Six Nations: England v Ireland

Joe Schmidt's men enter Fortress Twickenham hoping to complete a Patrick's Day Grand Slam

Ruaidhrí Croke Sat, Mar 17
LIVE: Six Nations: England v Ireland

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  • 13:31

    So, it's all come down to this.

    After seven weeks, six teams, five Ireland wins, two England defeats and one "scummy" comment from Eddie Jones, 80 minutes of rugby will decide if Ireland can claim a Grand Slam for just the third time ever by beating the old enemy at Twickenham for the first time in eight years.

    There are a lot of facts, figures, opinions and talk around this game but the one that matters is who scores the most points. Plain and simple. If Ireland do so then the Grand Slam will be complete, if England do so then some pride will be salvaged and the tables turned from Ireland doing the same this time last year. Either way Ireland are Six Nations champions but the Grand Slam is the jewel in the crown.  

    Kick-off is at 2.45pm and we have plenty of build-up for you between now and then.

    So sit back, relax and try to control the nerves. We're less than 75 minutes away.

  • 13:37
    Over in Rome, Italy could be on their way to claiming a first win of the Championship for Conor O'Shea. At the start of the second half they lead Scotland 17-12 at the Stadio Olimpico.
  • 13:45

    A reminder of the teams for today's Twickenham showdown.

    ENGLAND:  Anthony Watson (Bath); Jonny May (Leicester Tigers), Jonathan Joseph (Bath), Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors), Elliot Daly (Wasps); Owen Farrell (Saracens), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens); Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins); Maro Itoje (Saracens), George Kruis (Saracens); Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), James Haskell (Wasps), Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs).
    Replacements:  Jamie George (Saracens), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Don Armand (Exeter Chiefs), Danny Care (Harlequins), George Ford (Leicester Tigers), Mike Brown (Harlequins).

    IRELAND:  Rob Kearney (Leinster); Keith Earls (Munster), Garry Ringrose (Leinster), Bundee Aki (Connacht), Jacob Stockdale (Ulster); Jonathan Sexton (Leinster), Conor Murray (Munster);  Cian Healy  (Leinster),  Rory Best(Ulster, capt), T Furlong (Leinster); James Ryan (Leinster), Iain Henderson (Ulster); Peter O’Mahony (Munster), Dan Leavy (Leinster), CJ Stander (Munster).
    Replacements:  Seán Cronin (Leinster), Jack McGrath (Leinster), Andrew Porter (Leinster), Devin Toner (Leinster), Jordi Murphy (Leinster), Kieran Marmion (Connacht), Joey Carbery (Leinster), Jordan Larmour (Leinster).  

    Referee:  Angus Gardner (Australia)
    Assistant Referees:  Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Nigel Owens (Wales)
    Television Match Official:  Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

  • 13:52
  • 13:57

    Some poetic inspiration for you there from Irish poet Stephen James Smith.

    Meanwhile, there is some news reaching us that Virgin Media TV boxes have completely failed, meaning thousands of people around the country can't tune into the rugby at the moment. Thankfully we have you covered here.

    So let's get onto the multitutde of pieces we have for you to tuck into before kick-off. First up we have Gerry Thornley's preview from London.

    Ireland look primed for a day of days

  • 13:58
  • 14:01

    I can feel the blood boiling around the country from here. What a day for this to happen.

    Over in Rome, Scotland have pulled a try back to make it Italy 24-19 Scotland.

    Meanwhile, Joe Schmidt has been talking to TV3 to assure the nation that everybody is fit and ready for action. He says the key thing is to make sure emotion doesn't take over and for the players to stay in control.

  • 14:08

    "Like me, Jones was brought up in a tolerant and respectful Australian multicultural society. I am Irish-Australian. Australia is accepting and tolerant of all cultures and religions. Calling our Irish national rugby team “scummy” is not acceptable on any level."

