Ireland Crowned Six Nations Grand Slam Champs
Ireland held their nerve to beat England 29-16 in the final match of the 2023 Six Nations in Dublin on Saturday night and claim their first title since 2018.
Ireland went into the Test needing a win, after France had beaten Wales with a bonus point earlier in the day to temporarily climb to first place.
Despite a nervy performance, filled with a number of uncharacteristic handling errors, Ireland did enough to see off Steve Borthwick’s England in a 13-point win and break their Six Nations title drought, bagging the Grand Slam and Triple Crown in the process.
It is a big statement of intent from the top-ranked Test team, just six months out before the World Cup tournament in France, and equally an important demonstration that they have the temperament to win a major title.
Ireland led 10-6 led at half-time after a shaky first-half, but the hosts had the cards stacked heavily in their favour when England went a man down after Freddie Steward’s 40th-minute sending off. But they continued to struggle mightily and England played with enough heart and attitude to suggest a big upset was actually on.
Ireland settled down and started to pile pressure on England. Sexton spotted space in behind Anthony Watson to the right and unleashed a good cross-field kick that pitched 10 metres from the try-line.
Watson was powerless as he was swarmed upon as soon as he gathered the ball and coughed up an Ireland five-metre scrum that Robbie Henshaw converted into the all-important try. Sexton landed the conversion.
Soon Dan Sheehan and Rob Herring barged over for tries and that was goodnight England and hello Grand Slam – Ireland’s fourth ever and their first one secured in front of the Dublin faithful.
SIX NATIONS: WATCH BELOW