UK media react to Ireland's Six Nations win over England
Brian Moore - Daily Telegraph
'Much has been made of the tactical nous of Ireland’s coach, Joe Schmidt, and yet it didn’t require much, if any, change from the way in which Ireland have approached their last several games. Astute kicking from both half-backs, Conor Murray and Jonathan Sexton and a highly committed and effective chasing game, particularly from the Irish back three.'
'In terms of overall awareness of options and variety of kicks out of hand Murray and Sexton have to be the equal of any other halfback pairing in world rugby. Their fitness and form is probably the most important factor in how far Ireland will progress in the world cup.
'For the Irish this is a 10th victory in a row and the vernacular wisdom is that they need to show a little more ambition and pose a more all-round attacking threat if they are to go to the very top of world rugby. That might be the case but you have to say that when they manage to execute a game-plan so precisely that comment has less validity. World Cups are often won by the tightest defences and Ireland’s is turning into one that is downright mean.'
'As far as yesterday’s game is concerned – sometimes Schmidt happens.'
Dean Ryan - Guardian
'You only have to compare and contrast something seemingly as simple as the kick-off or restart to see how Ireland scored. In those eight minutes England had kicked off three times and got it wrong, each time.
'There was nothing wrong in targetting Simon Zebo, because the Munster wing can’t or doesn’t kick. Unfortunately for England, the Irish, their coach Joe Schmidt and their playmaker, Sexton, had read the script. Only once was the ball kicked out and on the other occasions the pressure was put right back on England.'
'Instead of Cardiff, where he and the scrum-half Ben Youngs forced Wales either to turn under the kick or take man and ball, making it difficult to run the ball back, in Dublin they tended to invite Ireland’s players on to the ball and, with so many of them grounded in Gaelic football, that was asking for trouble.'
Gavin Mairs - Daily Telegraph
'England, who were seeking a third successive victory over the Irish, simply could not cope with the intensity and accuracy of Ireland’s aerial game and failed to replicate the quality of their performances in the victories over Wales and Italy.'
'It was almost a textbook opening by Ireland, who worked their exit strategies with supreme efficiency – thanks to Simon Zebo’s fizzing counter-attacks - and maintained possession by forcing mistakes from England’s back three with an aerial assault by Sexton and Murray.'
Robert Kitson - Guardian
'Despite the pale sunshine which belatedly emerged, it was the kind of day traditionally beloved of rampaging, gap-toothed Irish wing forwards and hip-flask manufacturers.'
Paul Hayward - Telegraph
'[England] have not won the Six Nations since 2011. Their last grand slam was 2003. This was one was blown away by an Ireland side who rattled English nerves with a high kicking game, attained tactical mastery through the wonderful Johnny Sexton and looked vulnerable only after running up a 19-3 lead and then relaxing in front.'
Andy Bull - Guardian
'Sexton gave a 50-minute masterclass before he made way, forced off with a hamstring injury. By then Ireland were 16 points up, and the question wasn’t whether they would win, but by how many. In the end it was by 10. It would surely have been more if Sexton had been able to stay on longer.
'He only had a slight limp, and on another day may well have played through it. And he seemed to want to, judging by the way he tried to shake it off. But his head coach Joe Schmidt was taking no chances. How he must wish he could wrap Sexton in cotton wool till the World Cup comes around.'
'Sexton played with furious intensity, fuelled – perhaps – by the fact that he had lost the last four Tests he had played against England. You could see it in the brutal tackle he put in on George Ford in the first half, a hit which smashed his opposite number sideways and swung him around till the centrifugal force made him spit out the ball.'
Chris Jones - Independent
'[England] were also miles behind Ireland when it came to the kick-chase tactic that is such a part of the home team’s armoury thanks to half backs Sexton and Conor Murray.
Tom Fordyce - BBC
'England were outplayed in all departments, starting slowly, consistently second-best at the breakdown and all too fallible under the high ball until a late rally. After all the optimism engendered from their unbeaten start to the Six Nations this will go down as one of the most chastening defeats of Stuart Lancaster's regime.'