- England beat Ireland in Dublin: more
- Jones vows England will improve: read
- Ireland v England in numbers: view
Former England scrum half Lee Dickson analyses Saturday’s win against Ireland and picks out his standout England play.
My Play of the Week is Jonny May's second minute try. England hadn't scored one in Dublin for eight years, and this just set the tone for what was an incredible team performance.
Before we run through it, let's remind ourselves of the score.
The tone was actually set from the first line out, where the ball over the top to Manu Tuilagi got England over the gain line. We then saw meaningful carries from the likes of Kyle Sinckler, Jack Nowell and Billy Vunipola.
Owen Farrell finds Vunipola (above yellow circle) and what Billy did very well was suck in a few defenders, and instead of taking the tackle and slowing play down, found a way to offload out of the tackle to keep the tempo high. That played a huge part in what was to come; it gave Ireland no opportunity to get their numbers set.
What can you say about Farrell here? He's not even looking at Ben Youngs (ball in hand above). He has just come around the corner, playing off the cuff, and has identified how much width England have with Elliot Daly and May in the far channel - all in a split second - and executes a pinpoint pass. Just unbelievable.
He takes it flat to the line cutting out three Irish defenders. He sees Keith Earl coming (below nearest ball) to try and nullify the threat of Tuilagi, and just throws it. On a different day it could have been intercepted, but it wasn’t.
I don’t think many people in the world can pass a ball like that, flat and fast into the onrushing Daly, who hasn’t even had to break stride.
Daly (blue box receiving pass below) then does what great players do in that situation. Instead of feeding May straight away, he wants to take Robbie Henshaw (red box below) the last defender, out of the game, and has the pace to make the one-on-one before lifting the ball into May’s path. The Leicester man then just does what comes naturally and finishes.
This try comes down to the speed of the ball at the breakdown, controlled by Youngs. The longer you allow Ireland to get on top of you at the breakdown, the harder it becomes; there is no better side at disrupting you but the way England dealt with the breakdown, by winning collisions, was of high importance.
When the ball is quick there is no panic, England went through eight phases before this score. In Test rugby, you're not normally going to score that early, you have to wear a good team down. However, England stuck to their systems here and it just took a touch of genius from Farrell...and wee then have clinical players to finish chances.
I don't want to get too excited just yet, and now this game is over it is how you build on it. France were dangerous against Wales and showed they can play, but if England can go to these levels against them next weekend they will feel extremely confident of their chances in the tournament.