Record win­ning streak ended in wet Dublin

New Straits Times - - Sport -

ED­DIE Jones said New Zealand were “there for the tak­ing” after his Eng­land side’s bid to bet­ter the All Blacks’ record win­ning streak ended with a de­feat by Ire­land in Dublin.

Ire­land, who had also ended New Zealand’s run, won 13-9 at a rain­swept Lans­downe Road on Satur­day to deny Eng­land a 19th suc­ces­sive Test win and pre­vent them be­com­ing the first side in the Six Na­tions era to win backto-back Grand Slams.

Ir­ish lock Iain Hen­der­son scored the only try of the match, al­though Eng­land’s de­feat came after they had al­ready re­tained the Six Na­tions title.

The Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions travel to New Zealand for a three­Test series in June and July.

Eng­land, by con­trast, are not sched­uled to face the world cham­pi­ons un­til 2018, al­though re­ports this week sug­gested of­fi­cials were look­ing at re-ar­rang­ing the Twick­en­ham fix­ture calendar to set up a Nov 4 clash be­tween the in­ter­na­tional game’s two top-ranked teams.

“I ex­pect at least 15 of our guys to go on the Lions tour, I’d be dis­ap­pointed if we don’t have that many guys in,” said Jones after suf­fer­ing his first de­feat in 18 Tests as Eng­land coach.

“And I think they’ll have a mas­sive shout (of win­ning a first series in New Zealand since 1971).

“New Zealand, as Ire­land have shown, are there for the tak­ing,” the Aus­tralian added in a ref­er­ence to Ire­land’s 40-29 win in Chicago in Novem­ber that stopped the All Blacks’ run at 18 vic­to­ries in a row.

“I can can’t wait for us to play them ei­ther.

“We’re very keen to play them, I’ve had a dis­cus­sion with Ian (Ritchie, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of Eng­land’s Rugby Foot­ball Union) and we’re rar­ing to go.”

How­ever, with the Lions squad not an­nounced un­til April 19, Jones added: “There’s a lot of dis­cus­sions to go.”

Be­fore the match, Jones had sug­gested Ire­land might play a ‘kick and clap’ game.

Ire­land, un­der­stand­ably took is­sue with the im­pli­ca­tion they had a lim­ited ap­proach.

But in clas­sic ‘Ir­ish’ rain­swept con­di­tions, it was the hosts who pro­duced the su­pe­rior wet-weather rugby.

“Ire­land played su­perbly and they were too good for us on the day,” said Jones.

“We’re all hu­man be­ings, we’re not per­fect, and that’s why world records fin­ish at 18 games be­cause it’s hard to keep go­ing. “They used the con­di­tions su­perbly, we prob­a­bly didn’t.” AFP


Ire­land’s Iain Hen­der­son (right) is tack­led by Eng­land’s Owen Far­rell dur­ing their Six Na­tions match on Satur­day.

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