Injuries mount as Ireland beaten 6-12 by England.

Emmet Riordan Sun, Feb 10
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  • Good afternoon and welcome to The Irish Times’ coverage of the momentous Six Nations clash between Ireland and England at the Aviva Stadium.

    And we’ve already had a momentous occasion this morning, with news that Brian O’Driscoll’s wife Amy Huberman has given birth to their first child, a baby girl.

    The Ireland centre was present at the birth at 10.30am this morning before making his way to the Aviva Stadium for this afternoon’s match where he is set to win his 122nd cap.

    And what a game it should be, with the winners eyeing up a potential Grand Slam triumph with France being booed off the Stade de France pitch last night after losing to Wales.

    It has already been a weekend of Ws for Irish teams against England, starting with the U20 and club teams on Friday night and the Ireland women claiming a stunning first win over their English counterparts at Ashbourne on Saturday – a 25-0 shutout at that.    

    And we spotted a nice picture from Dan Sheridan of Inpho (above) from last night’s Legend charity game at Donnybrook, where Irish Times columnist Liam Toland and Simon Keogh were celebrating victory over the old (and getting older) enemy.

    My name is Emmet Riordan and I’ll be bringing you all the latest from this afternoon’s game, which gets underway at 3pm.

  • The BBC's touchline reporter Sonja McLaughlan brings us good news from the Aviva.
  • And the first live TV pictures of the Big Daddy (or The Bodfather as he has been tagged on Twitter) shows a relaxed looking player in the dressingroom,
  • The RTÉ panel are worried about the weather and believe it may play in to England's hands. The pitch will also be an issue with the amount of rain in the last 24 hours. Hopefully it won't cut up as bad as the Stade de France yesterday.
  • Yoann Huget of France looks at the cut up pitch during the Six Nations match between France and Wales at Stade de France in Paris.  Photograph: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images
    Yoann Huget of France looks at the cut up pitch during the Six Nations match between France and Wales at Stade de France in Paris. Photograph: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images
  • Declan Kidney offers his congratulations to Brian O'Driscoll and Amy Huberman on the birth of their first child, and thanks Amy for her generosity in letting Brian back to play in the game. He even had time for the pre-match meal, although the champagne will have to wait for later on. "He will go out and do the business like the professional he is."
  • We'll take out lead from BOD and leave the baby talk to later. And the BBC cameras have shown the turf cutting up during the scrums in the warm-ups. Not a great start.
  • With just over 20 minutes to the start, here at the teams for this afternoon's clash.

    IRELAND: Rob Kearney (Leinster); Craig Gilroy (Ulster), Brian O’Driscoll (Leinster), Gordon D’Arcy (Leinster), Simon Zebo (Munster); Jonathan Sexton (Leinster), Conor Murray (Munster); Cian Healy (Leinster), Rory Best (Ulster), Mike Ross (Leinster); Mike McCarthy (Connacht), Donnacha Ryan (Munster); Peter O’Mahony (Munster), Seán O’Brien (Leinster), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster, capt).

    Replacements: Seán Cronin (Leinster), Dave Kilcoyne (Munster), Declan Fitzpatrick (Ulster), Donncha O’Callaghan (Munster), Chris Henry (Ulster), Eoin Reddan (Leinster), Ronan O’Gara (Munster), Keith Earls (Munster).

    ENGLAND: Alex Goode (Saracens); Chris Ashton (Saracens), Brad Barritt (Saracens), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester), Mike Brown (Harlequins); Owen Farrell (Saracens), Ben Youngs (Leicester); Joe Marler (Harlequins), Tom Youngs (Leicester), Dan Cole (Leicester); Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Geoff Parling (Leicester); James Haskell (Wasps), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Tom Wood (Northampton).

    Replacements: Dylan Hartley (Northampton), David Wilson (Bath), Manu Vunipola (Saracens), Courtney Lawes (Northampton), Tom Waldrom (Leicester), Danny Care (Harlequins), Toby Flood (Leicester), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester).

