Rugby union: England coach Stuart Lancaster hailed the maturity of his team after they overcame difficult conditions to claim their first Six Nations victory over Ireland in Dublin for a decade and stay on course for the Grand Slam.
Owen Farrell kicked all of England’s points as they mastered the pouring rain to beat Ireland 12-6 today and lay down a huge marker to their title credentials before their game with France.
No England side had triumphed in a championship encounter in Dublin since 2003, when Martin Johnson’s team destroyed Ireland and went on to win the Grand Slam and then the World Cup.
With the weather forcing a more attritional game, man-of-the-match Chris Robshaw led from the front, with Farrell kicking four penalties to Ronan O’Gara’s two to seal a rare win in Ireland.
Lancaster said: “I’m chuffed for the maturity of the whole team. There are a lot of young players out there playing in Dublin for the first time. We’ve got another win and we’ll take it.”
By defeating Ireland, England are the only unbeaten team left in the tournament, but Lancaster does not believe that adds any extra pressure as they prepare for their next match, against twice-beaten France.
He said: “The stakes have always been high but they are getting higher with France coming to Twickenham on the back of losing (16-6 to Wales) yesterday.”
Farrell, who was a key man in the wet conditions, gave England a second-minute lead and spent a lot of the day putting boot to ball, as did Ireland’s Jonathan Sexton before he was replaced by O’Gara due to injury.
However, despite the magnitude of the game and all eyes being on him for the crucial penalty kicks, Farrell revealed he did not feel any pressure.
He said: “If you practise enough it is only another kick and it’s no different in the stadium.”