England honeymoon over for Jones: Woodward


Granted, we lived dangerously at times and we certainly rode our luck at times defensively. The good news for the Irish is that Jacob Stockdale can't stop running in tries, his double against Scotland taking his tally for this season's tournament to six. You have a go and you get penalised, so you don't want to go in again.

England must match Ireland's result against Scotland in their clash with France in Paris to keep the championship alive until the final weekend, when Eddie Jones' men will host Schmidt's outfit at Twickenham.

When the first kickable penalty of the match was awarded, instead of taking the three points on offer, Johnny Sexton made a decision to kick to the corner but unfortunately Rory Best's throw didn't connect with his target and Scotland lifted the pressure without conceding any points. The ball moved right before coming back the way and Stockdale had enough space to break the tackle of Kinghorn, who had not long returned from a head injury assessment to get over in the corner and become the first Irish player to score six tries in a Six Nations campaign. The wing took the gift 55 meters untouched to the posts with the usual Sexton conversion. That try was against the run of play but, strangely, it didn't really settle us.

Speaking afterwards, alongside Schmidt, he explained why his side's latest triumph was such a special moment in his career.

"They will be extra motivated and knowing many from the Lions tour they are a great bunch and will be gunning for us". There is so much still to play for.

Scotland continued to compete, the lineout descended into a bit of a lottery but the developing stats were telling the story that Ireland had slowly established a stranglehold. On three occasions in that first half Ireland tried to exit and managed to find touch but Scotland took quick throws and relaunched another wave of attacks.

"But we know that the biggest challenge is ahead, still".

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The Irish won their first Grand Slam in 1948 and also achieved the feat in 2009. Having seen England lose in Scotland and their stuttering performance against France, I am starting to change my mind.

The former number 10 is pleased that Ireland are not resting on their laurels after an 11th successive win but are firmly focused on capturing just a third Grand Slam success in their history. "I don't think it's a technical problem". "We are always going to go through this at some stage". "I think Rory [Best] is desperate for Grand Slam because he feels he would be a bigger part of it now than he played back then [Best was understudy to Jerry Flannery in four of the five matches]".

"It's a tough period for us at the moment".

"Credit to the management team to have prepared us so well for each match with so many players missing", said Sexton.

"It's a personal pride perspective because we probably haven't done what we set out to do and that doesn't sit well". We also have depth now off the bench.

"You get into this environment and everything is put on perfectly; you get a police escort to the game so you don't expect traffic to be an issue", said Best.