Only three Ireland players emerge with credit as England run amok 9 months ago

Only three Ireland players emerge with credit as England run amok

There is a reason why only two nations have won back-to-back Grand Slams in the past quarter century, and no-one since 1998.

Ireland have started yet another Six Nations campaign badly and they will now have to win the next four games to have any chance of reclaiming the title they won at Twickenham last March.

Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton played their first game together since the Australian tour, last June, and both chose bad evenings to have poor games. It was no coincidence that their passes and kicks were off the mark with the English pack at their ferocious best.

32-20 to Eddie Jones men and they will now back themselves to take the title back from Irish hands after so many of their big players stood up. Mako Vunipola was named man-of-the-match while Manu Tuilagi must have pushed him close. Jonny May enjoys playing Ireland and he bagged an early try, with Henry Slade helping himself to two.

As for Ireland, only a handful of players can look back on the match and be truly happy with their performances.

Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong heaved into it from the off and were Ireland's two best players on the night. Furlong was at his powerful best and was the one man in green that caused England headaches. Healy scored a try in the corner and was another that tackled and carried hard.

In the backline, Garry Ringrose was Ireland's brightest light. He made one superb aerial take to spark an attacking drive, his support lines were excellent and he made a turnover with a rib-rattler on 58 minutes that had the potential to be a game-changer.

The Leinster centre looked uncomfortable coming off the pitch in the final 10 minutes - replaced by Joey Carbery - and Ireland will hope he is okay to face Scotland next weekend.

Bundee Aki gave it his all and showed all evening for carries but England saw him coming and his impact was nowhere near on the same level as Manu Tuilagi's. The England No.12 was menacing throughout but Aki did his best out there.

As for the rest of them, Josh van der Flier emptied the tank and James Ryan put in a decent shift but it was their opposite numbers that had greater impacts. Too many duels and battles lost and the war went England's way.

Scotland comfortably beat Italy in Murrayfield, earlier in the day, and they will fancy themselves against a wounded Ireland next Saturday.