Match report: Ireland VS England – RBS Six Nations

Sexton's injury was just one of many things not to go Ireland's way

Ireland fell to England at home for the first time in 10 years, after a 12-6 loss which ended their Grand Slam dreams for another year.

As the score-line suggests this was a slog fest in wet conditions, as minimizing handling errors and kicking were at a premium.

England took a 6-0 lead into half-time as out-half Owen Farrell was successful, with two from three kicks. However, Ireland had to cope with a stuttering attack compounded by numerous handling errors, namely in the red-zone.

Ireland also suffered a major injury blow after last week’s hero Simon Zebo limped out after 10 minutes. He has since been confirmed to be out for 10 weeks, with a broken bone in his foot.

Ireland’s injury problems were further compounded when out-half Johnny Sexton pulled up with a hamstring injury, which is likely to rule him out for a few weeks. He was duly replaced by Ronan O’Gara.

With the wet conditions, this seemed the perfect time for O’Gara to enter the game and impose his renowned game management skills.

Despite the deficit, Ireland started the second half on the front-foot. After going the entire first half without a kick at goal, they cut the deficit to three points after 44 minutes, following a Ronan O’Gara penalty.

Some powerful work in the scrum allowed Ireland to keep the momentum and draw level after 56 minutes, after indiscipline in the ruck from English Flanker James Haskell. This resulted in a yellow card, which allowed O’Gara to slot over his second kick of the game.

With England having a player in the bin, it seemed the perfect time to strike. However, Ireland again committed the errors which had cost them in the first half such as knock-ons and indiscipline.

The ten minutes Gaskell spent in the bin resulted in the decisive scores of the game. Led by their young out-half Owen Farrell, England were able to get into Irish territory and force a couple of penalties in two minutes, both of which were slotted by Farrell.

Down by six and with England almost back to their full complement, Ireland had 15 minutes to regroup and try and get something out of the game.

With ten minutes to go Ireland gained a penalty, which captain Jamie Heaslip instructed Ronan O’Gara to kick for the posts. This time the normally so reliable Munster man missed what was probably his easiest kick, only narrowly putting it past the post.

As time elapsed Ireland were in need of a try. However, they were unable to manufacture anything and in the end lost out to a limited English team.

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