    Referee: J Garces (Fra)

    Asst referees: N Owens (Wal), P Gauzere (Fra).

  • And just before the anthems President Michael D Higgins will be introduced to the teams. As Ryle Nugent says, it's been a busy week for him.

  • You can send us your comments and predictions by clicking the green logo on the top of the blog or send me your tweets on @emmetrd.
  • It may be a wet and miserable day in Dublin, but the crowd are giving it their Sunday best for the anthems. We're nearly there now for what should be a humdinger.

  • Lar Phelan O'Mahoney looks up for it from national anthem
  • Ireland captain Jamie Heaslip speaks to his team ahead of the game against England. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
    Ireland captain Jamie Heaslip speaks to his team ahead of the game against England. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
  • And Owen Farrell ready to start the game.
  • 2 mins: England get an early penalty as Ireland fail to roll away.
  • Jamie Heaslip the guilty party for Ireland.
  • 3 mins: PENALTY - ENGLAND: Farrell knocks it over and England are off to a fine start.
  • Noel O’Reilly at the Aviva writes “Irish (soccer) legend Ronnie Whelan among the fans belting out Ireland’s Call here at the Aviva Stadium this afternoon. We’ll have the thoughts of Gerry Thornley and Liam Toland during today’s game.
  • 4 mins: First scrum of the day coming up and this will tell us a lot.
  • 5 mins: And that's honours even at the first scrum.
  • 6 mins: Ireland get a penalty and Sexton kicks down into the England 22.
  • 7 mins: Early nerves from Ireland after losing line-out and then Zebo drops from a high kick.
  • 11 mins: After a strong period of possession, Craig Gilroy drops a pass and England are all the way up in the Ireland 22.
  • 11 mins: Simon Zebo has had to leave the pitch to be replaced by Keith Earls.
  • And it looks like it's the end of the game for the Munster man as he has suffered a hamstring injury.
  • 12 mins: Zebo suffered the injury while running back to cover the ball as Chris Ashton closed in.
  • 13 mins: Earls makes a great first impression with a surging run on the left wing.
  • 14 mins: Ireland have decided the maul is the way forward and it leads to a big row on the pitch.

  • 15 mins: The captains are called in and Sexton kicks into the 22 with the resulting penalty.
  • And Best fails to hit his man as England launch a counter-attack.
  • 16 mins: Loose play from both sides at the Aviva, mistakes the order of the day so far.
  • 17 mins: Great work by the Irish forwards to win the ball back in midfield and they earn a penalty. 
  • And Sexton again puts Ireland into the England 22, time for a good lineout now. 
  • 19 mins: Sexton tries a brubber but Alex Goode is wise to it and clears well.
  • Best starting to find his jumpers and Ireland maul into the 22.
  • 21 mins: Ireland knock-on through D'Arcy following Farrell's tackle and it's scrum to England. 
  • 22 mins: And Heaslip somehow steals the ball at the scrum, but Mike McCarthy knocks on from the next phase.
  • 23 mins: Penalty to England after Ireland's frontrow pops up.
  • Brian O'Driscoll looks for support as he is tackled by Billy Twelvetrees of England. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images
    Brian O'Driscoll looks for support as he is tackled by Billy Twelvetrees of England. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images
  • 25 mins: Another knock-on from McCarthy after Earls is put away down the left from a brilliant O'Driscoll pass. Handling is proving tough in the conditions.  

  • 28 mins: Heaslip comes in from the side of the maul and England get a penalty in kickable distance.
  • 29 mins: PENALTY - ENGLAND: And Farrell makes it 6-0. 
  • 30 mins: And Heaslip knocks on after failing to catch the restart.
  • Liam Toland writes: "After 23 minutes, England’s aggressive, disciplined defence is keeping a stranglehold on Ireland, starving them of the opportunities they were able to profit from against Wales last week. And when Ireland are able to throw off the shackles, they are consistently being let down by handling errors which even in these conditions are very disappointing."

