Ireland 13 England 9: No Six Nations Grand Slam or world record, but Eddie Jones claims back to back titles

James Stafford
Players react at the final whistle as England fail to win Grand Slam  - AFP

And so another Six Nations Championship enters into the past tense. It was a good one.

For all the fuss we'll see about England falling short in their bid to win back-to-back Grand Slams or set new records, it doesn't really matter. The first goal of any side in the Championship is to win it. England did that. 

They could have lost at home to France, rode their luck in Cardiff and had a mighty scare before eventually overcoming a fog of confusion against Italy. But that's the mark of a championship side. You win well (Scotland), you win ugly and you win through gritted teeth.  But what matters is you win.

Ireland were far better than England today and fully deserved to derail another English Grand Slam. 

Dublin will hurt. But the silverware soothes the pain. Winning the championship is what really mattered.

Ireland vs England player ratings 7:53PM

"An Irish uprising to rank with the best...

Mick Cleary's match report is in from Dublin: 

"An Irish uprising to rank with the best, full of fierceness and fury, was enough to do for England’s Grand Slam and their history-making hopes. England were hounded into submission, the rage of the written-off emerald-clad warriors disrupting all the best-laid plans of Eddie Jones.

"There was venom in every Irish tackle, potency in every attack and desire in all that they did. This was the real Ireland, the side that had also stopped the All Blacks on their 18-match winning streak, and it hurt England, hurt them deeply. What a hollow feeling it was as they were presented with the RBS Six Nations trophy, victors yet vanquished. This memory will live long with both sides. Ireland have salvaged their own season, England have had a horrible reality check."

Ireland's Simon Zebo tackled by Anthony Watson Credit: PA Wire

Read the full article here. 

7:49PM

However good England are - or becoming - no team can be expected to confront such zeal and simply squash it

The Telegraph's Paul Hayward gives his verdict on the result in Dublin:

"St Patrick’s Festival is not usually associated with party wrecking, but the cavorting stopped the minute England began their quest for a record 19th win and back-to-back Grand Slams. To imagine such a feat on Dublin soil was anathema to Ireland, so they embarked on an 80-minute war against joy. They were magnificent in that mission.

"England’s run from 10 October 2015 to 18 March 2017 encompassed 18 wins, with four against Australia and three against Wales, with a Grand Slam along the way. But now they must settle for the title of Grand Slam champions - a regression, after last year, but hardly a surprising one, given the epic nature of Ireland’s performance."

Ireland's Rory Best Credit: Crombie/INPHO/REX/Shutterstock 

Read the full article here.

 

7:44PM

England 2017 champions

England lift the RBS 6 Nations trophy in Dublin. Smiles all round, but slightly subdued of course #IREvENGpic.twitter.com/GkXoMoquRY

— ITV Rugby (@ITVRugby) March 18, 2017

7:42PM

The final table

Here's how the Six Nations finished in 2017.  

England sitting pretty Credit: ITV

 The final day of result has huge implications for Wales in particular, who are now likely to end up in the 2019 World Cup 'Group of Death' (again) due to their ranking position. 

7:29PM

England celebrate title

England may have fallen short on making history today, but they are still 2017 Six Nations champions.

England celebrate with the Six Nations trophy Credit: REUTERS

7:24PM

Eddie Jones on England falling at the final hurdle

Eddie Jones:

“It just wasn’t our day. Ireland played well. It was hard to get anything going, we struggled in the lineout  and the breakdown.

Their defence was good, we couldn’t get any momentum. We couldn’t shift it wider as they were off the line so quickly. We would have liked to have kicked it better too.

“At the end of the day we are back-to-back Six Nations champions, but it would have been great to win back to back Grand Slams and get the world record.

“Sometimes you play against a team better than you and today they were. We didn’t have any attitudinal problems...it was only 13-9 at the end when we didn’t play well.”

A dejected Danny Care of England reacts as Referee Jerome Garces of France blows the final whistle  Credit: GETTY

7:17PM

Stat attack

7:14PM

Joe Schmidt praises his team's courage

Ireland's head coach, Joe Schmidt:

“I thought we played really well in the first 20 mins. We went very close it the right hand corner twice with Earls and Ringrose. Ringrose was a revelation again today. He keeps taking steps forward. That 20 mins gave us confidence.

“It was probably a game for the purists. But a game that demonstrated courage is still important at this level.

