The final game of the 2023 Six Nations will see Ireland try to seal a grand slam on home turf for the first time. Only old rivals England stand in their way.
Ireland have claimed three grand slams in their long history but not one of them has ended in Dublin, which promises to make this St Patrick’s Day weekend all the more special for the men in green, providing they can see off an England team in crisis.
Andy Farrell’s Ireland are the undisputed No 1 side in the world and have swept aside all-comers during the championship, while England have struggled to consistently improve the tailspin they found themselves in towards the end of the Eddie Jones era, under new coach Steve Borthwick.
Decent wins over Italy and Wales were immediately forgotten as they suffered a record home defeat to France at Twickenham last time out, being completely outclassed by a rampant Les Bleus and leaving them in no doubt where they stand in the pecking order just six months out from a World Cup. If they can bounce back to beat an unstoppable-looking Irish team at the Aviva Stadium, then it will go down as one of the all-time great Six Nations shocks.
Follow live coverage from the Aviva Stadium below after the conclusion of France vs Wales:
Ireland 17-9 England, 67 minutes
Dave Ribbans has carried beefily in this second half but that’s a little foolish from the France-bound lock, fiddling on the floor having made a tackle.
Here is a significant moment – Dan Cole becomes England’s fourth male centurion, replacing Kyle Sinckler.
Harry Latham-Coyle18 March 2023 18:41
Ireland 17-9 England, 65 minutes
England are held up inside the Ireland 22. Might it be time for Marcus Smith at some point soon? It would be bold, but I’m not sure England’s current strategy will bring them back into this game.
Harry Latham-Coyle18 March 2023 18:39
TRY! IRELAND 17-9 England (Robbie Henshaw try, 62 minutes)
Ireland make the most of the opportunity!
New tighthead Tom O’Toole draws a penalty advantage out of Ellis Genge and from there it feels inevitable. Two inward hit-ups and then Jamison Gibson-Park goes blind, Bundee Aki taking at first receiver and connecting with his old mucker Robbie Henshaw at the line, who spies a gaping hole and the white line beyond.
Henshaw scores, Sexton converts and Ireland’s lead swells.
Harry Latham-Coyle18 March 2023 18:34
Ireland 10-9 England, 60 minutes
Such intelligence from Johnny Sexton. The fly-half immediately kicks towards new man Marchant, turning the new wing with England one-short in their back three. The diagonal lift bounces nastily for the Harlequin, forcing Anthony Watson to hurry across and claim on the second hop.
Watson is carried over his own line. Five metre scrum, Ireland’s feed.
Harry Latham-Coyle18 March 2023 18:33
Ireland 10-9 England, 59 minutes
Brilliant from Ryan Baird. The lock has impressed today in the biggest opportunity of his young international career, jackaling wth perfect form after Alex Dombrandt had made initial inroads up the right.
Changes for both teams. Tom O’Toole steps in for Tadhg Furlong, while Henry Arundell, who hasn’t been on the periphery, is replaced by Joe Marchant.
Harry Latham-Coyle18 March 2023 18:31
Ireland 10-9 England, 58 minutes
Not for the first time this afternoon, Ireland appear to get a nudge on at the scrum but are penalised, with Andrew Porter again picked out for the angle of his drive.
Harry Latham-Coyle18 March 2023 18:30
Ireland 10-9 England, 56 minutes
Handbags! A proper fracas for the first time in a contest of increasing spike and spite is sparked after Jamison Gibson-Park emerges from an English maul with a loose ball.
Gibson-Park chips ahead and a nasty bounce ends up with a leaping James Lowe, but the wing can only bobble it into touch, at which point both teams pile in for some futile pushing and shoving.
Harry Latham-Coyle18 March 2023 18:29
Ireland 10-9 England, 56 minutes
Jaco Peyper gives England a hurry up at the lineout, but then calls time off with Dave Ribbans in need of a new contact lens and Ireland readying a change. Peter O’Mahony off; Jack Conan on.
Harry Latham-Coyle18 March 2023 18:27
Ireland 10-9 England, 55 minutes
Still Ireland look rattled. An untimely slip from Mack Hansen puts the hosts under pressure. Johnny Sexton skews his clearance away some 30 metres shallower than he would have liked.
Harry Latham-Coyle18 March 2023 18:26
Ireland 10-9 England, 54 minutes
Most felt that England’s only hope today was to drag Ireland in to a sloppy, scrappy tussle, and you’d say Steve Borthwick’s side have done precisely that so far. They have little interest in playing more than a couple of phases, kicking early and often in each passage.
Harry Latham-Coyle18 March 2023 18:25