  • Handling errors and penalties costing Ireland dearly at the moment.
  • 32 mins: And Sexton is down on the pitch injured and Ronan O'Gara is getting ready to come on.
  • And Sexton's hamstring is gone after he pulled up in pain after fly-kicking the ball through.
  • So Zebo and Sexton both off the pitch with hamstring injuries.

  • Noel O'Reilly writes: "As feared, pitch starting to cut up here pretty badly. Small teams of groundsmen trying to repair the damage but fighting a losing battle."
  • 35 mins: Best goes to the back of the lineout to Seán O'Brien and O'Gara is relieved that the ball made it to touch.
  • 35 mins: And the errors continue as Murray knocks on when collecting from the lineout.
  • 37 mins: Penalty to England at scrum-time as Mike Ross loses his bind. 
  • 37 minutes: Ireland claim the lineout, but the ball makes it way back on the England side as the handbags start again between the players.
  • And Peter O'Mahony being called over and told to calm down.
  • 40 mins: O'Gara caught in possession by Parling after poor pass from D'Arcy and Farrell to take aim at goal. 
  • 40 mins: MISSED PENALTY - ENGLAND: Farrell is right and wide with the kick and that's half-time
  • Well certainly not the opening half Ireland wanted, with Sexton and Zebo going off with injury and far too many handling errors and penalties from the home side. It will take a huge effort in the second half, with England having some serious impact players on the bench.  
  • Gerry Thornley’s half-time verdict

    “You have to say it’s looking ominous from an Irish point of view, and that was even before the loss of Jonathan Sexton with what appears to be a serious injury. You can gauge the air of uncertainty that is feeding its way from the pitch up into the stands here at the Aviva.

    ”England’s defence has been assured, keeping Ireland in a vice like grip, while the English scrum started to show signs of getting on top towards the end of the half. The handling errors have been incredible – I make nine so far – and the only good thing at this stage is the scoreline. Even allowing for that, it’s going to be quite some feat to turn this around in the second half.”

  • Conor O'Shea says that Ireland don't need to panic as it's still only a one-score game. The third quarter will be massive and the teams are coming back on to the field. 
  • And O'Gara to get things underway.
  • Tony McCoy O'Grady The pitch is - like yesterday's at Stade de France - a disgrace. Combine that with the rain and the conditions are dreadful. Which is a match for Ireland's handling, aggression and overall lack of impetus.
  • 42 mins: It looks like England have the handling jitters this time around as Parling knocks on. And a big scrum from Ireland earns a penalty.
  • And O'Gara sends Ireland well into English territory.
  • 44 mins: But Ryan can't get clean ball and O'Brien knocks on.
  • 44 mins: The ireland scrum wins a penalty as England go back
  • 45 mins: PENALTY - IRELAND: And Ronan O'Gara halves the deficit.