“I thought Iain [Henderson] was massive tonight. He’s been a player who has been coming for a long time and arrived a bit tonight. All credit to England, they’ve been brilliant for eighteen months. They deserve to be out there with their trophy.”

Dan Cole of England tussles with CJ Stander  Credit: GETTY

7:05PM

Dylan Hartley: "We are not quite there as a team."

England's captain, Dylan Hartley: 

"We are disappointed. We had high hopes, high expectations. But it goes to show we are not quite there as a team. Credit to Ireland. I think it was negative upon negative, we backed one error up with another."

Hartley was subbed in the 55th minute Credit: REX

7:04PM

England have to settle for the Championship, as Grand Slam and Triple Crown fall away

England may have dropped the record, Grand Slam and Triple Crown, but they are still champions. 

They now have to do the trophy presentation. Always a tough ask after a loss. 

7:00PM

Dublin erupts in celebration

Ireland have again busted a record winning streak. 

After ending New Zealand's record run in November, they've now taken England's scalp at the exact same point in their bid.

6:56PM

Late injury probably helped Ireland

Peter O'Mahony was part of several key moments for Ireland, especially in the lineout. Heaslip's late injury in the warm up may well have done Ireland a favour.

6:55PM

Ireland deserved winners

Ireland fully deserved that. They stopped England playing, kept the pressure on and never really looked like conceding a try.

6:54PM

Final score: Ireland 13 England 9   

And the Millennium Trophy...but who cares about that (or even knows what it is)?

6:54PM

Final score: Ireland 13 England 9  

...still inside their own half...Brown knocks on...THAT'S IT!!

Ireland have done it. England miss the Slam, the Triple Crown and the World Record for a tier one nation!

6:53PM

80 mins: Ireland 13 England 9 

Ireland smash England back, but they recover....

6:53PM

80 mins: Ireland 13 England 9

Penalty...England tap and go. Up to the 10m line....

...5m from halfway....

6:52PM

80 mins: Ireland 13 England 9  

They leave the 22....going through the phases...

6:52PM

80 mins: Ireland 13 England 9 

England win it. they go wide...

6:52PM

80 mins: Ireland 13 England 9                      

6:51PM

80 mins: Ireland 13 England 9                     

Scrum reset...

6:51PM

79 mins: Ireland 13 England 9                    

The maul collapses. Scrum to England on their own 22. This is it. 

One minute left. 80m to go. 

Unless we have a Paris, in which case there could be 20 minutes left yet.

6:50PM

79 mins: Ireland 13 England 9                   

Ireland win the lineout. The driving maul is on.

6:49PM

79 mins: Ireland 13 England 9                  

Kyle Snickler on for Cole. England win the lineout. Care puts it into touch near his own 10m line.

6:49PM

78 mins: Ireland 13 England 9                 

...Ireland slow it down....little pick and goes...then a lovely kick from Luke McGrath (recently on at scrum half), puts England back 5m from their own line. Two minutes left. 

6:48PM

77 mins: Ireland 13 England 9                

England win the lineout, they go for the driving maul. They find space, Healy bursting up to the 22. They can close this off....

6:47PM

76 mins: Ireland 13 England 9                

England concede at the scrum, Care coming round the scrum it seems. Sexton will put it out to touch in the English half. 

6:45PM

75 mins: Ireland 13 England 9               

Lineout on the Irish 22. Stolen by Ireland! George's first lineout loss of the tournament. Stolen by O'Mahony.

Is this Ireland's day?

Ireland's Sean O'Brien tackled by Maro Itoje Credit: REX

Watson drops his third or fourth ball of the day from the kick from Ireland. Irish scrum on their own 10 metre line.

6:43PM

74 mins: Ireland 13 England 9              

England keep it though...it's a penalty for not rolling away against Henshaw. It's about 47 metres, in the rain/wind. Farrell goes for the corner. Best goes off again, Scannell back on.

6:42PM

73 mins: Ireland 13 England 9              

The rain is coming down again in Dublin. 

England scrum on halfway. Brown takes it down the blindside. Then Care puts it back inside him. England up to the 10m line. It's scrappy ball. Again, England unable to get clean, quick ball.

 

6:41PM

71 mins: Ireland 13 England 9             

We are into the final ten minutes. England need a spark. Ireland need to get a little more if they want to win this you feel. Four points may not be enough against a team that finishes so well.

6:40PM

69 mins: Ireland 13 England 9            

Ben Te'o is wobbling, he's gone for a head assessment. George Ford back on. 

