Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 23rd 2014 Contents A55
February 23, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
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"The problem with making an extrinsic reward the only
destination that matters is that some people will choose the
quickest route there, even if it means taking the low road."
-- Daniel H. Pink
LONDON---England edged Ireland 13-10 in
a test of breathless intensity at Twickenham
to open up the Six Nations into a four-team
race at the halfway point yesterday.
Ireland was the last unbeaten side in the
championship after France fell to Wales on
Friday, and was favoured to end a three-match
losing run to England with a side with more
than twice as many caps, rampant momentum,
and added incentive to celebrate Brian
O'Driscoll's world record-tying 139th test cap.
But England, with unexpected daring, over-
turned a 10-3 deficit to lead again within eight
minutes, and more than a quarter of the match
In a match marked by gritty, desperate
defence, the young English withstood a
firestorm finish from Ireland to register what
coach Stuart Lancaster called the best win in
his tenure, considering the context.
"Given the experience of the Ireland team,
the form they were in, the quality of the coach-
ing and the players they've got and some of
the relative inexperience we have, I'm just so
proud of the boys," Lancaster said.
"We showed great maturity in closing out
the game. It was character, spirit, playing for
the shirt. Ireland, fair play to them, threw
everything at us, and once we got that lead
we just clung on in there."
Four teams were tied at the top, with Ireland
ahead only on points difference from England,
Wales and France.
The next decisive matches appeared to be
England hosting two-time defending champion
Wales in two weeks, and France closing the
tournament at home against Ireland.
England and Ireland scored one converted
try each, with the difference on the scoreboard
provided by England's Owen Farrell, who
knocked over two of his three penalty attempts.
Jonathan Sexton hit the only penalty shot he
Ireland's scrum was dominant, taking advan-
tage of England tighthead David Wilson playing
with basically only a half of rugby in two
months. But for all of the ball Ireland had, it
couldn't turn pressure into points as England's
defence and discipline was top shelf.
England fired the first shot in the thriller.
Left wing Jonny May should have crossed in
the right corner early but he was slowed by
Ireland flanker Peter O'Mahony and scrumhalf
Conor Murray arrived just as May was diving
over the line to knock the ball from his grasp.
Then Ireland worked a brilliant move, with
Sexton's crosskick caught by Andrew Trimble
on the right wing, but his offload inside to
fullback Rob Kearney was bobbled, and he
was swallowed by Englishmen.
Farrell was lucky soon after not to be sin-
binned. His late shoulder charge on Murray
conceded only a penalty. Referee Craig Joubert's
decision was critical, because Farrell then
kicked the only points of the half, a penalty
from 50 metres.
Farrell's second penalty chance hit the
upright, and the teams could both be happy
where things stood at the break.
Just 90 seconds into the second half, Ireland
was even happier.
Ireland worked lineout ball to the middle
of England's 22, No. 8 Jamie Heaslip stood
wide of a ruck and England believed he was
spreading it wide. He was waiting for Kearney
to scream up inside him, slice clean through
and curve towards the posts untouched.
Sexton converted for 10-3, and added a
penalty in the 49th for 13-3.
Then England turned on the pressure, and
Ireland was happy to concede three points
rather than five. Farrell obliged and the deficit
England's try came from surprising ambition
inside its own half. Farrell, under pressure in
space, could have kicked the ball for relief but
passed to Jack Nowell, who found Mike Brown
inside speeding into a gap on halfway. Brown
blew through, and scrumhalf Danny Care
came up his inside to finish off between the
posts. Farrell converted, England had the lead
back, and this time kept it. (AP)
England beats Ireland, keeps 6N race open
England's Danny Care dives in to score a try against Ireland during the Rugby Union
International 6 Nations match at Twickenham Stadium, London, yesterday. AP PHOTO
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