The Best Ireland v England Rugby Clashes of The Last 15 Years
March 15, 2018 (No Comments) by Evan Coughlan

With the Six Nations Championship in the bag, the Irish rugby team now travel to Twickenham on St. Patrick’s Day in search of their first Grand Slam since 2009. Standing in their way are Eddie Jones’s England, who after winning back to back Six Nations titles have flattered to deceive in this year’s championship.

the-best-ireland-v-england-rugby-clashes-of-the-last-15-years

Originally this game was supposed to be the Grand Slam shootout and show who was the best team in the Northern hemisphere, 18 months out from the World Cup. Now, all going well it will be the crowing of Ireland as second to only New Zealand in International rugby, but enough about Saturday’s match for now.

Instead let’s take a look back at some of the biggest and best Ireland v England clashes from the last 15 years. If you’ve just recently jumped on the 6 Nations bandwagon, you might want to look over our Bluffer’s Guide To Rugby Terms, for the weekend that’s in it and all.

Ireland v England – 2007

This game is possibly the most historic match in Irish rugby due to the numerous factors that went with playing against England in Croke Park. The hype surrounding this match focused on the playing of God Save the Queen at a stadium where 87 years previous on Bloody Sunday 14 civilians were killed by members of the British Army.

Ultimately, the anthem was played and respectfully observed by the Irish supporters. What followed next was one of the most emotional versions of Amhrán na bhFiann ever seen, which had grown men in the stands and on the pitch in the case of John Hayes in tears.

With all the emotion swirling around that day, the Irish players could have been forgiven for not getting caught up in the entire hullabaloo of the occasion. However, the complete opposite occurred and that Irish team put in arguably their greatest ever performances under Eddie O’Sullivan and completely dominated England for the entire game.

The game was summed up in the 64th minute when Ronan O’Gara kicked a cross field ball reminiscent of a Gaelic footballer to Shane Horgan who picked it out of the air to score a try that secured the match for Ireland. Ireland went on to win 43-13, securing their biggest ever win over the English in the process.

Ireland v England – 2003

Yet again this was a match between Ireland and England where the majority of the fallout focused on the pre-game ceremonies. All over an argument about the placement of teams on the red carpet. English captain Martin Johnson led his team out and proceeded to stand on the Irish side of the red carpet, which Ireland had deemed there lucky side. Ireland came out next and proceeded to stand further down the line off the red carpet. Martin Johnson refused to be moved, setting out the English stubbornness that they would not lie down for anyone.

Eventually Irish President Mary McAleese appeared and proceeded to walk off the red carpet to meet the Irish team. Johnson has since admitted that he did not know about Ireland wishing to stand on that side of the red carpet and would have moved if he had been told to do so by the referee. Instead he was told by some random official and refused to move out of principle and to show England were in Dublin for one thing and one thing only, the Grand Slam.

This was an English team who were months away from winning the World Cup in Australia and possessed several exceptional players such as Jonny Wilkinson, Jason Robinson and Lawrence Dallaglio. England steam rolled Ireland that day. They came out victors on a score line of 42-6 and secured the Grand Slam, in what was a disastrous but eventful day for Irish rugby both on and off the pitch.

England v Ireland – 2004

Ireland had no right to win this match. England in their first game at home since winning the World Cup the previous November were rampant favourites to obliterate this Irish side and march on to another Grand Slam title. However, the Irish didn’t read the script and put in an almighty performance over the course of the game, dismantling the world champions.

After a tight first half Ireland led 12-10 at half-time thanks to the boot at Ronan O’Gara. Ireland were saved from a definite try in the first half after Peter Stringer in a last ditch attempt to prevent the try, performed a perfect ankle tap on Jason Robinson. This move caused the winger to trip up and allow Ireland to stay in the lead as the first half ended.

Ireland piled on the pressure in the second half. They were rewarded with a try, made by a magic pass from Brian O’Driscoll to Tyrone Howe allowing Girvan Dempsey to finish off in the corner. One late penalty from England cut the score to six, but Ireland were able to hang on due to a ferocious defensive display, preventing England from scoring a try at the death.

This match could be considered a changing of the guard as Ireland would later go on to claim their first Triple Crown win since 1985. They also would become the more dominate side over the next few years, while English rugby would regress after the high of the World Cup victory.

Ireland v England – 2017

In a complete reverse of what has occurred this year, England came to Dublin looking to complete back to back Grand Slam’s. They were also on the cusp of securing a record 19th consecutive international test win on St. Patrick’s Weekend. There was a slightly surreal beginning to the match in Dublin.

The players were forced to wait on the pitch for the final whistle to sound in Paris, after 20 minutes of injury time were played to decide the victor at the Stade de France. When the match did eventually kick off at the Aviva stadium, it was a scrappy affair with both sides trading a penalty apiece in the opening 20 minutes.