 

6:39PM

68 mins: Ireland 13 England 9           

Jack Nowell on for Joseph. Luke McGrath off for John Ryan. 

To confirm, Leavy is on for Sean O'Brien. 

6:37PM

67 mins: Ireland 13 England 9           

Ireland's scrum-half Kieran Marmion  Credit: AFP

Dan Leavy, a late replacement on the bench after Heaslip pulled out at the last minute, on for Ireland. 

Meanwhile, Farrell goes for goal. He makes it. Again, Ireland's lead cut down, despite having the better of the game.

 

6:34PM

66 mins: Ireland 13 England 6          

England finally have another attacking platform, 22 metres out from a lineout. They put the driving maul on, winning a penalty. But they keep going, looking for seven. Ireland cannot stop this maul. About 15 metres now. 

Finally it dies, England cross kick (Farrell now at ten) and....Watson knocks on. Back for the penalty.

6:33PM

65 mins: Ireland 13 England 6         

England are not being allowed to play by Ireland at all. The home side spoiling everything and frustrating England excellently. 

Devin Toner on for Donnacha Ryan.

6:32PM

64 mins: Ireland 13 England 6        

England make the changes. Ben Te'o (for Ford), Nathan Hughes for Vunipola, Danny Care for Youngs.

6:31PM

63 mins: Ireland 13 England 6       

Superb kick from a battered Sexton. Huge score.

6:30PM

62 mins: Ireland 10 England 6      

Penalty advantage to Ireland, about 40 metres out. Sexton plays on and again takes a hard hit, much to the annoyance of the crowd. Rory Best talks to ref, saying he has a 'responsibility to my team' to address the matter. 

Garces is fine with it. Sexton will go for goal from 42 metres, tight to the left touchline. 

6:28PM

60 mins: Ireland 10 England 6      

England's flanker Maro Itoje (R) tackles Ireland's fly-half Johnny Sexton Credit: AFP

 Tom Wood on for James 'The Brand' Haskell. Sexton, kicking from his own 10m line puts it into touch on the left wing, ten metres into England's half.

6:26PM

59 mins: Ireland 10 England 6     

Brown counters now, also finding a fraction of space, Youngs kicks it away. England not holding the ball they get. Sexton gets smashed again. Advantage to Ireland. Crowd is booing. Seems it was a high tackle by Farrell. 

DJ Church (Cian Healy) on for Ireland for Jack McGrath. 

6:24PM

58 mins: Ireland 10 England 6    

The Brand (Haskell) gets driven back after a hospital pass. England forced back into their 22, Youngs clears. Payne counters...he somehow breaks through several tackles to go forty metres. How did he do that?

But the move breaks down almost straight away. Could have been dangerous. England clear. Well played, Payne.

6:22PM

57 mins: Ireland 10 England 6   

Marmion grubbers into touch from the scrum. Just inside English half. Ireland happy to ask England to come back at them. 

6:21PM

56 mins: Ireland 10 England 6  

England fans try to sing 'Swing Low Sweet Chariot', Irish fans try to drown it out. 

From the next lineout England look to go to phases. It's slow, static...and they get held up after seven phases. Scrum to Ireland on their own 10m line. 

England cannot go through the gears. 

Captain Hartley off at 55 mins. Jamie George on.

6:20PM

54 mins: Ireland 10 England 6 

Ireland collapse the maul from the restart, and England kick to touch, lineout inside their own half. 

Jamie George warming up for England. 

Another penalty for collapsing against Ireland. That's three now this half against Ireland. I think Ireland only conceded two in the entire first half. 

6:17PM

52 mins: Ireland 10 England 6

He scores. That's a big kick for England. They haven't looked like scoring for a long time. Three points with the first sniff they get.

6:16PM

50 mins: Ireland 10 England 3       

Ireland's Peter O'Mahony gathers Credit: PA

 Chance for England to get back on the board. Ireland infringe in the breakdown from an English lineout. Farrell has a 47m shot at goal, from the left of the posts. 

The wind seems to have died down here in Dublin.

6:15PM

48 mins: Ireland 10 England 3      

It's so scrappy for England. Now Billy Vunipola trips up on his own player trying to pick and go from the scrum. England kick it away. Ireland gather on their own 22 and then Cole gets pinged trying to steal a ball at the breakdown.

Sexton still in pain with his arm/shoulder.  

6:12PM

46 mins: Ireland 10 England 3     

Youngs box kicks England out of the 22, both sides knock on, England win the scrum. Just inside the Irish half.