    Matt Williams takes a look at Eddie Jones in his column today: Ireland have a rare and beautiful opportunity

    "Into the heart of it, then: into Twickenham, the forbidding citadel of resolute Englishness, with the ghosts of all those rugby maulings of winters past when those white shirts and those names plucked from the  Domesday Book  – Underwood, Carling, Guscott, Andrew, Moore, Johnson, Dallaglio, Dawson, Robinson, Wilkinson, Cohen – seemed to spell out inescapably bleak Saturdays after which the best of Irish rugby looked irrecoverably exhausted, demoralised, bewildered and beaten."

    Fortress Twickenham is a scary place indeed, as Keith Duggan writes: What could be more - or less - natural than Ireland winning at Twickenham?


  • 14:10

    We have a level game in Rome.

    Stuart Hogg goes over to tie the scores up at 24-24 with 10 minutes to go.

  • 14:15
    Italy regain the lead! Tommaso Allan kicks a huge penalty to put the home side 27-26 ahead with five minutes to go.
  • 14:16
  • 14:17

    Less than 30 minutes until kick-off! Here is a selection of our best writing from throughout the week in the build-up to the big match.

    England v Ireland: 10 things you really should know

  • 14:19

    Scotland retake the lead!

    A super Laidlaw penalty looks to have wrapped the game up for the visitors and condemned Conor O'Shea's side to a fifth loss of the Championship.

  • 14:20
  • 14:22
  • 14:24

    Just 20 minutes now until proceedings get underway at Twickenham and the players are having their final few quiet moments in the dressing room before being greeted by a crescendo of noise.

    They'll also be greeted by an icy cold wind with the temperature expected to be in and around -1 for the game.

  • 14:35

    It has started to snow at Twickenham.

    The teams are in the tunnel and ready to emerge onto the pitch.

    Can Ireland do it?

  • 14:43

    National anthems done.  

    It's time.

  • 14:45
    1 min: The action is underway at Twickenham! (England 0 Ireland 0)
  • 14:46
    2 mins: From Johnny Sexton's kick off James Ryan barrels into Maro Itoje with a huge hit. Marker set. Richard Wigglesworth clears for England and Ireland have the possession.  (England 0 Ireland 0)
  • 14:48
    3 mins: After Owen Farrell's chip through was well collected by Conor Murray England have managed to pin Ireland back here and the clearance only goes as far as Anthony Watson. England going through the phases on the Ireland 22 line.  (England 0 Ireland 0)
  • 14:49

    4 mins: Ireland have a lineout on the left inside their 22.

    Furlong gets up but is challenged in the air. Thankfully it falls into Irish hands and Murray clears well.  (England 0 Ireland 0)

  • 14:51
    6 mins: Farrell goes for another kick through which he chases down himself. Rob Kearney collects and clears but is hit hard while in mid-air by the charging Farrell. Ireland get the penalty but there have already been a few niggly hits so far after Kyle Sinckler looked to have taken out Keith Earsls earlier.  (England 0 Ireland 0)
  • 14:52
  • 14:54

    7 mins: What a start for Ireland and what a try!

    A magnificent high kick from Sexton on the right, across to the far corner is clumsily dealt with by Watson on the tryline as Kearney rushed in to challenge. The ball bobbled through the hand's of the Englishman and over the tryline where Garry Ringrose was able to pounce and ground it for the try!

    Sexton converts.  (England 0 Ireland 7)

  • 14:57

    10 mins: Some great defence there from Ireland.

    England got their first penalty of the game and went for the corner. After a high kick through Kearney dealt with it but Ireland were penalised for players going off their feet. The English lineout was a good one but Ireland managed to disrupt the maul and turn it over. Ireland scrum just inside their 22.  (England 0 Ireland 7)

  • 14:59

    12 mins: Ireland get the penalty!

    Some more indiscipline from England costs them as Itoje strays offside. Sexton kicks to touch and Ireland move up to halfway.  (England 0 Ireland 7)

  • 15:01
    14 mins: England are look shaky so far today. An attempted clearance from Farrell rebounds off the head of Haskell and Ireland now have a scrum outside the England 22.  (England 0 Ireland 7)
  • 15:04
    17 mins: Ireland have worked the scrum well and are bearing down on the England tryline,. They're five metres out and onto the 17th phase...  (England 0 Ireland 7)
  • 15:06

    18 mins: Bundee Aki drops it!

