Six Nations - Croke Park, 28 February 2009, 17:30 local, 17:30 GMT
Ireland (3) 14 - 13 (3) England (FT)

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Summary

Time Score  
 

5.15 Good afternoon and welcome to the coverage of England's last visit to Croke Park before Ireland are due to return to their home at Landsdowne Road. Croke Park has not been a happy venue for the English, having been roundly thumped on their previous visit here in 2007 43-13.

England are looking to continue from their improved performance against the Welsh but will be desperate to win to build some momentum. Indeed, after France's victory in last night's game against the Welsh, England have a chance to get right back in contention for this tournament, and even take the lead if they win by 11 points!

However, they are facing an Irish side full of talent and riding high who select the same side for the third successive game. Their performance last week was not as fluent as they may have hoped and they did not demonstate their full attacking potential but with the likes of O'Driscoll, Wallace, Kearney et al they may have too much for England if they manage to impose themselves on the game.

5.30 Toby Flood is in for Andy Goode as England once again make a change in the vital number 10 shirt.

There is a lively crowd in, with a large English contingent, and you can feel the expectation. Rousing anthems and a tremendous noise and reception for the Irish in particular, hopefully the game will live up to the build-up and we will be in for a cracker.

Flood to start proceedings off.

1

Some solid passages of play as both sides test the other, direct running and hard tackling and no major mistakes so far.

2

England win a penalty for an Irish infringement at the ruck and Flood puts the ball into the home 22 for the first attacking opportunity

4

England almost work the overlap and have numbers on their right but some firm and decisive defence by the Irish wins them a scrum on their 22. England look to be expansive and direct early on, good effective rugby from both sides though.

6

O'Gara puts the clearance kick straight out, although he was in his own 22 the pass had come back from outside and England have another attacking lineout, which they lose as O'Connell steals. O'Gara puts the ball a long way upfield and Cueto is nobbled by Bowe, who chases well and forces him to concede a penalty. Attacking lienout now to Ireland on the English 22.

7

England defend well and steal the ball when it is turned over in the midfield. However, Ellis's kick goes straight out to touch to bring Ireland back for an atttacking lineout. 2 distinct attacking passages by either side have mirrored each other so far.

9

A series of drives from the Irish lack penetration, and eventually a penalty is conceded for holding on. Flood misses touch though, bad mistake that.

12

A series of attacking drives by the home side make some ground, eventually O'Connell crunches into TIndall, who is buried and cannot get himself clear, giving O'Gara his first chance at the posts. Just on the left and 30m out. Oops, He pulls it outside of the left upright and the score stays 0-0. The game is yet to catch light and needs somebody to grab hold of it.

14

Scrappy and dangerous as the ball is dropped in the Irish midfield, couldn't see who that was, Flutey collects and takes the ball upfield, moves to Tindall, whose pass goes behind Sackey but fortunately not to Irish hands. Ireland clear and we engage in a sustained passage of kicking back and forth.

15

O'Gara wins that excahnge of kicks with a deft spinning kick of the outside of the boot finding touch deep in the English 22. England win the lineout and clear but with no real distance.

16

Lovely chip from O'Leary after O'Connell's neat ball off the top. Cueto has the pace to just beat Bowe to touch the ball down over the line.

18

Ireland's lineout is not taken cleanly, that's one lost apiece and England have an attacking scrum. However, the scrum collapses and Vickery is penalised for binding on the arm and that chance to attack disappears.

21

England slow down the Irish attack until they try another chip over the top , which Ellis has to collect running back and concede the penalty as the chasers bear down on him. O'Gara has another kick from a similar position, maybe a bit shorter. Drives this one past the right upright and that's a terrible miss.

22

This game has had some good intent by both sides but both sides have lacked some spark when running the ball and the defences have been more than up to it.

23

England run a couple of phases and again a hint of overlap. Sackey is sheperded towards the line and an inside pass in knocked by an Irish hand into touch. Good from the English though.

25

2 more phases from the English use the full eidth of the pitch and it requires a good tackle from O'Driscoll, stepping up smartly, to catch Kennedy as he takes the ball and force the knock-on.