6:11PM

45 mins: Ireland 10 England 3    

Ireland starting the half well. Looking calm and controlled. Sexton puts it out 10m inside the English half. 

 

6:10PM

44 mins: Ireland 10 England 3   

Sub updates: Earls is off for Andrew Conway for Ireland. For England Marler is off for Mako Vunipola on now.

6:09PM

43 mins: Ireland 10 England 3  

Brown runs it back from Sexton's kick. But just a couple of phases later, Watson knocks on. England still not clicking. 

6:08PM

41 mins: Ireland 10 England 3 

We are off again. After some ping pong Ireland are keen to keep ball in hand in their own 22 before clearing upfield. 

6:03PM

England have never recovered from being behind to Ireland in the Six Nations

That's another record England need to break today.

That @RoryBest2 pass though....#IrevEngpic.twitter.com/y3BEKwLpqh

— BenchWarmers (@BeWarmers) March 18, 2017

6:01PM

The most farcical end to a test match ever?

As mentioned earlier, Wales lost in the 100th (yes, 100th) minute in Paris earlier. 

It had everything from bite allegations, allegations of players biting themselves, possible fake head injuries, countless scrums, yellow cards, angry mobs...everything. You can read our report here

Even my three day old son was begging for Wayne Barnes to put us all out of our misery!

A life of rugby frustration awaits Credit: Stafford

 

5:56PM

Henderson's try

Here's  a look at the Irish try and the only one of the game so far.

5:54PM

Ireland dominate, but is the lead big enough?

Ireland were the superior team that half. Far more ball and better territory. However, a seven point lead will not feel an adequete return for them going in at the halfway point. 

England have a lot to sort out. From poor lineouts to overcooked kicks, they look off key. However, they won't panic. A team on a winning run like theirs will feel the game is still there for the taking.

Ireland's Garry Ringrose is tackled by Courtney Lawes Credit: PA

5:50PM

Half-time: Ireland 10 England 3    

Best doesn't throw it straight. Garces blows for halftime.

5:49PM

39 mins: Ireland 10 England 3    

 England finally enter the Irish half again. An attack ends with a kick into touch just ten or so metres from the Irish line. Irish ball. 

5:48PM

39 mins: Ireland 10 England 3   

Awful lineout from England, overthrown by Hartley trying to hit Itoje and it falls to Ireland. They are so shocked though, they soon knock it on and cancel out the opportunity.

5:47PM

38 mins: Ireland 10 England 3  

Sexton works the blindside after a few phases with a pop ball to Ringrose. After seven phases though, O'Mahony tackles an English player off the ball to open a gap in midfield and England are able to kick a penalty to halfway. 

5:46PM

37 mins: Ireland 10 England 3  

Ireland force a choke tackle on Farrell and win a scrum. Great attacking position on edge of 22.

5:45PM

35 mins: Ireland 10 England 3 

Ireland now with 73% possession after 35 minutes! 

5:43PM

35 mins: Ireland 10 England 3         

The scrum was actually just outside the 22. Ford overcooks the clearance and puts it out on full. Irish lineout just by the English 22. Ireland have made a good start, but they will want more points from this pressure. 

5:42PM

33 mins: Ireland 10 England 3        

Ireland's next attack ends after a forward pass from Marmion after a set move is executed poorly. English scrum in their own 22.

5:40PM

32 mins: Ireland 10 England 3       

Ireland on the attack again, breaching the English 22. They come out of it to go wide right, Best crashes them into the 22 again. Eventually a knock on advantage to Ireland....but it's soon over. 

After eight phases Sexton puts a bomb in. Daly gathers on his own line and calls for a mark. 

Joe Marler down for treatment. But looks ok. 

5:38PM

29 mins: Ireland 10 England 3      

Dylan Hartley informs Garces that O'Mahony is lying over the ball. Meanwhile, Sexton kicks to near the English 22.

5:37PM

28 mins: Ireland 10 England 3     

...really...there is so much going on. It's scrappy, but kind of amusing. In the end, Lawes is pinged for being within ten metres of a kick and not retreating. 

Penalty to Ireland near halfway. 

5:36PM

28 mins: Ireland 10 England 3     

It's all Ireland. Ringrose puts Earls away. Ireland make huge yardage, bursting from near halfway to the English 22. But it's lost in contact...England have it now, Daly gathers a chip ahead....now we are in the Irish 22. It's breathtaking stuff here...Ireland turn it over and Zebo boots upfield. Ball still in play....

