England lose in France to hand Ireland Six Nations title

Randall Padilla
March 12, 2018

Ireland have already been crowned champions after they defeated Scotland, while England failed to beat France.

Much in the same way as past year, when England were confirmed Six Nations winners ahead of their final game in Dublin after Ireland's loss in Wales, Joe Schmidt's side will head to Twickenham seeking a Grand Slam in a role reversal with England.

The Grand Slam is on for Ireland on St. Patrick's Day.

The result sees Ireland claim the trophy with one game to spare, setting up a showdown with England at Twickenham next weekend which could see the Irish pull off a Grand Slam for only the third time in their history.

Ireland top the table with 19 points from four games after securing a 28-8 bonus-point victory over Scotland earlier on Saturday, meaning they can not be caught by England when the two teams meet at Twickenham next weekend.

Only Rory Best and Rob Kearney remain in Ireland's squad from those that claimed the Grand Slam in 2009. It didn't protect us, we had to go out and win again today.

"The biggest problem of all was the huge penalty count against England: 16 in total", insisted Woodward, who guided England to 2003 World Cup final glory against an Australia side coached by Jones. Armand won his solitary cap against Argentina last summer but Jones has since resisted calls to select the Zimbabwe-born back-row and previously questioned his work rate.

Ireland made its bonus-point intentions known after only four minutes, when flyhalf maestro Jonathan Sexton waived off a penalty goalkick to set up a lineout. And as Ireland welcomed the championship title back over the Irish Sea, Jones was left looking for answers to why Jaco Peyper - as Nigel Owens did in Edinburgh - frequently found fault with his side's approach to the ruck.

"We knew the physical challenge would be key and we controlled the ball and that upset England, they're not used to that".

Scotland had their chances but weren't as accurate, and butchered at least two tries. Has the introduction of bonus points for scoring four tries or finishing within seven points diluted the excitement of the championship?

Ireland had trailed 13-5 after 31 minutes as Wales responded to Jacob Stockdale's early try to lead through Gareth Davies' converted score and two Leigh Halfpenny penalties. Jones drew last-man Sexton but passed too far in front of Hogg. "We need to learn".

"For us, it's about trying to drag those young guys along, they probably think they are going to get lot of opportunities. We play Ireland next year in the Six Nations and we will play them in 18 months at the World Cup and we need to make sure we are a better team when we play them".

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