Six Nations Super Saturday concluded with a huge clash between old rivals in Dublin this evening. The stage was set for the world’s top-ranked team to clinch a memorable Grand Slam on home soil after a fantastic tournament and send out another major warning shot as they try to end their World Cup curse in the autumn. And they did just that with a hard-fought 29-16 triumph, despite a few nervy moments along the way.
Few gave England a prayer of spoiling the party and denying Ireland a fourth clean sweep overall, second in five years and first in this city, with Steve Borthwick’s side drubbed by France in a record defeat at Twickenham in round four. But while they were unable to pull off the sizable upset that could have handed Les Bleus the title in dramatic fashion, there were definite signs of improvement for Borthwick as his team battled valiantly with 14 men after Freddie Steward’s controversial red card on the stroke of half-time.
Ireland weren’t at their fluent best for long stretches, but got the job done thanks to a brace from hooker Dan Sheehan, further tries from Robbie Henshaw and Rob Herring and nine points from the boot of Johnny Sexton, now the Six Nations’ all-time record scorer. Follow reaction to Ireland’s latest Grand Slam success below, with expert analysis from Nick Purewal at the Aviva Stadium.
Nick Purewal’s match report from Dublin
Ireland staged the real holiday parade with a 29-16 win over 14-man England to seal their maiden Grand Slam in Dublin.
The Irish capital’s streets were awash with the customary St Patrick’s Day floats on Friday, but the Aviva Stadium played host to the real procession a day later.
Captain Johnny Sexton led Ireland to their fourth competition clean sweep, and their first on home soil since the 1948 triumph in Belfast.
Freddie Steward’s red card on the stroke of half-time undoubtedly eased Ireland’s passage, on a day when the jitters caught hold early and were not dismissed until the hour mark.
Ryan Baird’s monster turnover on Ellis Genge set in motion the chain of events for Robbie Henshaw to power home and seal the second Grand Slam in five years.
Andy Farrell on Sexton
“Hopefully there’s bigger fish to fry for Johnny with the World Cup. It’s unbelievable for him to have this moment and lift the trophy.
“He wanted to lift it with someone else and I said he mustn’t. He deserves it. What a way for him to go out of the Six Nations.”
Oh what a night…
Andy Farrell reaction
And now Farrell Sr on his incredible achievement with Ireland…
“It’s the fourth time that we’ve done it and the first time that we’ve done it at home. It means so much to everyone. To win a Grand Slam on St Patrick’s weekend was always going to be special,” Farrell said.
“It was squeaky bum time there for a while as far as 10-9 is concerned! It was win at all costs. The game was stop-start and a proper old fashioned Test match. We’re disappointed with some aspects of our game but it was a bonus-point win again.”
Owen Farrell: Steward red card was ‘harsh’
Here’s England captain Owen Farrell speaking to ITV…
“First of all congratulations to Ireland. Winning a Grand Slam is special,” Farrell said.
“I thought we showed a tremendous amount of fight. We probably gave away too many penalties. The game changed with the card but we still showed a lot of fight to stick in it.”
Farrell said Steward’s red card for making dangerous contact with Keenan was “harsh”.
“It’s not for me to have an opinion on. It seemed harsh to me but people make the rules for a reason,” he said.
Johnny Sexton has now hoisted aloft the trophy for Ireland after they collect their winners’ medals – and the Triple Crown of course.
What a way to bow out of the Six Nations for the now record points scorer.
Webb Ellis Cup to come next in the autumn?!
Here’s some Ireland reaction from lock James Ryan…
“One of the best nights of our careers. It was all about delivering today and attacking. We didn’t get it quite right to start with but we found a way,” Ryan told ITV.
“There was a bit of pressure but there’s pressure in every game you play for Ireland. We were a little bit off quieter in the first half so we’re delighted to get the result. This day is really special.”
Nick Purewal at the Aviva Stadium
Ireland’s first Grand Slam completed in Dublin, their second clean sweep in five years, but only their fourth in history.
Andy Farrell’s men deserve all the plaudits that will come their way. Add Belfast in 1948 to this major triumph at the Aviva Stadium.
Back to the World Cup drawing board for England.
Ireland’s players hugging and celebrating on the pitch as the fans do likewise in the stands with music blaring out.
It’s going to be some party in Dublin tonight! And on St Patrick’s day weekend, no less.
Their fourth Grand Slam, first since 2018 and first sealed in Dublin.
What an achievement. Next stop, trying to end their World Cup curse in the autumn. They’ve never been past the quarter-finals, remember.
Surely that has to change in France?
The final scoreline feels a bit harsh on England, who were very competitive for most of the evening despite Steward’s killer red card.
Signs of promise for Borthwick after their embarrassment by France at least.
Ireland 29-16 England
IRELAND ARE SIX NATIONS GRAND SLAM CHAMPIONS!