Midway through the first half, the first significant breakthrough occurred thanks to the Irish maul and Iain Henderson crashed over for the try. England’s creativity was lacking due to a strong defensive display by Ireland, which didn’t allow the old enemy any room to create. Once again, penalties were traded and Ireland led by 13-9 going into the final 15 minutes. Ireland managed the game exceptionally well in the closing stages, not allowing the English any chance to get into the Irish half as the clock ticked down.

Then the sweetest moment of the entire game took place in the 81st minute. England fullback and constant torn in Ireland’s side over the years, Mike Brown, knocked on and the wheels were knocked off the English chariot by an Irish side once again.

And so it all comes down to this… England v Ireland – 2018

So here we are again, England vs. Ireland in 2018. After a decade and a half of classic ties between both sides, Ireland have the chance to win the Grand Slam on English soil for the first time ever. After witnessing England lose their last two matches without putting up much of a fight, it will be interesting to see how Eddie Jones side react this weekend. England will look to bully Ireland up front as they enact some revenge on Ireland after last year’s defensive master class.

johnny-sexton

Although I’m sure Joe Schmidt is privately delighted that Ireland have won their third Six Nations in five years, the Kiwi will only be looking at this year’s campaign as a success if we walk out of Twickenham on Saturday evening with the Grand Slam. Ireland have a fully fit squad to choose from and Cian Healy will take a full part in training this week after he suffered a stinger like injury to his shoulder during last weekend’s victory over Scotland.

Final Thoughts

With the championship secured, Ireland will go to Twickenham not having to look for tries. They may very well play a more defensive minded game, a tactic which was originally used during Joe Schmidt’s early days and try to stifle to English attack. Expect the next few days to be filled with Eddie Jones trying to rile up the Irish squad with his usual withering putdowns. I don’t see this Irish team being too concerned about what Eddie Jones has to say.

england-v-ireland-2018

Instead, I think that we should all feel quietly confident about the Grand Slam being secured for only the third time ever. Then we can celebrate long into Paddy’s Day night, but we were probably going to do that regardless! With a massive few days of festivities coming up, why not check out some of these Unmissable Irish Gigs Over St. Patrick’s Weekend so you can see out the bank holiday in style.

Evan Coughlan
Writes about sport and stuff. When Evan thinks of a witty comment it will appear here.

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The Best Ireland v England Rugby Clashes of The Last 15 Years
March 15, 2018 (No Comments) by Evan Coughlan

With the Six Nations Championship in the bag, the Irish rugby team now travel to Twickenham on St. Patrick’s Day in search of their first Grand Slam since 2009. Standing in their way are Eddie Jones’s England, who after winning back to back Six Nations titles have flattered to deceive in this year’s championship.

the-best-ireland-v-england-rugby-clashes-of-the-last-15-years

Originally this game was supposed to be the Grand Slam shootout and show who was the best team in the Northern hemisphere, 18 months out from the World Cup. Now, all going well it will be the crowing of Ireland as second to only New Zealand in International rugby, but enough about Saturday’s match for now.

Instead let’s take a look back at some of the biggest and best Ireland v England clashes from the last 15 years. If you’ve just recently jumped on the 6 Nations bandwagon, you might want to look over our Bluffer’s Guide To Rugby Terms, for the weekend that’s in it and all.

Ireland v England – 2007

This game is possibly the most historic match in Irish rugby due to the numerous factors that went with playing against England in Croke Park. The hype surrounding this match focused on the playing of God Save the Queen at a stadium where 87 years previous on Bloody Sunday 14 civilians were killed by members of the British Army.

Ultimately, the anthem was played and respectfully observed by the Irish supporters. What followed next was one of the most emotional versions of Amhrán na bhFiann ever seen, which had grown men in the stands and on the pitch in the case of John Hayes in tears.

With all the emotion swirling around that day, the Irish players could have been forgiven for not getting caught up in the entire hullabaloo of the occasion. However, the complete opposite occurred and that Irish team put in arguably their greatest ever performances under Eddie O’Sullivan and completely dominated England for the entire game.

The game was summed up in the 64th minute when Ronan O’Gara kicked a cross field ball reminiscent of a Gaelic footballer to Shane Horgan who picked it out of the air to score a try that secured the match for Ireland. Ireland went on to win 43-13, securing their biggest ever win over the English in the process.

Ireland v England – 2003

Yet again this was a match between Ireland and England where the majority of the fallout focused on the pre-game ceremonies. All over an argument about the placement of teams on the red carpet. English captain Martin Johnson led his team out and proceeded to stand on the Irish side of the red carpet, which Ireland had deemed there lucky side. Ireland came out next and proceeded to stand further down the line off the red carpet. Martin Johnson refused to be moved, setting out the English stubbornness that they would not lie down for anyone.