5:33PM

26 mins: Ireland 10 England 3    

Terrible knock on from Courtney Lawes with no one near him just after the kick off. Ireland will be very happy with this start.

5:32PM

25 mins: Ireland 10 England 3   

Sexton adds the extras.

5:31PM

24 mins: Ireland 8 England 3  

Try?

We go to TMO. After the lineout drive, Iain Henderson goes over. Question is on the grounding. It looks good.

TRY! 

5:30PM

24 mins: Ireland 3 England 3 

...after a few more phases Billy Vunipola is pinged for hands in the ruck. Sexton goes for the corner.

5:29PM

22 mins: Ireland 3 England 3 

Owen Farrell of England clashes with Jonathan Sexton of Ireland Credit: Getty

 Some good phase play from Ireland from the lineout. They move right, then left across the pitch. Six metres short about seven or eight phases on. 

Stander takes them to within four metres of the English line. Zebo almost bundled into touch. He survives...

5:26PM

19 mins: Ireland 3 England 3

Sexton may have hurt his shoulder in the latest phase of Irish attack. Hit from Itoje after the pass has left him. Very close to high under new directives. He only gets a warning from Garces.

Ireland have a penalty for a ruck infringement. Sexton plays on, looking sore, and kicks into the English 22 for a lineout. 

5:24PM

18 mins: Ireland 3 England 3

Farrell makes it. It's all level. 

Just a reminder, the wind is really swirling around here. Not easy. Meanwhile, Rory Best is back on for Ireland.

5:22PM

16 mins: Ireland 3 England 0

Ireland's Donnacha Ryan claims a lineout Credit: REX

 England looking to finally put some decent phases together. They are 10 metres inside the Irish half, looking to batter a way through. After seven phases they have an advantage, but play on. Ford puts a bomb up. Payne again fails to deal with it. But England knock on.

So we come back for Ireland not rolling away at the tackle. Very kickable for Farrell. 

5:18PM

12 mins: Ireland 3 England 0       

It's a scrappy nervous start from both sides, which is what you'd expect. England knock on not long after the restart and Irish scrum just inside their own half. 

5:17PM

11 mins: Ireland 3 England 0      

Sexton kicks it.

5:16PM

9 mins: Ireland 0 England 0     

Ireland battering away. A great chance here. But England holding firm.

With wet ball it's fairly simple at present, one man up, one man smash. 10 phases now, but Ireland are now outside the 22. 

Zebo puts in a kick which doesn't come off, but it works for Ireland. Earls gets it back and loses it just five metres out. 

England survive. Rory Best off for head injury assessment...no...it's an injury. Replaced by Niall Scannell. 

Follows on from Heaslip's late withdrawal. 

 Penalty for Sexton after England infringement at the breakdown. Very kickable.

5:13PM

8 mins: Ireland 0 England 0    

Ireland get a driving maul going from their lineout, taking it to the edge of the English 22. They put a bomb up, Haskell comes away with it...but England lose it in their 22.

5:11PM

7 mins: Ireland 0 England 0    

Vunipola's first run goes nowhere, Ford chips ahead but Launchbury was offside. Irish penalty, they'll want to clear their lines.

5:10PM

5 mins: Ireland 0 England 0   

James 'The Brand' Haskell upsets the home crowd with hit on Sexton. Then Youngs has his kick charged down by Donnacha Ryan. England recover though and play ends with an English lineout on the Irish 10m line.

5:09PM

4 mins: Ireland 0 England 0  

A poor pass from Farrell goes behind Mike Brown (attacking from first phase) and play ends with a knock on.

5:07PM

2 mins: Ireland 0 England 0  

Ireland deal with the kick off. England kick it back and we end up with an Irish drop out, which Ireland recover. 

Jared Payne, in at fullback, drops  and knocks on his first challenge with a high ball and scrum to England on edge of 22, 15m in from right wing.

5:05PM

0 mins: Ireland 0 England 0 

Game has been delayed due to the farcical going on in Paris. Long story short, yellows, bite allegations, fake head injuries, 1083328 scrums and Wales lose in 100th minute by 20-18!!!

Anyway, back to Dublin. 

We are off. England kick long to Earls in a swirling wind.

4:59PM

Today's referee and injury update - HEASLIP OUT

Jerome Garces of France is today's man with the whistle. 

BREAKING NEWS: Ireland's Jamie Heaslip is injured. Pulled out during warm up. Peter O'Mahony comes in with CJ Stander moving to number eight.