    That was superb patient play from Ireland as they went through the phases. The ball was eventually flicked out to Aki on the left touchline who had the space in front of him but lifted his head at the vital moment and dropped the ball. England scrum 10 metres from their tryline.  (England 0 Ireland 7)

  • 15:09
    19 mins: After two collapsed scrums Ireland are penalised for not driving straight and Farrell can clear to touch. England are under big pressure here. How long can Ireland manitain this momentum is the question.  (England 0 Ireland 7)
  • 15:11
    21 mins: And once again England fall to indiscipline. They just don't look comfortable at all. Ireland have a penalty in a good central position and Sexton will go for the posts...  (England 0 Ireland 7)
  • 15:12

    22 mins:  Off the post!

    Sexton's effort looked good but veered off at the very end before rebounding off the post and Farrell pounced to clear.  (England 0 Ireland 7)

  • 15:13
  • 15:15

    24 mins: What a superb try which was finished by CJ Stander. A lightning quick exchange of passes on the England 22 saw Furlong find Aki with a beautiful slip pass. Sexton acted as the decoy to make the space, Aki found Stander and the South African powered through to ground it at the base of the psot.

    Sexton converts and Ireland lead by 14!  (England 0 Ireland 14)

  • 15:17
    26 mins: Ireland are so on top here, England don't have an inch to breathe and it's showing with numerous small errors. A big hit from Aki on Elliot Daly is being looked at by the TMO for a possible no-wrap tackle...  (England 0 Ireland 14)
  • 15:19

    27 mins: Penalty for England but Aki escapes a yellow card!

    Aki led with the shoulder but it was an accidental head clash which made it look worse. England kick for touch and are mauling towards the Ireland tryline...  (England 0 Ireland 14)

  • 15:21

    28 mins: England drive towards the line and look to go over but Ireland hold them up. It's recycled to Wigglesworth who finds Haskell but Ringrose dives in to steal!

    However, in the ensuing maul Henderson strays offside and England get another penalty which they kick to touch...  (England 0 Ireland 14)

  • 15:23

    30 mins: Yellow card for Peter O'Mahony!

    Another big England maul is held up again but only because O'Mahony illegally collapsed it and he will now spend the next 10 minutes in the sin bin.  (England 0 Ireland 14)

  • 15:24

    31 mins: Murray wins the English lineout!

    After kicking for touch again Murray manages to steal in and snatch the ball from the England lineout. Ireland are able to clear and get a breather. That was some heroic defending to get through that phase of play.  (England 0 Ireland 14)

  • 15:26
    32 mins: England are driving for the line here once again after another powerful attack. They're right under the posts...  (England 0 Ireland 14)
  • 15:26
  • 15:28

    33 mins: Well, it was coming.

    And it was a lovely try when it eventually did. After more patient build-up play, Farrell made the most of Ireland being down to 14 men by slipping a lovely kick through to Elliot Daly who managed to ground ahead of the backtracking Earls.  

    Farrell's conversion is pulled left and wide.

    Meanwhile, Sexton has had to come off for Ireland as blood continues to stream down his face. Joey Carbery replaces him temporarily.  (England 5 Ireland 14)

  • 15:32
    37 mins: Robshaw crashes into Murray after a clearance for the second time. There have been a number of late hits so far today, particularly on Murray. They're really targeting him.  (England 5 Ireland 14)
  • 15:33
  • 15:34
    39 mins: England are really coming back into this now. Peter O'Mahony is back on the pitch which is a huge plus and Ireland have a scrum on their own 22.  (England 5 Ireland 14)
  • 15:35
    40 mins: Ireland get the penalty and Carbery can kick to touch. Everybody breathe.  (England 5 Ireland 14)
  • 15:37

    40+1 mins: Ireland are powering on for another score before half-time but England are driving them back into their own half.

    Sexton is back out and will re-enter the game at the start of the second half.  (England 5 Ireland 14)

  • 15:38


  • 15:40

    40+3 mins: Jacob Stockdale becomes the first man ever to score seven tries in a Six Nations campaign!

