Ireland keep nerve against England to secure historic Grand Slam

Sun, Mar 19
Rob Herring scores for Ireland against England at Dublin's Aviva Stadium.

Ireland mastered the hype and expectations to win the Six Nations and a historic first Grand Slam in Dublin by seeing off England 29-16 this morning.

The Irish came into the championship as the favourite and swept through it to underline its world No.1 status and make a huge statement six months out from the Rugby World Cup, where they have never won a knockout match.

A month after beating No.2 and defending champion France at home, Ireland handled a game-but-inadequate England and took maximum points from a win and minimum four tries at a packed-out Lansdowne Road.

Ireland's Dublin home had never witnessed an Irish Grand Slam, nor a title in the Six Nations era, and these Irish delivered by wearing down England.

They led 10-6 at halftime and added three tries in the last quarter to Robbie Henshaw, a second for Dan Sheehan, and the last for his replacement Rob Herring.

Captain Jonathan Sexton was given the perfect send-off in his last Six Nations match with a second Grand Slam and the championship's all-time point-scoring record. He limped off with six minutes to go to a standing ovation.

England redeemed itself after the hiding at home from France last weekend by fighting hard, but the effort was undermined when fullback Freddie Steward was sent off just before halftime due to high contact with an attacking player.

Once Steward left the result had an air of inevitability about it.

But Ireland couldn't ignite the St. Patrick's weekend celebrations until the Henshaw and Sheehan converted tries for 24-9 after more than an hour.


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