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Monday, March 19, 2012

England power past Ireland at Twickenham

England finished second in the Six Nations championship following a powerful performance against Ireland at Twickenham. The English forwards dominated up front, resulting in a 30-9 victory against the Irish, on St Patrick's Day.

The home side were awarded a penalty try by referee Nigel Owens after the Irish pack disintegrated under the persistant pressure. A similar situation occured later in the game, resulting in just a penalty, but a quick tap from Ben Youngs. Owen Farrell kept up his good form by kicking six penalties and a conversion.

Ireland coach Declan Kidney blamed the loss on their scrum weaknesses. "I wasn't surprised by what happened at the scrum because Mike Ross got a crick on his neck at the first scrum and managed to play for half an hour after that,'' he said.

"Tom Court came on and went valiantly, but our balance was off. That was always on the cards because we have guys who don't have huge tighthead experience playing for Ireland at the moment. It's something we'll have to work on and bring more Irish guys through.''

Interim England coach Stuart Lancaster, who took over from Martin Johnson following the Rugby World Cup, looks to have secured his position as being in charge fulltime. His assistant, Graham Rowntree, has backed him fully, as have many of the players.

"We're reborn as a new team under Stuart. It's hard to think about the World Cup because it's such a long time ago. We're still not the finished article and there's loads more to come. I've never worked with such an energetic group of young players who just want to do well," he said.

It's since been reported that Nick Mallett is still the frontrunner for the job though, with his international experience and credentials outweighing that of Lancaster's. The RFU have said they won't be swayed by public sentiment, and will reportedly interview both candidates this week.

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