In light of yesterday’s Ireland victory against England in Twickenham where England who were playing at home were defeated 32-15 despite Ireland getting hammered in the scrum. For people who are not familiar with Rugby a scrum is a method of restarting play and a crucial part of the set-piece. Winning in Twickenham is does not come around often for Ireland so after the victory it would be very appropriate to do a top five of Ireland’s best wins against England in South West London where Twickenham is located.
2010 England 16 Ireland 20
This was the year after Ireland won their first Grand Slam in 61 years and having been well beaten by France in the previous round in Paris on a 33-10 scoreline, Ireland were going to the South West London venue with a point to prove. It was a tight and tense game throughout with neither side giving an inch. It was Johnny Sexton’s first Six Nations start in an Irish jersey and Ireland front rower (which is a position in the scrum) John Hayes won his 100th cap. Ireland’s captain and main man Brian O’Driscoll had to go off due to being knocked out by vice captain and Ireland team mate Paul O’Connell.
The game looked like it was slipping away from Ireland as Jonny Wilkinson dropped a goal to put England 16-13 up in the 71st minute. However a moment was magic from Tommy Bowe when he broke through the English defence to score his second try of the game put Ireland back in front and then duly grounded out a tight victory on a 20-16 scoreline.
2022 England 15 Ireland 32
A record 32-15 scoreline recorded by Ireland. Yesterday’s performace overall may have been error ridden with a penalty count and scrappy especially at scrum time when English props Ellis Genge and Kyle Sinckler did a job on the Irish scrum by consistently driving them backwards. England were also reduced to 14 men after a minute for their second row Charlie Ewel’s tackle on James Ryan. Ryan went off and then failed his HIA which meant he never returned to action. Despite saying all of that and being outplayed at times by a 14 man England team, Ireland dug and showed mental fortitude that might have alluded them in the past and pulled away in the final ten minutes to win on a scoreline of 32-15 and a bonus point to boot.
A bonus point in Rugby is where you get an extra point if you score four tries and instead of collecting four, you get five instead. The tries came from James Lowe, Hugo Keenan, Finlay Bealham and Jack Conan. It shows how things have changed when there are grumblings amongst the fans and media when Ireland not just win in Twickenham but pick up a bonus point. There was a time when getting any win there was acceptable as England are always difficult to beat there. A great result in the scheme of things and Ireland’s championship hopes are still alive if they beat Scotland next weekend.
2006 England 24 Ireland 28
Ireland went to Twickenham in search of a Triple Crown on St.Patricks weekend. A Triple Crown is where you beat three teams in Ireland’s case England, Scotland and Wales to win it. Ireland also had an outside chance of winning the championship but would have needed Wales to have beaten France earlier on in the day in Cardiff which they failed to do though. Still Ireland had something to play for and were quick out the blocks in the opening few minutes with a Shane Horgan try to give Ireland a 5-0 lead. Eddie O’Sullivan who was Ireland coach at the time had Ireland playing a great style of Rugby. The game will always be most notable for the last minute Shane Horgan try. Ireland were deep in their own 22 with three minutes left and were trailing a determined England side 24-21. Ronan O’Gara did a chip kick through and bounced up in Brian O’Driscoll’s hands and Ireland broke through.
Horgan was held up short and Ireland regrouped and then Peter Stringer the scrum half passed the ball out to the winger Horgan who used his body strength to get over in the corner. After consultation with TMO the try was awarded and Ireland enjoyed a memorable win on a 28-24 scoreline in Twickenham.
2004 England 13 Ireland 19
England went into this clash as the World Champions having beaten Australia courtesy of a last minute Jonny Wilkinson drop goal in Sydney back the previous autumn. They were red hot favourites to continue their winning run at “Fortress Twickenham” where the last time they lost a game there was five years earlier in a Rugby World Cup game against New Zealand. This was expected to have been a home coming for England.
Ireland were the underdogs and played without any pressure or fear. They were always in front throughout the game. They took England on and played a strong kicking game. The highlight of the match was Ireland full back Girvan Dempsey scoring in the corner in the second half. The 19-13 victory kicked started four Six Nations wins in a row against England including the memorable match at Croke Park in 2007. It was Ireland’s first victory against England since 1994 at the time.
2018 England 15 Ireland 24
Ireland and Joe Schmidt were at the peak of their powers in 2018. They outplayed England in the Grand Slam decider at a snowy Twickenham on St.Patrick’s day by defeating them on a 24-15 scoreline. First half tries from Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki and Jacob Stockdale gave Ireland a comfortable 21-5 half time lead. Throughout the game Ireland never looked like losing and they duly kept a poor England side at bay in the second half. The Irish coach at the time Joe Schmidt had a game plan and Ireland just took England on up front. It was a commanding win by Ireland which is unusual at Twickenham.
It was a memorable enough day but it was made extra special as it was on St Patricks Day. It was Ireland’s first grand slam and triple crown since 2009.