- England – Tries: May, Daly, Slade 2 Cons: Farrell 3 Pens: Farrell 2
- Ireland – Tries: Healy, Cooney Cons: Sexton 2 Pens: Sexton 2
England got their 2019 Guinness Six Nations campaign off to a winning start with a thrilling 32-20 bonus point victory against defending champions Ireland in Dublin.
Tries from Jonny May and Elliot Daly, as well as seven points from the boot of Owen Farrell, gave England a 17-10 lead at the break with Ireland’s try coming from Cian Healy.
Johnny Sexton briefly narrowed England’s lead in the second half before two tries from Henry Slade secured a famous win for the visitors.
England made the perfect start with the ball spread wide to Jonny May who raced down the wing to score his 19th international try inside the first 90 seconds of the match.
Captain Owen Farrell added the extras to make it 7-0 but Ireland responded with a penalty from Johnny Sexton after the visitors were penalised at the breakdown.
England found themselves down to 14 men soon after when flanker Tom Curry, making his Six Nations debut, was sent to the sin bin for a high tackle on Keith Earls.
Eddie Jones’ men were able to keep Ireland scoreless while a man down but were unable to keep Cian Healy out when the prop powered his way over the line from a metre out. Sexton slotted the conversion to give his side a 10-7 lead after 25 minutes.
England responded almost immediately, working their way up the pitch before Elliot Daly threaded a kick behind Ireland’s defence and pounced on the loose ball to touch down for their second try.
It looked like England had scored a third when Mako Vunipola crashed over the line but the TMO ruled there had been a double movement from the prop. They didn’t come away empty handed however, with Farrell adding a penalty to make it 17-10 at the break.
The second half proved equally as intense as the first with the defending Six Nations champions narrowing the gap through the boot of Sexton after a high tackle from Kyle Sinckler.
Farrell missed the chance to extend England’s lead with 20 minutes left on the clock when his penalty attempt drifted wide of the uprights.
But England’s backline sparked into action again on 65 minutes as a flat pass from Slade found May who kicked ahead. Slade then won the chase to dot down.
Farrell was unsuccessful with the conversion but made up for it minutes later with a long range penalty from just inside Ireland’s half to bring the score to 25-13 with 10 minutes left.
Ireland were running out of time to mount a comeback and their defeat was sealed after 75 minutes when Slade showed impressive handling skills to intercept a pass and score his second try and secure a bonus point.
Farrell added the conversion and a consolation try from Ireland replacement John Cooney, converted by Sexton, proved too late for Ireland with the score 32-20 at the final whistle.
England starting XV (485 caps)
15 Elliot Daly (Wasps, 25 caps), 14 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 40 caps), 13 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 17 caps), 12 Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 27 caps), 11 Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 29 caps), 10 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 65 caps), 9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 80 caps); 1 Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 51 caps), 2 Jamie George (Saracens, 32 caps), 3 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 17 caps), 4 Maro Itoje (Saracens, 26 caps), 5 George Kruis (Saracens, 27 caps), 6 Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons, 8 caps), 7 Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 5 caps), 8 Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 36 caps).
Finishers (206 caps)
16 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 7 caps), 17 Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 5 caps), 18 Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs, 15 caps), 19 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 68 caps), 20 Nathan Hughes (Wasps, 18 caps), 21 Dan Robson (Wasps, uncapped), 22 George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 51 caps), 23 Chris Ashton (Sale Sharks, 42 caps).
Ireland: Henshaw; Earls, Ringrose, Aki, Stockdale; Sexton, Murray; Healy, Best (capt), Furlong; Toner, James Ryan; O'Mahony, van der Flier, Stander.
Replacements: Cronin, Kilcoyne, Porter, Roux, O'Brien, Cooney, Carbery, Larmour.