Wednesday, 23 January, 2019

England honeymoon over for Jones: Woodward

Members of the squad lined up and charged into tackle bags as they prepare for England Members of the squad lined up and charged into tackle bags as they prepare for England
Nellie Chapman | 12 March, 2018, 06:00

England, captained for the first time by Saracens' Owen Farrell in the absence of Dylan Hartley, surrendered the crown they have held for the last two years with a second successive defeat, a fortnight after falling to Scotland. It's pragmatism against the dreamers, Ireland's attritional game of brute force against Scotland's up tempo self-proclaimed "fastest game on the planet".

Jones revealed that number eight Nathan Hughes is "unlikely" to be available for the climax to the Six Nations against Ireland at Twickenham on Saturday.

Ireland rallied and regained control, only for Sexton to drag a testing penalty just wide.

Yes, an off-load from a lock to a prop is still an off-load.

"We are a rugby team and no rugby team has an aura of invincibility about them". The boot is on the other foot after past year and I'm sure they'll be licking their lips.

- Overall Ireland have won their last 11 Test matches, a new record for them.

The narrative for today also has Scotland playing at pace, rapier thrusts, looped passes that have the crowd and team-mates alike with hearts in their mouths, Hoggy and Huw and Finn slicing holes.

He questioned Jones' use of substitutions and said first five-eighth Ford was "the biggest worry of all". Sometimes you need to win big, you need to confront that challenge.

"You could tell by their speeches and their actions how it meant to them".

"I've made a lot of sacrifices to be here but a lot of people stuck their head out for me and taught me a lot of the game".

The Fields of Athenry warmly rang around a sun-drenched Aviva Stadium as the clocked ticked out, with Ireland players and fans alike already diverting eyes and minds elsewhere.

However, it gets even sweeter.

Daly laid on a try for fellow wing May with six minutes remaining, but it was too little, too late for England, whose day was summed up by the concession of yet another penalty late on, kicked by replacement Lionel Beauxis. "It's going to take us some time, it's not going to come quickly".

Scotland edged Canada 19-17 the last time they met, in 2014 in Toronto, to improve to 3-2-0 against the Canadians.

Pressure on the half-backs will be key, but despite some in the Irish media refloating the idea that the Scots might illegally target Murray, Taylor's having none of it.

"Up to this point I think beating Australia in the World Cup in 2011 is our greatest victory because of the context of that match but if we could beat England at Twickenham that would provide the most incredible springboard going forward to the 2019 World Cup".

But Scotland didn't think it was over.

"We're really excited to have Wayne because we had him when we played Australia in Sydney", added Taylor. "Ireland have some good guys in this area too". There are some pretty exhausted bodies there, I think Scotland made 190 tackles and we made 135 - that suggests that there was a fair bit of collision stuff out there, and it was very hard work post-tackle as well.

"We won thanks to our defence", said scrumhalf Maxime Machenaud, who converted his four penalties.