Let the party begin! The 60-second report on Ireland’s Grand Slam success

This is as good as it gets for the players and supporters, writes Simon Lewis.

Let the party begin! The 60-second report on Ireland’s Grand Slam success

ENGLAND 15 IRELAND 24

By Simon Lewis

Key moment: Jacob Stockdale's try on the stroke of half-time not only set the individual record for tries scored in a championship season, his seventh of the 2018 Six Nations, it also sent Ireland into the break with their tails up having weathered a mid-half storm from the home side with Elliot Daly clawing back five points after conceding two early tries.

Stockdale's predatory instincts were fantastic and the conversion from Joey Carbery, on for Johnny Sexton at fly-half with the No.10 off for an HIA, pushed Ireland into a commanding 21-5 interval lead that was to prove too big a deficit for England to recover.

Ireland's Jacob Stockdale scores his side's third try at Twickenham Stadium. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA
Ireland's Jacob Stockdale scores his side's third try at Twickenham Stadium. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA

Talking point: Ireland are Grand Slam champions for just the third time in history, Joe Schmidt's side following in the footsteps of the heroes of 1948 and 2009. To have done so with a convincing victory at Twickenham having beaten France in Paris in round one is a remarkable achievement for a squad that now has to be considered genuine World Cup contenders for 2019 and a head coach who must now be considered Ireland's greatest.

CJ Stander scores Ireland's second try. Pic: INPHO/Billy Stickland
CJ Stander scores Ireland's second try. Pic: INPHO/Billy Stickland

Key man: Tadhg Furlong earned the man of the match award at Twickenham after Ireland turned a tense, potentially nerve-wracking occasion with so much at stake into a ruthless, efficient dismantling of an England side. Furlong played his part in that, anchoring a magnificent scrummaging performance and carrying hard to keep his team on the front foot. Outstanding but not the only significant performance in an Ireland jersey.

Ref watch: Angus Gardner of Australia had a busy opening 40 minutes, needing the TMO to sort out all three of Ireland first-half tries, while at the other end sin-binning Peter O'Mahony after the Irish pack repeatedly came under pressure from England's driving maul. After a week of controversy which saw Marius van der Westhuizen removed as an assistant referee, it was a competent, confident performance from the refereeing team.

Penalties conceded: England 11 Ireland 12

Injuries: England full-back Anthony Watson was replaced after 33 minutes, leaving the pitch sitting up on a stretcher cart and moments later Ireland fly-half Johnny Sexton was ordered off for a blood injury, the bang on his nose requiring a Head Injury Assessment.

Sexton returned for the second half but Ireland lost Keith Earls late on to what looked like a leg injury while Peter O'Mahony also went for an HIA.

Next Up: Let the party begin, Ireland have translated their Six Nations title earned last week into a Grand Slam on St Patrick's Day by beating England at Twickenham. There may be plenty of rugby left in this season but this is as good as it gets for the players and supporters.

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