Saturday, March 15, 2008

England Convince Against Ireland

Six Nations Game 14 - England vs Ireland (33-10)

After poor performances from both sides last week, it was crunch time for England and Ireland's last game of the Championship.

Ireland struck first with a try from Rob Kearney in the 4th minute - just the start that English fans at Twickenham didn't want! Ronan O'Gara added the extras without a hitch, and the hosts were down 0-7. England were caught holding on a few minutes later, and O'Gara punished them with another kick. 0-10 down and it wasn't looking good for England.

In the 12th minute, Danny Cipriani [right] replied with a penalty of his own, clawing back 3 points. A few minutes later, Paul Sackey scored a wonderful try in the corner. Cipriani converted to bring the scores level at 10-all.

Toby Flood chipped ahead and gathered himself, and Irish hands were caught in the subsequent ruck. Another three points for Ciprirani, and England went ahead 13-10. There the score remained for the rest of the first half.

In the second period, England opened the floodgates. Despite an early Irish attack, it came to nothing. Lesley Vainikolo got a bit of a run in the 43rd minute, and England were pressuring the Irish defence. The men in green were caught playing on the ground again, Cipriani added another 3 to his total and England were 16-10 ahead.

Another Irish attack in the 46th minute came to nothing after a knock-on. At 55 minutes, old hand Jonny Wilkinson came on to the park. Then Iain Balshaw flew up the wing, who passed to Matthew Tait [left] to cross in the corner. The extras brought it to 23-10.

In the 70th minute, Jamie Noon broke through the Irish defence in the left corner, juggling the ball in mid air, but keeping control long enough to score by the flag. Another conversion and the Red Rose boys were leading by 20 points, at 30-10.

With 8 minutes left on the clock, the Irish were caught once again, playing the ball in a ruck. The resulting penalty was true from Cipriani and the hosts were 33-10 up.

The last couple of minutes saw Ireland pushing for the line, but they knocked on and England ran a move up into the Irish half. They couldn't make another score, but at least they looked much more convincing this week.

Danny Cipriani's full England debut was impressive - Jonny needs to watch his back if he's not to be overshadowed by the young buck.

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