Beating England only spur Irish need: Best

Tricia Pearson
March 19, 2017

Ireland have been dubbed the "record wreckers" by global media after their 13-9 win in the Six Nations ended England's bid for 19-straight victories.

"Most teams in the Six Nations have one big performance in them so we know Ireland are going to come out all guns blazing".

Ireland, who had also ended New Zealand's run, won 13-9 at a rainswept Lansdowne Road on Saturday to deny England a 19th successive Test win and prevent them becoming the first side in the Six Nations era to win back-to-back Grand Slams.

So when former Ireland centre Gordon D'Arcy, in an Irish Times column, published between the third and fourth rounds, said "England look a team under ever-increasing strain", it was not a fanciful notion. "We are a little bit vulnerable because we have already been crowned champions and we had a big win against Scotland, so for us it's about getting the right mind-set for the game".

"He was the guy that brought this team through, went through some hard yards with them; most of the players are still the same". They are going for back-to-back Grand Slams. "We are focusing on preparing well, the only thing we can control is our preparation". "We had high expectations on ourselves and it goes to show we are not quite there as a team".

"Days like this you have to be very, very proud of the boys and the way they've fronted up against a quality outfit".

"We are 14 months into a four-year project as I have been saying".

"I think against Italy and France, yeah we were pretty good, but we expect more than that, and that's our motivation for this weekend". We have been chuffed with the results we have had but realism tells us we have still got a lot to do.

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"We didn't slam it but, hey-ho, we're still the champions", said England captain Dylan Hartley.

No wonder Eddie Jones lambasted England's lack of leaders ahead of this Six Nations tournament: none of his senior men stood up under these sternest of pressures.

England's failed to score a try for the first time since they were here two years ago and struggled throughout to get a toehold in the game. Ireland survived on pure ferocity and tight-game torment - and the shell-shocked English simply offered no answer. There are brilliantly coached and they executed their plans well. They were just too good for us on the day. For England it is about a second consecutive Grand Slam and a record 29-game winning streak.

"This keeps us grounded, we are not where we want to be yet".

"Sometimes you play against a team that are better than you and they were today, Ireland were fantastic around the breakdown".

The ferocious pace continued as Elliot Daly nearly escaped the Irish cover after gathering Farrell's clever chip, but England were back on the defensive nearly immediately.

Jones still claimed he did not have many world-class players at his disposal and his eyes, he insisted, were on becoming No1 and winning the 2019 World Cup.

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