28 3 - 0

3-0 Bowe knocks on an Ellis box-kick and England run it back. Flood makes half a brak but his pass goes astray and a tap-tackle from Borthwick is required to negate the chance of the break-away. Looked like England had a great chance there but could have also gone against them. As it is, England concede the penalty trying to retrieve the ball. O'Gara makes no mistake with this one and it's theird time lucky, first points to the home side.

29

Ireland have the lead but it is pretty even so far. They've had more possession but England have possibly looked more dangerous. Suprisingly, Englands ball has been quicker than Ireland's.

31

No joy for England running the ball so Ellis tries the little chip, easily cleaned up by O'Leary. The clearance goes straight to Sackey, who has another chance to run it, but Vickery is caught on the ball and gives the penalty. He has a few moments on the ground after that tackle.

34

More slow ball as the Irish drive it up field from the lineout. However, O'Leary makes half a break and some good ground. This stretches the game a bit and Ireland have another phase, but not the numbers. Again, due to lack of options O"Gara tries the chip which is easily collected and touched down for a 22.

37

Long raking kick from Ellis skips and rolls through the gap and into touch to put some pressure on an Irish defensive lineout. O'Connell, who has been immaculate so far, collects but drops it. England turn over, drive the ball forward in numbers and win the penalty under the posts.

38 3 - 3

3-3 Flood slots the simplest of chances to make honours even.

39

Cueto slices a kick from the restart to give the Irish a handy chance to attack just before the break.

40

Another lost lineout hands possession back to England. after a scrappy looking phase Flood realises there is little on and little to be gained, so boots the ball straight into touch so both teams can go and regroup in the changing room.

The score is 3-3, which is just about right. It's pretty even, neither side has done enough to create chances for a try. Both sides came out with some attacking intent, but the quality has been lacking so far; Irish ball has been slow and attacking flat, England have managed to generate an advantage in numbers on occasion but not had the precision to utilise them.

Hopefully, a slice of orange and a bit of a chat from their respective coaches will lead to a more fluent and entertaining second half.

I'll join you in a few minutes after a cuppa.

 

The sides are coming out. Who is going to grab hold of this game- it is there for the taking for whoever does.

40

Beautiful restart from O'Gara, O'Connell is up quickly and retrievesand Haskell puts a hand into the ruck, O'Gara instantly has a shot at the posts. Off the post O'Gara is not looking completely with it today.

42

Ireland keep the pressure on but dive in at the ruck to give Flood the chance to clear upfield. The kick is not long but the lineout is theirs.

43

From the ensuing attack an Irish hand knocks the ball down but Flood hacks through and chases. He dives on O'Driscoll though on the ground and gives away the penalty. Silly boy, back into English territory.

45 6 - 3

Armtage collects an up-and-under but it is an unfair contest when he is enveloped by both the Irish second rows. Penalty advantage to the Irish and O'Gara has a pop at the Drop Goal which is successful, to regain the lead.

46

A couple of phases from England but neither with any threat. Ellis skims a pass along the ground and Easter runs into Irish numbers and is buried and turned over.

48

Again we're failing to break out of the midfield and after a couple of phases O'Gara kicks aimlessly and Cueto clears. Kearney tries to inject some pace by running it back and chipping, but gives the penalty away when he takes Ellis in the air. Nothing to get the crowd involved at the moment.

50

O'Driscoll is down as he clashes his head into Flutey's shoulder as Flutey charges dwn the kick. Bit of a break here, when we restart, it will be an English penalty to clear their lines. O'Driscoll is up and ok to continue. That gets the biggest cheer of the day.

51

Again England have numbers when they run the ball. but fail to use them. Again, they are turned in they ruck, the Irish come back and this time they manage to get behind the English. Armitage makes a key tackle but the Irish recylcle and O'Driscoll chips ahead down the blindside. Armitage blocks him and concedes the penalty.

52

It shows how off O'Gara is as they elect to put the ball into touch from an emminently kickable positon. Pressure on the English here.

53

The lineout is won cleanly and they drive for the line. O'Leary is held up just short as Ireland press having the penalty advantage. They plump for the attacking lineout option again.

54

O'Connell wins the ball, he has been fantastic in winning ball for them again this afternoon, but good defence from the English drives the Irish back. Eventually though, the penalty goes against Vickery for going in off his feet and it is a yellow. To be fair Vickery has had several infringements today.

