England Rugby manager Eddie Jones put another notch on his impressive record Saturday, guiding England to a 29th win out of 36 international Tests since he took the reins. To make the victory especially sweet, it was a conquest over Joe Schmidt’s formidable Ireland side at home at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. A testament to the power of Jones’ game-planning, England looked immensely strong as they took on the Six Nations champions, taking apart the host’s strategy and backing them into a corner.
Leading 17-13 by the 66th minute, England created a fantastic opportunity coming out of the scrum, Henry Slade first fed Jonny May the ball and then chased down May’s fantastic chip, a slick maneuver allowing Slade’s exceptional pace to seal the deal in a beautiful try. The work of both May and Jack Nowell on the wings was pivotal for England’s success in a terrific day’s rugby, with May’s opening try inside the first two minutes setting the tone.
Culminating in a 32-30 victory, Saturday represents potentially England’s most dominant win under Jones in contest with another top team, the four-try bonus point illustrating just how effectively they dismantled Andy Farrell’s defense, and the Irish squad taking a heavy beating at the hands of England’s driven intensity. Ireland lost Keith Earls, Garry Ringrose, CJ Stander and Devin Toner to injury. “I don’t think I’ve seen a game where our opponents got so many physical, dominant tackles, where our opponents have carried physically in the manner that they did,” the Ireland manager Joe Schmidt confessed after the game. However, England suffered the loss of star player Maro Itoje, a presence who will be sorely missed going into subsequent games.
Manu Tuilagi’s long absence due to injury was forgotten as he bulldozed his way into the match, a powerhouse playing with the destructive flair that he’s known for, and the Vunipola brothers showed their incredible athleticism and sporting quality. Overall, England looked stronger against Ireland than they have during the whole of Schmidt’s tenure as manager, and England fans will be hopeful that this impressive victory is a good omen for the rest of the tournament going into their match against France at Twickenham this Sunday.
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