4:56PM

Teams singing the anthems 

The teams are lined up for the anthems in Dublin, meanwhile, in Paris. We are in the 95th minute! Some mental stuff going on there we cannot possible go into here! Going to be big news.

4:53PM

Drizzle in Dublin

Seems rain is coming down, despite what we said earlier!

4:52PM

Players out to meet the President

The teams are out in Dublin. It's everyone's favourite thing. Players meeting the President. Again.

4:50PM

10 mins to go in Dublin

4:33PM

Recent head-to-head

We broke down the history of the 131 matches between these sides earlier in the blog. But if you just want a quick reference to recent history, here we go: 

4:30PM

Ireland must target England fly-half George Ford if they are to upset the odds

Former Irish centre Gordon D'Arcy has written a piece for the Telegraph saying Ireland must target George Ford to succeed today. 

George Ford can be a turnstile at times Credit: REX

"England can be beaten. Forget the doom merchants who would have you believe this Ireland team have gone backwards or sideways. This has been a tournament of fine margins. Had Robbie Henshaw not been judged to have entered a maul illegally against Wales last week, Ireland might be playing for the Championship.

England are an excellent team. They do not really have many weaknesses so you have to look at what other teams have done to them and consider what has worked and what has not."

You can read the full piece here

4:20PM

Classic match: Mick Galwey scores a famous try and his sister celebrates with him

1993 saw an England side (full of players set to be named with the Lions a few days later) get taken apart by Ireland 17-3. 

 Mick Galwey scored a try and was joined on the pitch by his sister in celebration (see the young lady in the yellow jumper).

4:13PM

Dublin looking a bit grey, but heavy rain seems set to stay away

The weather, as it so often does in Dublin, may have a lot to say today. There was a lot of rain and wind last night in the city. 

However, it seems fears of "pretty grim" conditions may be unfounded. 

4:06PM

England arrive

Here's England arriving at the ground a short while ago. 

4:02PM

Wales hanging on in Paris

Meanwhile, in Paris, Wales are hanging on despite looking overwhelmed at times and constantly dropping the ball. It's currently 10-9 after 50 minutes. 

If Wales hang on this close late in the game, will their fitness tell and let them sneak a win?

Here's a look at the controversial yellow card in the first half. Wales had a similar knock on the other end a few minutes ago that was overlooked, angering the home crowd. You can follow our blog on the game here.

 Commentator Jonathan Davies retired in the first half with a baddy voice!

3:56PM

Reminder of the English XV

Here's a snazzy reminder of England's line up today: 

And a traditional team pic for the Irish squad:

3:28PM

Fancy a cringe?

Here we go:

Drumming up the noise with @the_hitmachinepic.twitter.com/QEP0NpkTfl

— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) March 18, 2017

3:25PM

Classic match: Ireland win in days when players still fought to steal the match ball

Here's another classic clip, this time from Ireland's 13-10 win in 1985 in Dublin. 

Brendan Mullin claimed his first try for his nation as Ireland won a Triple Crown, with only a draw against France denying them the Grand Slam. Check out the end of the clip, where the hookers fight for the match ball. Those where the days. 

3:17PM

"Beat Ireland and this really is England's greatest Six Nations team," says Will Greenwood

Former World Cup winner Will Greenwood says that a back-to-back Grand Slam today would make Eddie Jones' men England's greatest Six Nations team.

England players in a pre-match huddle during the RBS Six Nations  Credit: PA Wire

 "Any team that wants to make it into the history books, must first write their own story and the current England side are doing just that. They are a team that has built a winning mentality, coming through tough times and difficult games and finding ways to secure the result."

Read the full Greenwood column here.

3:02PM

Jonathan Davies has lost his voice in Pars

France have stormed to a 7-0 lead in Paris, with an early try from Remi Lamerat.

You can follow our match blog here

Meanwhile, Jonathan Davies the First, has caused much amusement on Twitter as his commentary comes complete with very, very croaky voice. Opinion is split on the good/bad angle of all this.

 

2:59PM

Vern Cotter cries...yes...that's right

It was an emotional send off for Vern Cotter just now, who had to fight off tears in the post game interview after his Scotland side dispatched Italy 29-0. 

Here's the match details if you didn't get to watch

Scotland's Tim Visser celebrates scoring a try Credit: REX

2:53PM

Classic match: Ireland dominate in Dublin

England's two match winning run against Ireland includes on non-Championship match, a World Cup warm up game in 2015. 