  • 47 mins: Free-kick to Ireland as England take too long over the throw in.
  • Sandra Groome Come on Ronan!!!!!
  • 48 mins: O'Gara with a wonderful kick off his left foot to touch.
  • 48 mins: England make two changes as Courtney Lawes and Manu Tuilagi come in for Launchbury and Twelvetrees.
  • 49 mins: The bad news for Ireland is that Sean O'Brien is down injured after taking a big hit.
  • Chris Henry is warming up, but O'Brien is back on his feet as the crowd roar their approval.
  • 50 mins: O'Driscoll lets the ball slip in midfield and Tuilagi fails to take full advantage as he knocks on. 
  • 51 mins: Dylan Hartley on for England at hooker as Youngs leaves the game.
  • SandraMarie Groome Yes, Ronan you're a hero:)
  • Jonathan Sexton was forced to leave the field with a hamstring injury. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho
    Jonathan Sexton was forced to leave the field with a hamstring injury. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho
  • 52 mins: And Murray with a huge clearance kick after Rory Best claimed some great btreaking ball.  
  • 54 mins: O'Driscoll lokks to be stuggling with injury after a frantic passage of play ends with a penalty to Ireland.
  • And it's O'Driscoll's right ankle, but he's back up on his feet.
  • 56 mins: Penalty to Ireland from the lineout maul but too far out for O'Gara to go for goal. Not the best kick from the outhalf in the end.
  • 57 mins: YELLOW CARD - ENGLAND: Haskell sent to the bin and O'Gara can level matters on the scoreboard. 
  • Haskell played the ball on the ground with his feet, stupid stuff from the flanker.
  • Gearoid Come on Ireland from the Christchurch Rebuild Team.
  • 59 mins: PENALTY- IRELAND: And O'Gara levels matters and completes a great third quarter for Ireland
  • 60 mins: Earls has played well since replacing Zebo and he launches a huge kick out of defence.
  • 61 mins: Rob Kearney caught on his own line and puts his hand in to touch for the lineout.
  • Video evidence of Cian Healy's rather rash intervention at the breakdown there. That could see him in trouble.
  • phil and siobhan Come on Ireland. Theres a train in Holland with two very excited fans
  • 62 mins: Ball doesn't bounce right for Tuilagi and he can't get the touch down. But England do have a penalty and Farrell will take.   
  • 64 mins: PENALTY - ENGLAND: Farrell's kick is good and England take the lead again, 9-6 with 16 minutes to go.  
  • Richard in Dusseldorf Worldwide Irishmen would love to see a winning try from daddy DOD..go on Brian
  • 65 mins: Kearney caught in the tackle by Lawes, who took a knee in the head for his troubles.
  • Liam Toland writes: "At the risk of repeating myself, we’re playing against a team with a phenomenal defensive effort, it’s hugely physical and aggressive and is suffocating the Irish attack. The English are fighting tooth and nail for every square inch down there and the errors on the Irish side aren’t exactly unforced, rather they’re being forced by the immense pressure they’re finding themselves under.

    Three points down with 20 minutes to go, if Ireland are to have any chance of winning this they need to get the ball away from contact quicker but against this English side, that’s easier said than done. "
  • Penalty is awarded to England though.
  • Lawes is back on his feet and Farrell lines up the kick.
  • 66 mins: PENALTY - ENGLAND: Farrell doesn't even look after it as he strikes it pure and good. Six points to England since Haskell was binned.
  • Chris Henry and Donnacha Ryan on for Seán O'Brien and Donnacha Ryan.
  • John Go Ireland., last push.. cheering from india train
  • 69 mins: And Haskell is back on the field for England.
  • 69 mins: Obstruction in the lineout from England and O'Gara kicks for touch.
  • 70 mins: Penalty for Ireland as England come in from the side.
  • 71 mins: MISSED PENALTY - IRELAND: O'Gara pushes his kick wide right. 
  • Lawes has gone off and Leicester's Tom Waldrom comes on.
  • caroline come on ireland you can do it
  • Claire & Holly Come on Ireland....we're pacing the floor in Luska, Zambia!
  • Sinead Come on Ireland from Columbus, Ohio!
  • 74 mins: O'Gara is done for holding on on the ground and it's a penalty to England.
  • And Farrell is lining up the kick.
  • 75 mins: MISSED PENALTY - ENGLAND: Farrell's kick is wide to the right.
  • 75 mins: Seán Cronin and Dave Kilcoyne on for Best and Healy. 
  • Mark 10 mins to break brilliant England defence
  • Nicola COYBIG! You can do it!
  • Jillian in Philadelphia Come on Ireland
  • Darren Oh dear Ronan! That was REALLY not what we needed.
  • Padraig Cheering for Ireland from the Arabian Desert! C'mon Ireland?!
  • Mary Come on Ireland from Almaty, Kazakhstan
  • Julia in Senegal, West Africa Come on Ireland! You can do it!
  • 77 mins: David Wilson on in the England frontrow as the clock starts to go against Ireland.
  • Robert & Mary from Jacksonville FL You can do it, Ireland from Jacksonville FL
  • Darren We're holding our breath here in Amman, Jordan.
  • England captain Chris Robshaw and Ireland captain Jamie Heaslip in action at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Colm O'NeillInpho
    England captain Chris Robshaw and Ireland captain Jamie Heaslip in action at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Colm O'NeillInpho
  • Major Gould Erin go bragh for the chinese new year here in phukkit, thailand. Push em back into the Irish Sea
  • 78 mins: England keeping it in the scrum and running down the clock.
  • Liam Go Ireland from Calgary Canada
  • Paul - Carnaval Brazil Big push for the last 5 mins!
  • England captain Chris Robshaw named man of the match. He has made 14 tackles.
  • 80 mins: Ireland caught offside and this could be the last move of the match
  • FULL-TIME: Ireland 6 England 12

