DUBLIN: Two tries by Henry Slade helped England to a deserved 32-20 victory over Six Nations champions Ireland at Lansdowne Road yesterday, ending the hosts’ hopes of back-to-back Grand Slams.
The visitors ran in four tries in a gripping and absorbing contest with England always seeming the most likely victors.
England’s win ended a run of two successive defeats at the hands of the Irish.
For Ireland, who are ranked two in the world on the back of 18 wins in their preceding 19 Tests, the defeat brought to an end a record run of 12 successive home victories.
England rocked the Irish within two minutes, Jonny May going over in the corner after a superb long pass by Owen Farrell picked out Elliot Daly coming into the line.
The England fullback off-loaded to May who ran in unopposed and Farrell converted brilliantly from the touchline for 7-0.
Johnny Sexton reduced the deficit with a sweetly struck penalty from in front of the posts.
The hosts received a further boost when Jerome Garces did not hesitate to send England flanker Tom Curry - making his Six Nations debut - to the sin bin for a high tackle on Keith Earls.
Jack Nowell, who Eddie Jones had suggested could play at flanker, for the scrums at least moved from the wing to replace Curry in his absence.
Jones had promised his side would bring brutality Dublin and the unfortunate Earls was victim to it again when Maro Itoje went in high on him without any intent to take the ball.
Ireland skipper Rory Best argued to Garces that it was worse than the Curry incident, but the French referee just awarded just a penalty.
The two sides traded blows early in the second-half with the Irish relieving their 22 after sustained English pressure when Garry Ringrose’s clattering tackle on Farrell.
Ireland came away with a Sexton penalty to leave them
trailing by four points. England lost key lock Itoje after he went off injured although that balanced out as giant Irish second rower Devin Toner limped off.
Ireland’s discipline had held really well through the pressure and when they conceded a rare penalty Farrell was unable to make them pay sending a relatively easy penalty wide of the posts.
However, the English produced the killer blow with 14 minutes remaining as May’s kick ahead was gathered by Slade who touched down for 22-13 -- Farrell missing the conversion.
Farrell made no mistake, though, with a long range penalty attempt with 10 minutes remaining, pumping his fist in delight as he stretched the visitors’ lead to 25-13.