55

England under real pressure here, they have been defending their line for several minutes, and now have to do it with 14 men. White comes into the front row for Haskell and having the extra man, Ireland opt for the scrum. They will have to come away with some points here, because they have really committed themselves by not taking any kicks at goal.

56 11 - 3

TRY The Irish forwards have a number of drives for the line but are held. O'Driscoll dives in and succeeds where the bigger men failed, going low and fast. It is referred upstairs but looks pretty clear cut and is given. Not O'Driscoll's most exhilarating try but he does have the habit of scoring them.

57

O'Gara missed the kick and the chance to extend the lead. Again English discipline costing them as it is desperately difficult to defend your line with 14 men. A long way back into this for them now.

59

Ireland seem to have decided to work down the blindside and it is bringing them results as they gain further ground during a couple of phases of play.

60

England reduce numbers at the lineout and work a fantastic move straight from the training ground. Tait, on for Sackey, cuts in from the wing onto a lovely inside pass and breaks the Irish line, but is unable to get round the rearmost defence of Kearney.

61

The ball is lost in the next phase, however, as it reaches the wing, the pass evades Tait and goes straight into touch.

64 11 - 6

An O'leary box kick goes straight into touch, so England have a lineout. They duly win this and run it up; There is an Irish player playing the ball on completely the wrong side and England have a first kickable penalty in this half. Armitage it is to take the kick, probably due to his extra range. He puts it straight though the middle to get the English back within one score.

66

England work a couple of phases and put together some tidy passages of play but it is all in the midfield and is not overly threatening.

67

The chip over the top is attempted to break the deadlock, but the Irish collect and Heaslip scythes through the loose play. A tap-tackle brings him down, which is fortunate for England, otherwise they would have been struggling to scramble back.

69

The Irish have a number of drives and they, unlike the English, make useful ground, it is short offloading between the loose forwards that enables this. However, O'Gara has a pop at a drop goal when options run out and shanks it horribly.

What's this? Another yellow card- I didn't see that incident but the referree is saying Danny Care went in with the shoulder. He is off and Ireland have the penalty instead of the English 22.

70 14 - 6

O'Gara slots this one easily and gives the Irish that cushion back going into the last 10. England's disciplinary woes continue to undermine them.

71

O'Gara, despite not having his best day, shows his nous and experience and drives England back into their own territory with a skimming kick into touch.

72

The replacement Goode kicks for touch from the base of the scrum but it's not a great start from him as it goes straight out into touch. He is reprieved when the Irish throw is not straight.

74

The Irish are playing the game where they want to, in the English half. A littel adventure from the English starts the stretch the Irish, but again, it is kicked away upfield. Tait does his best with the chase but only succeeds in getting a hand on the ball as he charges it down to give Ireland the throw in.

75

Man of the Match has been declared already, and it is Brian O'Driscoll. He was the try scorer and in a game where there hasn't been consistent quality across the field, he really has been the one to pull Ireland towards a slightly scrappy, but ultimately vital win.

76

Another penalty conceded by the English allows O'Gara to drive them back into their own territory and keep the ball away from them. They have little chance of getting back into this anyway, but without the ball, and allowing the Irish to dictate the game though their indiscipline, they have no chance whatsoever

78 14 - 11

TRY Tindall runs onto an offload from Andy goode and charges down the middle. He doesn't have the pace to make it himself, but recycles the ball quickly. Goode chips through and Armitage races onto the ball to touch down.

79 14 - 13

Goode makes the conversion depsite the Irish charging early- have they got time, it will only be one phase of play before the clock ticks over.

80

The forwards drive the ball up and the backs take it further, however, a knock on from Cueto brings an end to proceedings.

The scoreline makes it look like a close and exciting game but in reality it was pretty turgid. The first half lacked decisive action from either side. In the second, Ireland gained the lead through the will of O'Driscoll and the failure of England to maintain the discipline or 14 men on the field for more than an hour.

Not the greatest game, but the Irish won't mind a bit and are now the only side on for the grand slam and are now clear leaders in the points table. The English players will be disappointed at how they lost this one, but I imagine at the moment, their primary emotion will be fear at having to face Jonno in the changing rooms.

Thanks for joining me, Jamie Allaway, and I hope you enjoyed our coverage and that you can be with us in a fortnight's time for the next round of games.

