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Ireland smash England in Dublin
Grand Slam goes begging as England lose final Six Nations match with 24-8 defeat at Aviva Stadium.
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2011 19:23
Brian O'Driscoll scores a second-half try to put Ireland out of reach of the English [GALLO/GETTY]

Ireland ended England's hopes of completing a Grand Slam and put the visitors' chance of winning a first Six Nations title in eight years into slight doubt as a dominant display earned them a thumping 24-8 win on Saturday.

Ireland, who had won six of their last seven games against England, put a poor tournament behind them to play some of their best rugby in years.

They were fastest out of the blocks and never looked back as a display of controlled aggression and clever tactics left England reeling.

They led 17-3 at half time lead thanks to a Tommy Bowe try and the steady boot of flyhalf Jonathan Sexton and it could have been more.

Captain Brian O'Driscoll had a try ruled out for a forward pass but then crossed again without any problems for his 26th championship try, going past the mark set by Scotland's Ian Smith 78 years ago.

Shellshocked England could muster only an intercept try from replacement hooker Steve Thompson to leave the championship alive another three hours.

The only team who can deny England the title are Wales but to take the honours they must beat France by at least 27 points in Paris later on Saturday.

England remain favourites to win it but there will be only one team celebrating in Dublin on Saturday night.

'Smart game'

"We knew it was in us but for some reason it hadn't happened in the first four games. Some parts of our game were very good but we couldn't put it together in the full package," O'Driscoll told the BBC.

"Today we played a smart game and an intense game and they couldn't live with us.

"We said at half time we wanted to put them to the sword and to score 24 points against this team is impressive and we're very happy to finish the Six Nations the way we have."

On his individual landmark, the centre said: "It's great, I'm very honoured. Seventy eight years is a long time to hold the record but hopefully there's a bit more rugby in me yet."

"We're desperately disappointed to have not won the game but also the way we lost it.

"Let's take it on the chin, they outplayed us today. We had a horrible horrible first half where we did everything you talk about not doing when you're away from home.

"We compounded errors, we knocked balls on.

"Pressure's the name of the game. We got a lot of guys doing this for the first time - not a grand slam decider but playing a full championship.

"They're a savvy team, they are full of pride and have a lot of experience. We got it very wrong today. They outplayed us and they deserved to win."

Source:
Reuters
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