An impressive defensive display alongside two trys from winger Jonny May helped England beat Ireland 18-7 at Twickenham on Saturday, November 21, for their second win in the Nations Cup.
A stunning solo effort from May in the 21st minute was the highlight of the game with Ireland unable to significantly trouble the England defence despite controlling the larger share of possession.
England head coach Eddie Jones was pleased with the performance and execution of the teams game plan.
“We controlled most of the game, we went in there with certain things we wanted to impose and for the best part of the game we did that,” he said.
The intensity and confidence of the England players was evident from the early exchanges with Ireland being marched backwards in the first few scrums and repeatedly spilling possession at the lineout.
The pressure began to tell, and at 17 minutes Owen Farrell produced a lofted cross-field kick for May who rose above Irish full-back Hugo Keenan to pluck the ball out the air to score.
May crossed the whitewash again four minutes later scoring a contender for try of the tournament, racing deep from within his own 22 capitalising on a turnover ball from an over-thrown lineout.
England quickly fed possession to May who sidestepped his way past Chris Farrell and then hacked the ball downfield, chasing with blistering pace, before diving on the ball to score.
This was May’s 31st international try taking him up to joint-second for most tries scored for England, overtaking Jeremy Guscott and now 18 behind Rory Underwood.
Jones’ side constantly knocked the Irish ball carriers behind the gain line.
However, when Ireland did manage to build some phases, the colossal efforts from players such as Billy Vunipola and Maro Itoje ensured turnover ball from the breakdown, negating any fluidity in the Irish play.
Farrell extended the lead to 18 points in the second half with two penalties on 46 and 52 minutes.
Invaluable Irish experience
The Ireland starting lineup had a combined total of 292 less capped international players than their English counterparts, and at times it showed.
Controlling 61 per cent of possession, Ireland were unable to rely on more experienced players to help them convert their possession into points.
The back row of England also did an excellent job to stifle them, making more tackles combined than the whole of the Irish team.
Ireland did manage to muster up a substantial chance eventually with Ross Byrne’s delicate grubber gathered by Farrell who was superbly held up on the line by Henry Slade.
Eventually, Ireland did manage to score after a delightful chip from substitute, and former England U20 Billy Burns was caught by fellow substitute Jacob Stockdale who meandered his way to the try line after 75 minutes.
Ireland head coach Andy Farrell said: “We’ll learn a lot about playing against a really good side. We’ll learn invaluable experience from dealing with pressure and the pressure they put you on.”
Farrell hopes they can use this experience positively when they face Georgia on November 29 for their third Nations Cup match.
England will play Wales away at Parc y Scarlets on November 28 knowing that a victory will seal their title as winners of Nations Cup Pool A and lead to a playoff match against the winners of group B.