Timeline

Time Ireland  Score  England
0 start of first half start of first half
28 O'Gara - penalty goal 3 - 0
38 3 - 3 Flood - penalty goal
40 end of first half end of first half
40 start of second half start of second half
45 BG O'Driscoll - drop goal 6 - 3
54 Vickery - yellow card
55 White - sub on
Haskell - sub off
56 BG O'Driscoll - try 11 - 3
57 Care - sub on
Ellis - sub off
58 Tait - sub on
Sackey - sub off
64 11 - 6 Armitage - penalty goal
65 Stringer - sub on
O'Leary - sub off
Hartley - sub on
Mears - sub off
White - sub off
Haskell - sub on
Goode - sub on
Flood - sub off
68 Best - sub on
Flannery - sub off
Heaslip - sub off
Leamy - sub on
69 Kennedy - sub off
Croft - sub on
70 O'Gara - penalty goal 14 - 6 Care - yellow card
77 Narraway - sub on
Easter - sub off
Sheridan - sub off
White - sub on
78 14 - 11 Armitage - try
79 14 - 13 Goode - conversion
80 end of second half
end of half
end of second half
end of half
0
80

Notes

 
Result Ireland won by a margin of 1 point
Six Nations points Ireland 2, England 0
 
Ground name Croke Park, Dublin
Attendance 82000
 
Referee CP Joubert (South Africa)
 
Ireland Test debuts none
England Test debuts none

Teams

Ireland England
Tries BG O'Driscoll (56) Tries Armitage (78)
Cons none Cons Goode (79)
Pens O'Gara (28, 70) Pens Flood (38), Armitage (64)
Drops BG O'Driscoll (45) Drops none
    Team
15 FB
Delon Armitage
14 W
Paul Sackey
13 C
Mike Tindall
12 C
Riki Flutey
11 W
Mark Cueto
10 FH
Toby Flood
9 SH
Harry Ellis
1 P
Andrew Sheridan
2 H
Lee Mears
3 P
Phil Vickery
54
4 L
Steve Borthwick (c)
5 L
Nick Kennedy
6 F
James Haskell
7 F
Joe Worsley
8 N8
Nick Easter
    Replacements
16 H
Dylan Hartley
17 P
Julian White
18 L
Tom Croft
19 N8
Luke Narraway
20 SH
Danny Care
70
21 FH
Andy Goode
22 W
Mathew Tait

Match stats

Ireland   England
1 Tries 1
0 from 1 Conversion goals 1 from 1
2 from 5 Penalty goals 2 from 2
33.3% Kick at goal success 100.0%
1 (1 missed) Dropped goals 0
Kick/pass/run
42 Kicks from hand 37
91 Passes 120
88 Runs 79
218 Metres run with ball 303
Attacking
1 Clean breaks 2
5 Defenders beaten 3
4 Offloads 6
79 from 81 (97.5%) Rucks won 63 from 72 (87.5%)
4 from 4 (100.0%) Mauls won 3 from 4 (75.0%)
9 Turnovers conceded 11
Defensive
113/3 Tackles made/missed 121/5
97.4% Tackling success rate 96.0%
Set pieces
7 won, 0 lost (100.0%) Scrums on own feed 4 won, 1 lost (80.0%)
16 won, 2 lost (88.9%) Lineouts on own throw 13 won, 1 lost (92.9%)
Discipline
8 Penalties conceded 17
0/0 Yellow/red cards 2/0

