"We dominated physically" - Eddie Jones puts Ireland in their box again
What a good problem to have. Ireland used to have problems like this.
Eddie Jones holds a 5-2 advantage over Ireland in Test match encounters since he took the helm at England. On Saturday, at Twickenham, his side reasserted their recent dominance over the men in green.
With Tom Curry, Sam Underhill and Maro Itoje at their combative, disruptive best, and Jonny May scoring two fine tries, England raced into an 18-0 lead before setting out to keep Ireland scoreless in the closing stages. They managed to do so until the 74th minute, when subs Billy Burns and Jacob Stockdale combined for what was a consolation try.
England looked as though they could have blown Ireland off the park when May's two tries in the space of four minutes made it 12-0. That they did not do so was down to them not going full-on for the kill, and the fighting spirit of Andy Farrell's side in the second half.
England followed up their World Cup final appearance, in November 2019, by winning the 2020 Guinness Six Nations. They are not exactly blitzing teams off the park, but they are a physically dominant unit and are getting wins through their punishing defence, a well-drilled kicking game and some moments of individual brilliance.
Eddie Jones' team are in a position that Ireland found themselves in around 2017 and 2018 - winning a shed-load of games but fielding questions about their style of play. So it proved after their 18-7 win over Ireland, and the England head coach took issue when one reporter questioned his side's lack of attacking sparkle.
"Have you come away with some disappointment," Jones was asked, "that you weren't able to mount much of an attacking challenge?"
"Well, I'll tell ya, I'm never disappointed when we beat Ireland," he responded. The reporter was not done yet. He followed up with:
"We didn't really look like scoring much in the second half. There must be something more you were looking for... " With that, Jones cut in.
"Well you can be disappointed, mate. I'm not. I know how hard the boys worked to beat Ireland. And we've been beaten by Ireland, and it's not a good feeling mate. So we've got a good feeling in our dressing room. They've probably not got a real good feeling in their dressing room. So you can be disappointed, mate. I'm not."
Earlier in his press briefing, Jones spoke of his team's physically dominant performance against an Ireland side they have now beaten four times in row.
"England versus Ireland games are always tough games," Jones noted. "They've got a strong forward pack, we've got a strong forward pack. It's a tough old game. At times, we dominated physically and we've got a bit more to go there."
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