Eventually Irish President Mary McAleese appeared and proceeded to walk off the red carpet to meet the Irish team. Johnson has since admitted that he did not know about Ireland wishing to stand on that side of the red carpet and would have moved if he had been told to do so by the referee. Instead he was told by some random official and refused to move out of principle and to show England were in Dublin for one thing and one thing only, the Grand Slam.

This was an English team who were months away from winning the World Cup in Australia and possessed several exceptional players such as Jonny Wilkinson, Jason Robinson and Lawrence Dallaglio. England steam rolled Ireland that day. They came out victors on a score line of 42-6 and secured the Grand Slam, in what was a disastrous but eventful day for Irish rugby both on and off the pitch.

England v Ireland – 2004

Ireland had no right to win this match. England in their first game at home since winning the World Cup the previous November were rampant favourites to obliterate this Irish side and march on to another Grand Slam title. However, the Irish didn’t read the script and put in an almighty performance over the course of the game, dismantling the world champions.

After a tight first half Ireland led 12-10 at half-time thanks to the boot at Ronan O’Gara. Ireland were saved from a definite try in the first half after Peter Stringer in a last ditch attempt to prevent the try, performed a perfect ankle tap on Jason Robinson. This move caused the winger to trip up and allow Ireland to stay in the lead as the first half ended.

Ireland piled on the pressure in the second half. They were rewarded with a try, made by a magic pass from Brian O’Driscoll to Tyrone Howe allowing Girvan Dempsey to finish off in the corner. One late penalty from England cut the score to six, but Ireland were able to hang on due to a ferocious defensive display, preventing England from scoring a try at the death.

This match could be considered a changing of the guard as Ireland would later go on to claim their first Triple Crown win since 1985. They also would become the more dominate side over the next few years, while English rugby would regress after the high of the World Cup victory.

Ireland v England – 2017

In a complete reverse of what has occurred this year, England came to Dublin looking to complete back to back Grand Slam’s. They were also on the cusp of securing a record 19th consecutive international test win on St. Patrick’s Weekend. There was a slightly surreal beginning to the match in Dublin.

The players were forced to wait on the pitch for the final whistle to sound in Paris, after 20 minutes of injury time were played to decide the victor at the Stade de France. When the match did eventually kick off at the Aviva stadium, it was a scrappy affair with both sides trading a penalty apiece in the opening 20 minutes.

Midway through the first half, the first significant breakthrough occurred thanks to the Irish maul and Iain Henderson crashed over for the try. England’s creativity was lacking due to a strong defensive display by Ireland, which didn’t allow the old enemy any room to create. Once again, penalties were traded and Ireland led by 13-9 going into the final 15 minutes. Ireland managed the game exceptionally well in the closing stages, not allowing the English any chance to get into the Irish half as the clock ticked down.

Then the sweetest moment of the entire game took place in the 81st minute. England fullback and constant torn in Ireland’s side over the years, Mike Brown, knocked on and the wheels were knocked off the English chariot by an Irish side once again.

And so it all comes down to this… England v Ireland – 2018

So here we are again, England vs. Ireland in 2018. After a decade and a half of classic ties between both sides, Ireland have the chance to win the Grand Slam on English soil for the first time ever. After witnessing England lose their last two matches without putting up much of a fight, it will be interesting to see how Eddie Jones side react this weekend. England will look to bully Ireland up front as they enact some revenge on Ireland after last year’s defensive master class.

johnny-sexton

Although I’m sure Joe Schmidt is privately delighted that Ireland have won their third Six Nations in five years, the Kiwi will only be looking at this year’s campaign as a success if we walk out of Twickenham on Saturday evening with the Grand Slam. Ireland have a fully fit squad to choose from and Cian Healy will take a full part in training this week after he suffered a stinger like injury to his shoulder during last weekend’s victory over Scotland.

Final Thoughts

With the championship secured, Ireland will go to Twickenham not having to look for tries. They may very well play a more defensive minded game, a tactic which was originally used during Joe Schmidt’s early days and try to stifle to English attack. Expect the next few days to be filled with Eddie Jones trying to rile up the Irish squad with his usual withering putdowns. I don’t see this Irish team being too concerned about what Eddie Jones has to say.

england-v-ireland-2018

Instead, I think that we should all feel quietly confident about the Grand Slam being secured for only the third time ever. Then we can celebrate long into Paddy’s Day night, but we were probably going to do that regardless! With a massive few days of festivities coming up, why not check out some of these Unmissable Irish Gigs Over St. Patrick’s Weekend so you can see out the bank holiday in style.

Evan Coughlan
Writes about sport and stuff. When Evan thinks of a witty comment it will appear here.

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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