    He received the ball on the left and drove at the English defence, kicking up over the top. Despite being tackled twice off the ball he managed to barrel through and get a hand on it right at the very end line. What a try!

    Carbery converts. (England 5 Ireland 21)

  • 15:41
  • 15:43
  • 15:47
    Colum Farrelly Carberry did really well to add the two points. It was by no means an easy kick and he had the extra pressure of being a replacement for Sexton.
  • 15:51

    So, Ireland are 40 minutes from a Grand Slam and England have a mountain of work on their hands on they're to stop that happening.

    Ireland have been the better side except for what was maybe a 10 minute spell of English pressure. As it has done throughout the Championship, poor discipline is costing England big time here.

    40 minutes from a third Grand Slam ever. The dream is almost a reality.

  • 15:55
    41 mins: We are back underway at Twickenham!  (England 5 Ireland 21)
  • 15:57
    42 mins: Sexton is cleaned up and back on the pitch after his HIA. England are in possession and have a lineout inside the Ireland 22 on the left hand side. They need a score quickly in this second half.  (England 5 Ireland 21)
  • 15:59
    43 mins: It's worked across the pitch to the far wing where Jonny May catches and speeds towards the tryline but is driven back by Rob Kearney. It's recycled and England continue to go through the phases...  (England 5 Ireland 21)
  • 16:00

    45 mins: What a tackle from Earls! Elliot Daly looked to be easing in towards a try on the left wing but Earls managed to dive after him and bring the winger down with a perfectly-timed ankle tap. That was a crucial, crucial intervention!

    England have the possession and continue to attack. For how long can Ireland keep them out?  (England 5 Ireland 21)

  • 16:03

    47 mins: Ireland are refusing to be breached! Another massive tackle from Earls drives May back.

    And England may have blown their chance here. The TMO is looking at a possible neck roll by Daly on Kearney...  (England 5 Ireland 21)

  • 16:04

    48 mins: Daly escapes a yellow!

    He has been fairly lucky there after what looked like a certain neck roll. Anyway, Ireland get the penalty and clear to touch.  (England 5 Ireland 21)

  • 16:09
    51 mins: Yet more English indiscipline costs them in the scrum and Ireland get a penalty and another breather. England just cannot maintain their discipline at all.  (England 5 Ireland 21)
  • 16:11
    53 mins: Ireland have a chance here. After another lovely Stockdale kick through they had England pinned on their own tryline. Farrell managed to clear but Ireland will have the lineout on the English 22.  (England 5 Ireland 21)
  • 16:13
    54 mins: English desperation levels are increasing but they have the ball in hand. They're just inside the Ireland half and attacking but Ireland looks impenetrable.  (England 5 Ireland 21)
  • 16:13
    55 mins: And once again they are! Stockdale manages to steal it and Ireland move up.  (England 5 Ireland 21)
  • 16:14
    56 mins: Bundee Aki has been down for a few minutes and looks in a bad way. The referee has stopped the game and the stretcher is on.  (England 5 Ireland 21)
  • 16:16

    57 mins: Aki goes off for a HIA and is replaced by Jordan Larmour in the centre.  

    Ireland scrum on halfway.  (England 5 Ireland 21)

  • 16:20

    58 mins: Ireland are almost on the England tryline and pushing for the first score of the half.

    A beautiful popped pass from Ringrose allowed Larmour to streak away past three English defenders before being brought down just metres short. The speed of the 20-year-old is incredible.  (England 5 Ireland 21)

  • 16:22

    60 mins: Conor Murray puts Ireland further ahead!

    After another England foul Ireland get the penalty and Murray makes no mistake. Not too sure why Sexton didn't take that as he's still on the pitch but it doesn't matter. Ireland have the Grand Slam well within their hands now.  (England 5 Ireland 24)

  • 16:25
    64 mins: Time is running out on England. They have a lineout in the Ireland 22 but surely they are too far behind now.  (England 5 Ireland 24)
  • 16:26
  • 16:26
    Peter Maher Thanks Guys, Im sitting here in Rio De Janerio, Working, Its My Birthday :-(, Cant get the match on the Internet, But at least I have The IT commentry and getting some sense of the Excitement... Comm on Ireland !!!
  • 16:28

    66 mins: Just as I say that...

