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ENGLAND finally shrugged off their post world cup hangover to bulldoze a fine win against Ireland at Twickenham.
Coach Eddie Jones had been looking to his forwards to dominate the opposition and in parts of this game his men obliged.
Jones was pleased with the step-up in intensity his players showed and praised the team’s defensive prowess, especially the first-half intensity.
“Our defence was excellent today. Mark Itoje in particular wants to take a bigger leadership role in the side and his performance showed that,” Jones said.
England benefited from quick ball, while slowing Ireland’s possession down and the men in green had to weather an early storm pinning them back in their 22.
A bright opening-half from England with their swift off-loading game and powerful forwards brought the lead they were craving.
Swift interplay and a crafty quick kick through from scrum-half Ben Youngs saw Jonny Sexton fumble the ball to let his opposite number George Ford in for the opening try.
Ireland’s woes continued with their poor record against Manu Tuilagi after the centre joined his forwards for a series of mauls on the Irish line.
The inevitable penalty was conceded and after a speculative England kick full back Elliot Daly was first to the ball to pop it down for the home side’s second try.
Ireland were giving away too many penalties in the first half, giving England territory and first phase ball to the home side’s rampant forwards.
In the closing minutes of the first half a piece of magical footwork by makeshift winger Jonathan Joseph set up a series of attacking mauls to be foiled by Ireland again conceding a penalty. Own Farrell duly kicked the penalty to lead his side off at half time with a 17-0 scoreline.
Ireland had to score early in the second half to create some pressure on England and, after camping in the English five metre for nine minutes, Robbie Henshaw finally scored a deserved try. But Sexton’s poor afternoon continued with a wayward conversion attempt.
England’s forwards again dominated the Irish with a spell of multi-phase possession leading to two swift penalties conceded by the men in green.
The home side took the attacking lineout into a swiftly moving driving maul with Luke Cowan Dickie emerging triumphant from the sea of bodies to claim the try.
But Ireland had some pride to salvage and forward Andrew Porter managed to grab a try in the 83rd minute to give the scoreline some respectability.
Jones looked forward to the next game against Wales and conceded that his side will need to step-up their performance even more.
England march on with their next home against the Welsh with the Triple Crown within their grasp, but will require a favour from Ireland to beat France if they are to win the championship.
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