Ire stats

Pos   T/A Pts K/P/R MR CB DB OL TO Tack LO Pen Y/R
FB Kearney 0/0 0 9/1/5 16 0 0 0 0 4/0 0/0 1 0/0
W Bowe 0/0 0 2/3/7 44 0 3 1 3 3/0 0/0 2 0/0
C BG O'Driscoll 1/0 8 3/0/6 15 0 0 0 0 13/0 0/0 0 0/0
C PR Wallace 0/0 0 0/2/5 4 0 0 0 1 15/0 0/0 1 0/0
W Fitzgerald 0/0 0 2/2/4 32 1 0 0 1 4/0 0/0 0 0/0
FH O'Gara 0/0 6 19/12/4 5 0 0 0 1 4/0 0/0 0 0/0
SH O'Leary 0/1 0 7/41/3 2 0 0 1 0 4/0 0/0 0 0/0
P Horan 0/0 0 0/0/3 2 0 0 0 0 2/0 0/0 0 0/0
H Flannery 0/0 0 0/2/2 3 0 0 0 1 6/0 0/0 0 0/0
P Hayes 0/0 0 0/1/3 8 0 0 0 1 3/0 0/0 0 0/0
L O'Callaghan 0/0 0 0/1/3 9 0 1 0 0 7/0 2/0 1 0/0
L O'Connell 0/0 0 0/4/14 21 0 1 0 1 6/0 8/1 1 0/0
F Ferris 0/0 0 0/1/9 5 0 0 1 0 10/1 2/0 0 0/0
F DP Wallace 0/0 0 0/2/10 29 0 0 0 0 10/0 1/0 1 0/0
N8 Heaslip 0/0 0 0/0/8 21 0 0 0 0 7/1 2/0 1 0/0
(H) Best 0/0 0 0/0/2 2 0 0 1 0 2/0 0/0 0 0/0
(N8) Leamy 0/0 0 0/0/0 0 0 0 0 0 1/0 0/0 0 0/0
(SH) Stringer 0/0 0 0/16/0 0 0 0 0 0 1/1 0/0 0 0/0
Key T/A Tries / Try Assists Pts Points scored
K/P/R Kick / Pass / Run MR Metres Run with ball
CB Clean Breaks DB Defenders Beaten OL OffLoads TO TurnOvers
Tack Tackles made / missed LO LineOuts won on throw / stolen on opp throw
Pen Penalties conceded Y/R Yellow / Red cards

Eng stats

Pos   T/A Pts K/P/R MR CB DB OL TO Tack LO Pen Y/R
FB Armitage 1/0 8 8/3/7 38 0 0 0 1 2/0 0/0 1 0/0
W Sackey 0/0 0 1/2/2 2 0 0 2 0 1/0 0/0 0 0/0
C Tindall 0/0 0 4/6/10 83 1 1 1 1 5/0 0/0 1 0/0
C Flutey 0/0 0 2/6/7 15 0 0 0 0 8/0 0/0 0 0/0
W Cueto 0/0 0 6/1/6 44 0 0 1 1 2/1 0/0 1 0/0
FH Flood 0/0 3 4/19/5 9 0 0 1 1 4/0 0/0 1 0/0
SH Ellis 0/0 0 7/52/1 2 0 0 0 0 2/0 0/0 1 0/0
P Sheridan 0/0 0 0/0/4 0 0 0 0 0 10/0 0/0 1 0/0
H Mears 0/0 0 0/2/8 22 0 1 0 0 5/0 0/0 0 0/0
P Vickery 0/0 0 0/3/2 1 0 0 0 1 13/2 0/0 4 1/0
L Borthwick 0/0 0 0/1/0 0 0 0 0 1 10/0 5/0 0 0/0
L Kennedy 0/0 0 0/0/0 0 0 0 0 1 6/0 8/0 2 0/0
F Haskell 0/0 0 0/1/6 8 0 0 2 0 11/0 0/0 1 0/0
F Worsley 0/0 0 0/1/5 9 0 0 2 1 18/1 0/1 0 0/0
N8 Easter 0/0 0 0/8/10 27 0 0 0 2 12/1 0/0 0 0/0
(H) Hartley 0/0 0 0/0/2 16 0 1 0 0 2/0 0/0 2 0/0
(P) White 0/0 0 0/0/0 0 0 0 0 0 1/0 0/0 0 0/0
(L) Croft 0/0 0 0/0/0 0 0 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0 0/0
(N8) Narraway 0/0 0 0/0/0 0 0 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0 0/0
(SH) Care 0/0 0 0/0/0 0 0 0 0 1 3/0 0/0 1 1/0
(FH) Goode 0/0 2 5/12/1 3 0 0 1 0 0/0 0/0 0 0/0
(W) Tait 0/0 0 0/0/3 24 1 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0 0/0
Key T/A Tries / Try Assists Pts Points scored
K/P/R Kick / Pass / Run MR Metres Run with ball
CB Clean Breaks DB Defenders Beaten OL OffLoads TO TurnOvers
Tack Tackles made / missed LO LineOuts won on throw / stolen on opp throw
Pen Penalties conceded Y/R Yellow / Red cards

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