout definitely crooked but no whistle. Up to halfway, Ford kicks through and Henshaw launches a huge kick back into the wind. It comes back, though, and Ireland have a lineout in their own half.

  • 20:51
    56 min: Sent wide from Ireland and Fitzgerald kicks, Biggs gathers and breaks a few tackles on the way back before Ford finds a good touch on the Ireland 22.
  • 20:54
    Sloppy stuf from both sides as Ireland cede possession and then England return the favour.

    Jackson takes the odd decision to try and find hooker Sherry on the wing with a kick. Knocked on by the Munster man. 
  • 20:54
    Ian Madigan is on at fullback for Robbie Henshaw.
  • 20:55
    Penalty Ireland after a crooked put in from England.  Jackson finds touch
  • 20:58

    Another shot at the posts for Ford from the halfway as England look to close the gap to four.

  • 20:59
    And he does, as Henderson and Varley are introduced for Ireland, in place of Sherry and ........ I'll get back to you on that one.
  • 21:01
    Henderson straight into the action and it finds its way out to Darren Cave, who burst through a gap and feeds Fitzgerald who almost gets to the line.

    Recycled by Ireland again and Henderson is in at the far corner but he's pinged for taking the piss with the ol' extra movements as he stretches for the line. Great impact from the Ulster man though.
  • 21:04
    Lovely break back from Ford into the Ireland 22 and the homeside are on the backfoot as it heads out to the right and Fitzgerald fails to prevent Will Fraser touching down in the corner.
  • 21:04
    It was a close call but Fraser did well to stay in play as he touched down with Fitzer hanging out of him
  • 21:05
    Ford misses the conversion.

    He instigated that last phase of play and has looked bright so far.
  • 21:06
    Louis Stevenson has gone off for Rhys Ruddock.
  • 21:06
    A perfect kick from Daly into the corner has Ireland under pressure again.
  • 21:07
    Jackson clears but it doesn't find touch. Wade attacks but Dave McSharry tackles and Ireland win the penalty.
  • 21:07
    Amazing tackle from McSharry before being replaced by Keatley, who heads to inside centre.
  • 21:08
    Ireland's lineout not straight and it's an England scrum on halfway.
  • 21:08
    10 minutes left for Ireland to sneak the win here.
  • 21:09
    Bent, now, makes way for Declan Fitzpatrick.
  • 21:10
    Scrum goes down, but then Ireland win the penalty on the second. A chance to get deep into English territory here.
  • 21:11
    Varley's dart is good but Ireland knock on (Ruddock) and England clear all the way to Ireland's line. Demoralising.
  • 21:13
    Toner takes this one, as he has most of the night, and Ireland win a penalty after he was interfered with in the air.

    Varley's throw in is crooked. It's been awfully sloppy this last few minutes.
  • 21:14
    Scrum goes down and Ireland penalised.  A chance here for Ford from the halfway with the wind at his back.
  • 21:15
    It's over and England lead by four. Ireland need a try.
  • 21:17
    Ford's long kick goes dead and Ireland have a scrum on their own 10m. Tap and go from Boss after England penalised.
  • 21:17
    Penalty Ireland after Kitchener caught offside. Madigan heads for touch, just inside the 22. 
  • 21:18
    Ireland need Varley to deliver a good one here and ....
  • 21:20
    ...he doesn't. England clear it and Fitzer takes a quick throw in deep in his 22. Madigan tries to grubber it through but it's gathered by an English pair of hands. 

    Too many mistakes in this second half from Ireland. Every bit of field position wasted and both setpieces have been weak - the lineout after Varley's introduction, it has to be said.
  • 21:21
    One last attack from Ireland but again it's turned over. 20 seconds to go.
  • 21:23
    That's it. Ireland held scoreless after the break and England pick off a deserved win.

    Nothing really for Kidney to scratch his head over in terms of team selection ahead of Wales.

    Except that Lenihan thinks he should take Court instead of Bent as tighthead cover next week.