Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
| Help
---------------
CHOOSE A SPORT
RELATED BBC SITES
Last Updated:  Sunday, 30 March, 2003, 16:37 GMT 17:37 UK
England spoil Dublin party
By Jim Stokes
BBC Sport at Lansdowne Road

Martin Johnson finally stepped up to collect the RBS Six Nations Championship trophy and with it the elusive Grand Slam title.

Mike Tindall crosses the line
Mike Tindall's try put England firmly in command
The towering England captain made the same journey to Lansdowne Road 18 months ago, but only left with the hardware, the mythical prize having escaped his team once again.

Now at last Johnson and his coach Clive Woodward have silenced those who said they were chokers.

The way England dissected Ireland, physically and mentally, was a credit to Woodward's preparation.

The ultra-confident visitors strutted into the heart of Dublin 4 against pragmatic, dangerous opposition.

Winning there is not easy - as England found out in the autumn of 2001.

Sure enough, England had to survive 80 minutes-plus of fiercely-committed, non-stop action by the natives which sent the heart spiralling out of control.

But before 60 minutes were on the clock, the visitors had made Ireland look very green. It was a consummate performance from a marvellously athletic side, who had the necessary game breakers.

Even before kick-off Johnson was his belligerent self. The teams trotted on, but he refused to budge from his original position for the pre-game presentation.

Who says Jonny Wilkinson only uses his right foot to stand on?

It left Irish President Mary McAleese having to walk off the red carpet and on to the grass to be introduced to the Ireland team.

But Johnson did not care. He meant business. He was focused on the job ahead.

The incensed crowd, were soon sated when David Humphreys got the much-awaited showdown under way.

It was a frenetic start too. Humphreys slipped over a drop goal, and then watch Matt Dawson steal from an Irish scrum to set up Lawrence Dallaglio for an easy try under the posts.

Humphreys rattled over a superb distance penalty to stem the flow of England, who were beginning to build up a head of steam.

But who says Jonny Wilkinson only uses his right foot to stand on?

The appendage in question popped over a sweet drop goal on the half hour - then another on half-time to give England a deserved 13-6 lead at the break.

Wilkinson, whose tackle on Kevin Maggs just before the cange over was a defining point in the game, continued dictating play despite obvious pain following a crack on his shoulder.

He subsequently left the field with a mouth injury which was greeted by applause from a relieved Irish support. But it was only temporary relief.
England did not allow Ireland any quality ball - in fact they were downright stingy.

It did not stop Woodward's wonders wreaking havoc.

They did not allow Ireland to play, denied them quality ball. In fact they were downright stingy.

The telling moment, though, came on the hour mark. A confused Irish defence allowed Mike Tindall to charge on to pass through a gaping hole to sprint in.

That was it. Game over

Ireland's heads dropped even further than before. They were already a broken side before Will Greenwood was rumbled over by his pack four minutes later.

It was a credit to England's defence that they were able to divert Ireland up so many blind alleys.

And the home team presented Greenwood with the easiest of his 23 international tries, before Dan Luger ended the Ireland's misery with try number five.

Ireland's run of 10 games undefeated came crashing down.

They had embellished the Six Nations with some wonderfully brave performances, but there was nothing, absolutely nothing, they could have done to stop England's chariot rolling to the Grand Slam.




ALSO IN THIS SECTION
E-mail services | Sport on mobiles/PDAs

MMIX

Back to top

Sport Homepage | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League | Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Snooker | Horse Racing | Cycling | Disability Sport | Olympics 2012 | Sport Relief | Other Sport...

BBC Sport Academy >> | BBC News >> | BBC Weather >>
About the BBC | News sources | Privacy & Cookies Policy | Contact us
banner watch listen bbc sport