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England too Strong for Brave Irish
3 March 2003, 7:59 pm
England produced a world class performance at Lansdowne Road as they defeated Ireland 42-6, to win the Grand Slam of the 2003 RBS Six Nations.
England produced a world class performance at Lansdowne Road as they defeated Ireland 42-6 to win the Grand Slam of the 2003 RBS Six Nations.

They particurlary ripped Ireland apart in the second half with an awesome pick and drive display. Played at a pace that had Ireland out on their feet and the final outcome way beyond doubt long before Jonathan Kaplan blew the final whistle.

Ireland had the best of the posession in the opening minutes. After one minute Ireland were awarded a penalty 2 m into their own half. Humphries elected to kick, was on target but failed to make the distance. He made up for that miss two minutes later with a drop goal to give Ireland an early lead of 3-0. It took England just four minutes to reply with a try converted to make it 3-7.

Humphries was wide of the mark again with a penalty after 16 minutes but Ireland kept the pressure on. Ten minutes later, Ireland pulled back the deficit with a penalty goal by Humphries making it 6-7. Wilkinson replied three minutes later with a drop goal, widening the gap to 6-10.

Ireland threatened the England line on a number of occasions but the try did not materialise. Wilkinson had the last score of the first half with another drop goal. Englang led 13-6 at the end of a thoroughly entertaining first half.

The RBS Man of the Match (Johnny Wilkinson) opened the scoring again in the second half with a drop goal, 6-15. It took England 20 minutes to register their second try, with Tindall going over the Irish line. Grayson, on for Wilkinson, converted. Five minutes later, England scored another try, Will Greenwood the scorer. Wilkinson kicked another penalty bringing it to 6-30. The world's best out-half added the points to Will Greenwood's 64th minute try, struck his third drop-goal five minutes later, that was disallowed, so he knocked over a penalty for good measure and that was effectively that as far as determining which side would be making history.

Greenwood weighed in with another try after takiing advantage of a sloppy pass and replacement Dan Luger compunded Ireland's misery when he crossed for the game's fifth try six minutes into injury time.

Final Score: Ireland 6 England 42

Match Reactions:

Brian O'Driscoll

"We gave everything we had and tried hard but they proved why they are the number one side in the world," "It was end-to-end stuff and we were struggling at first with the tempo of the game. It was very fast, the quickest I've played in the Six Nations.

"Their scrambling defence was excellent. It is one of their great strengths and one of the best you'll come across. "They get their big guys around the rucks and their fastest players out wide and their organisation is fantastic."

Eddie O'Sullivan

"I'm disappointed. The lads played their guts out today. I have to be proud of them. The guys left their bodies on the ground out there. "I have to say the best team won but I'm proud of the Irish boys, they gave all they had."

Martin Johnson:

"We have had disappointments over the years and there was a lot of pressure on both teams but we came through. "Great credit to our players and the coaches who have worked so hard. Credit to the Irish boys too, but we have finally done it."

Asked about the awesome performance by England's defence, Johnson said: "They were always going to have the ball. They made half breaks and we covered them and stopped them. That was key. "It was important to win we have been too close too often. It was time we won one."

Clive Woodward

"It was a great all-round performance," "We will enjoy it, but our feet are firmly on the floor. "Today was about winning, nothing else, and we are very pleased. "It was a goal at the start of the season for the whole team and coaches to try and nail down the Grand Slam. We had to win today."The ramifications of losing would have been huge, but I think that we have got a big-match team and the preparation was excellent this week,".

Referring to England's recent Grand Slam miseries, Woodward added: "It has never been a monkey on the back to me. "We have learnt the lessons brilliantly well and we will keep learning, and this is a great boost for us in 2003 it puts a spring in the step." Woodward paid tribute to all his players, but highlighted the significant contributions made by man of the match Jonny Wilkinson and Dallaglio. "Jonny was outstanding, and it was Lawrence's best game for England for a long, long time. I am also especially pleased for captain Martin Johnson."

Although England ran away with it in the end, they were only 13-6 up at half-time, and Woodward said: "It was a very tough match. "I don't think that the scoreline reflects the game, but the result today shouldn't diminish what Ireland have done this season you don't win four out of four by being a bad team. "For us, if we had lost today, then it would have been a very tough year for us all. "I couldn't have put more pressure on the team today if I had tried, and today was a great result. "I am delighted with the way everyone responded. I was very confident of winning this game it would have been very tough to recover if we hadn't won this one.

"I am delighted for the players they deserved today."

Teams:

Ireland

Geordan Murphy (Leicester); Justin Bishop (London Irish), Brian O'Driscoll capt (Blackrock College/Leinster), Kevin Maggs (Bath), Denis Hickie (St Mary's College/Leinster); David Humphreys (Dungannon/Ulster), Peter Stringer (Shannon/Munster); Marcus Horan (Shannon/Munster), Shane Byrne (Blackrock College/Leinster), John Hayes (Shannon/Munster); Gary Longwell (Ballymena/Ulster), Malcolm O'Kelly (St Mary's College/Leinster); Victor Costello (St Mary's College/Leinster)Keith Gleeson (St Mary's College/Leinster), Anthony Foley (Shannon/Munster).

Replacements: Frank Sheahan (Cork Constitution/Munster), Justin Fitzpatrick (Dungannon/Ulster), Paul O'Connell (Young Munster/Munster), Alan Quinlan Shannon/MUnster), Guy Easterby (Llanelli), Ronan O'Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster), Girvan Dempsey (Terenure College/Leinster).

England

Josh Lewsey (Wasps); Jason Robinson (Sale), Ben Cohen (Northampton), Mike Tindall (Bath), Will Greenwood (Harlequins); Jonny Wilkinson (Newcastle), Matt Dawson (Northampton); L awrence Dallaglio (Wasps), Neil Back (Leicester), Richard Hill (Saracens); Ben Kay (Leicester), Martin Johnson capt (Leicester); Jason Leonard (Harlequins), Steve Thompson (Northampton), Graham Rowntree (Leicester).

Replacements: Dorian West (Leicester), Trevor Woodman (Gloucester), Danny Grewcock (Bath), Joe Worsley (Wasps), Kyran Bracken (Saracens), Paul Grayson (Northampton), Dan Luger (Harlequins).

Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa).

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