  • Gerry Thornley writes: "Surprisingly, England lost their discipline during the second half and let Ireland back into the game. But even though there was hope, it almost seemed like a false hope and there was a sense this Ireland side never really believed they could win the match.

    "England certainly aren’t the most cavalier of teams, but they get the job done with the minimum of fuss making very few mistakes. They deserved to win and good luck to them. After all the build up, it was a pretty flat, anticlimactic day."
  • Chris Robhaw says it was pretty special for his team. He praises Owen Farrell's performance and said they went toe-to-toe with Ireland after teams in the past failed to front-up.
  • And Ireland will have a bad hangover after this match, with Sexton and Zebo facing time on the sidelines, while Cian Healy may well have to answer a citing charge after an incident in the first half. Overall as gloomy an outlook as the weather in Dublin.
  • Declan Kidney talks of the unforced errors in the first and second half for England's points. He gives credit to England for their pressure game.
  • He praises Ireland's scrum, but that the lineout was under pressure throughout.
  • "It's been a strange day."
  • Kidney admits he didn't see the incident involving Healy but finishes off by saying there's still a lot still to play for.
  • And the RTÉ panel agree with Kidney, saying it's only two games in to the tournament.
  • Jamie Heaslip says it was tough out there and that England played a "smart game".
  • Heaslip says it's not nice scene in the dressingroom, with a lot of battered and bruised bodies.
  • Former England lock Ben Kay on the sideline backs up Heaslip's comments saying that it resembled a scene from M.A.S.H as the teams came off the pitch at the end.
  • Shane Horgan bemoans Ireland's kicking game throughout and that Ireland's wish to evolve to a more running game can see things get left behind.
  • Stuart Lancaster points to his side's performance while James Haskell was in the sin-bin was key and also the way they closed out the game in the end.
  • "We'll have a few beers in Dublin and enjoy our time in Dublin," adds Lancaster.
  • Shane Horgan has bad news on Simon Zebo, saying that the Munster winger has fracured the fifth metatarsal in his foot, which is the bone on the outside of his foot connected to the little toe.
  • Ireland coach Declan Kidney has said that Simon Zebo will undergo surgery on a fractured metatarsal bone in his foot tomorrow, which is expected to keep him sidelined for 10 weeks at least.

    It ends his Six Nations and involvement in Munster’s Heeneken Cup quarter-final away to Harlequins on April 7th. The semi-finals of the competition are on the last weekend of April.

    The prognosis on Jonathan Sexton’s hamstring injury was less grave with estimating a two-week lay-off for the Leinster outhalf.

    Flanker Sean O’Brien (tight hamstring), lock Mike McCarthy (knee ligament strain), centre Brian O’Driscoll (twisted ankle) and lock Donnacha Ryan (back) also sustained injuries, but have yet to be ruled out against Scotland in two weeks time.

    “Simon will have surgery tomorrow. Jonny will have a scan either later tonight or tomorrow,” Kidney said.

    “It looks like a couple of weeks for Jonny, but it would be wrong to try and second guess the outcome. We’ll know more by Tuesday.

    “It’s been an attritional couple of games and we had a few injuries leading into the tournament, but that’s the way it goes.”