The last time these sides met in Dublin in a Six Nations game, Ireland won by 19-9. It was a far more one-sided game than the score suggested.

2:45PM

Rugby league skills key to England's attack

Daniel Schofield takes a look at how rugby league skills has not just helped develop the way England defend, but also how they attack.

England's Owen Farrell Credit: AFP

In his piece on the difficulty of defending against Eddie Jones' team he gets some great insight from Brian Ashton: 

"There is a slight irony that the influence of rugby league, long blamed as a pernicious influence on attacking play in union, is in part responsible for the blossoming of England’s attack.

“It is interesting in that regard that Ford and Farrell come from junior rugby league backgrounds,” says Brian Ashton. “Their understanding of space and how to manipulate it is much further developed. That is a real art. Their passes are all short, sharp passes; none of these long floated, bloated passes across the field that just drags defenders with them.”

You can read the piece in full here.

2:36PM

Wondering how England prepare for the big game today?

Well, here's what they do: 

How England's Dublin D-day will play out 2:25PM

Vern Cotter signs off in style

Scotland have won 29-0 over Italy in Vern Cotter's last match. It means they have won three games in a Six Nations for the first time in a decade.

Despite being dismantled last week by England and losing to France, Scotland could finish second if results go their way today. 

2:22PM

Classic match: Ireland win fourth on the trot against England

Here's a clip from the 1975 clash between the sides in Dublin. Enjoy Mike Gibson's delightful one handed catch at pace to score from distance. 

 Ireland won 12-9 on the day. It was the fourth win of a five match winning streak against a hapless England. 

2:17PM

Ireland hope to tap into former England coach to tame Vunipola

England fans are delighted to have Billy Vunipola back in the starting lineup again after missing most of the Championship through injury. Nathan Hughes, who stood in for him, has had a mixed Six Nations.

Billy is back Credit: Khachfe/JMP/REX/Shutterstock 

The Daily Telegraph’s Gavin Mairs examines how Ireland hope to use the insight of former England defence coach Andy Farrell to limit the big man’s impact.

2:07PM

Classic match: The Duke of Gloucester armed against the cold in 1960

Let's take another trip down memory lane. Here's a short clip from the 1960 clash between these sides, complete with epic musical introduction.

England won 8-5 on the day. Ireland got revenge in 1961, ending a sequence of seven English wins and two draws.

1:56PM

Is Joe Schmidt's Irish project in danger of unravelling?

The Daily Telegraph's Tom Cary takes a look at Joe Schmidt's Ireland in detail today:

"Four months ago it was difficult to find anyone with a bad word to say for Ireland or Joe Schmidt, publicly at least. Fresh from that historic win over New Zealand at Soldier Field – their first in 111 years – Ireland were a team brimming with self-belief and many pundits’ tip for the Six Nations title, having beaten all three southern hemisphere teams in a calendar year for the first time. 

Ireland's lock Donnacha Ryan runs with the ball during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Wales and Ireland Credit: GETTY

"Fast forward four months and the outlook is not so rosy. Defeat by England could materially affect Ireland’s hopes at the 2019 World Cup in Japan, almost certainly leaving them in the bottom half of the table; their worst finish under Schmidt.

If Ireland lose to England, and Wales beat France in Paris, they could lose their place among the top seeds for the World Cup draw in May."

Read the full piece here.

1:46PM

U20s full of promise for England

Also mentioned earlier, England's U20s won a Grand Slam last night.

Stars of the future? Credit: Various

 Charlie Wood takes a look at the youngsters to see who may be a star of the future for England. 

1:39PM

Red Roses win in Dublin

As mentioned earlier in the live blog, England women claimed a Grand Slam of their own in Dublin last night. 

England's Rachael Burford  Credit: Gary Carr/INPHO/REX/Shutterstock

 You can read our match report of the game here. England will now look to defend their world title in August (also in Ireland). 

1:35PM

Scotland lead at the break against Italy

Scotland are leading 15-0 as the second half kicks off at Murrayfield.

For live updates you can follow our live blog here.  

Matt Scott of Scotland is hauled down by the Italy defence Credit: GETTY

1:24PM

Classic match: Ireland 'concede' before a ball is kicked  

Few incidents in Championship cause as much debate as what happened before kick off in Dublin in 2003. England arrived looking for a much sought after Grand Slam after regular failures in the Clive Woodward era. Ireland themselves were seeking a first Slam for 55 years.