    A well worked attack for England, highlighted by a lovely no-look pass from Farrell opens up the space for Elliott to drive over on the left wing and at least give England some hope.

    From a very difficult position Farrell's conversion misses and Ireland remain 14 points ahead.

    Carbery has now come on for Sexton.  (England 10 Ireland 24)

  • 16:30
    Peter Coghlan Starting to turn blue here in Stockholm & not with the cold. Gripping stuff Ruaidhrí keep up the good work, we're relying on you!
  • 16:31
    Kevin Nunan In a safari in the middle of nowhere in Uganda, have just found enough internet coverage to tune into blog! C’mon the lads.
  • 16:31
    70 mins: Ireland have a penalty for a late hit on Carbery. The man himself will kick for the posts and hope to put this out of the reach of the home side.  (England 10 Ireland 24)
  • 16:32

    71 mins: But he misses left!

    It remains a two-score game and England still have a glimmer of hope. Ireland need to stay composed here, just nine minutes to go until the Grand Slam is complete.  (England 10 Ireland 24)

  • 16:33
    Dylan Goff At work in a garden centre in Vienna, Austria. Trying not to get caught reading the blog! C'mon Ireland!!
  • 16:33
    Richard Martin In the back garden in Philadelphia desperately refreshing phone and willing final whistle. Cmon Ireland
  • 16:33
    Conor O'Driscoll Hello from Louisville, KY! COYBIG!!
  • 16:34
    73 mins: Ireland have possession inside the England half. This is good. Keep the ball and the Grand Slam is complete.  (England 10 Ireland 24)
  • 16:37

    74 mins: We have a stoppage as Keith Earls is removed with an injury and replaced by Kieran Marmion.  

    We'll restart with an Ireland scrum inside their own half. Nearly there, lads.  (England 10 Ireland 24)

  • 16:40
    76 mins: Ireland are relentless. They have managed to drive England all the way back virtually to their 22 but England get the lineout.  (England 10 Ireland 24)
  • 16:41
    77 mins: England are not going to go down without a fight but the tike is running out. They have the ball inside the Ireland 22 and are going through the phases...  (England 10 Ireland 24)
  • 16:42

    78 mins: What a tackle from Sean Cronin!

    Mike Brown looked for all the world as if he was about to score a try right in the corner but Cronin dived in to push his foot into touch just as the ball was grounded!

    That was last ditch, heroic stuff!  (England 10 Ireland 24)

  • 16:44
    79 mins: Penalty for England but the time is very, very much against them. They need two converted tries in about 90 seconds.  (England 10 Ireland 24)
  • 16:45
    80 mins: Ireland drive England right back outside the 22!  (England 10 Ireland 24)
  • 16:47


  • 16:48
    80+2 mins: Jonny May goes over and Farrell misses the conversion but it's too late anyway! (England 15 Ireland 24)
  • 16:48



  • 16:55


    What a win. What a day. What a team.

    From the start Ireland din't give England an inch of breathing room, pinning them back and making their intentions clear from the very start. For the third time in history Ireland win the Grand Slam and they do it on St Patrick's Day in Twickenham!

    It doesn't get much better than that.

  • 17:02
  • 17:04

    Ireland lift the Six Nations Championship trophy and the Triple Crown, complete with a Grand Slam.

    Make sure you stay tuned for all of our reports, reaction and analysis on its way from Twickenham on an historic day for Irish rugby.

  • 17:13
  • 17:53

    If you want to welcome the Grand Slam-winning Ireland team home, the details are below.

    The Ireland Team Home Coming will take place in the Aviva Stadium tomorrow, Sunday 18th March, at 4.30pm.

    Tickets are free and will be available through from 18.00 hrs this evening (Saturday, 17th March 2018) on a first come first served basis.