As anyone who watches a game in Dublin knows, there are always about 43 hours of pre-match anthems, red carpets and hand shakes to endure. In 2003 Martin Johnson led his side to the wrong side of the red carpet before the customary and very exciting introduction of the players to the Irish president.

When told of his error, Johnson refused to move. Hilarity/outrage ensued (depending on your viewpoint). In the end, the home team, amazingly, conceded. Instead of standing in front of the English or taking a stand, they lined up next to England on the grass, making President Mary McAleese walk off the ceremonial carpet and on the Dublin mud (horror) to shake their hands.

Humiliated before kick off, it never got any better for Ireland, England won 42-6.

1:06PM

Classic match: Foot and Mouth and Irish 'slambusters'

Ireland can deny England the Grand Slam today and will no doubt take inspiration from the 2001 vintage. 

Clive Woodward's England were looking to finally win a Grand Slam after falling at the final hurdle against Wales (1999) and Scotland (2000). 

After a foot and mouth outbreak disrupted the Championship, preventing England travelling to Ireland, the Championship was stretched out to October. 

Once again, England fell at the last, as Ireland pulled off a famous win by 20-14. 

12:55PM

Ireland’s 2017 campaign

After the historic heroics of Chicago last year, where Ireland ambushed the All Blacks and ended their world record run of top level wins, 2017 has been a big let down for Ireland.

Conor Murray will be a big loss for Ireland today Credit: GETTY

Many held hopes (including most likely the broadcasters and sponsors) that today would see both sides aiming for the Grand Slam. Sadly for those looking for the explosive climax, Ireland fell to both Scotland and Wales this year.

Here are the results so far:

  • Scotland 27 Ireland 22
  • Ireland 19 France 9
  • Italy 10 Ireland 63
  • Wales 22 Ireland 9

Ireland will be foaming at the mouth to bounce back from a three try to zero loss to Wales last week and deny England their place in history.

12:44PM

So who will win today? 

There's nothing like making a Six Nations match prediction to make a sporting expert look daft. The Championship really is a minefield when it comes to trying to see the future. 

If you haven't made your mind up yet, take a look at what the great and good of the sporting world think here.

Do you agree with Amir Kahn?

Who will win? Credit: N/A

12:37PM

Ireland v England: Part 132  

The two sides have met on 131 occasions since England won at the Oval in 1875.

England lead the series by 76 wins to 47 (there have been eight draws).

England have won the last two games in the fixture, most recently winning at Twickenham 21-10 in 2016’s Championship.

12:26PM

England urged to seize their moment  

There have only been five back-to-back slams in the last century. As our rugby correspondent Mick Cleary writes this morning, England really do have a chance to seize history today.

Dan Cole, Dylan Hartley and Joe Marler  Credit: Fotosport/REX/Shutterstock

12:15PM

England have chance for triple 2017 Grand Slam  

Dylan Hartley’s men today have a chance to round off a fantastic Six Nations season for England at all levels. Last night the England Women’s team and U20s both beat their Irish counterparts to claim Grand Slams. 

If the senior side win today, that’s a spectacular triple Grand Slam to celebrate.

12:00PM

History beckons

Welcome to our live coverage of Ireland v England in Dublin.

This is it. This is the big one. It’s the final clash of the 2017 Six Nations and glory, despair, heroism, controversy and drama are all waiting in the wings to have their moment in the spotlight.

England beat Scotland to claim the Calcutta Cup last weekend Credit: Rex features

There is an awful lot on the line this afternoon. Unfortunately for many, especially those who coughed up thousands for tickets months back anticipating a double Grand Slam battle, England have already won the title. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot on offer today. Here’s just some of the tangibles and intangibles up for grabs:

  • Grand Slam (England)

  • Triple Crown (England)

  • World record number of consecutive wins for a Tier One test team (England)

  • The first back-to-back Grand Slam since the Five Nations became the Six Nations (England)

  • England’s first back-to-back Grand Slam since 1991-1992

  • World ranking position - An Irish loss and Welsh win in Paris sees Ireland plunge down the rankings and risk falling into the 2019 ‘Group of Death’

  • The chance to break English hearts and destroy the Grand Slam, Triple Crown and World Record in one swift St. Patrick’s Weekend ambush (Ireland)

  • The Millennium Trophy - A recently made up trophy hardly anyone knows exists (Ireland/England)

As always, I’ll be on Twitter (@jpstafford) if you want to get in touch with your views, predictions, analysis, insight, moans or rants.

Ireland and Englands starting XVs rated

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes