Ireland have finished their 2021 Six Nations campaign with an impressive 32-18 victory over England at the Aviva Stadium.
Captain Johnny Sexton led the way with 22 kicked points, with Keith Earls and Jack Conan scoring a try apiece for Andy Farrell’s much improved side.
Bundee Aki was sent off for a high tackle on Billy Vunipola in the 63rd minute, and despite subsequent English tries from Ben Youngs and Jonny May, Ireland were comfortable winners in Dublin.
It was England who took an early lead, with Owen Farrell scoring a penalty in the ninth minute after a needless Ireland infringement during a lineout.
Sexton responded with a penalty of his own in the 18th minute after good work from man of the match Robbie Henshaw.
Four minutes later, Ireland carved through the English defence to score an excellent try.
Rob Herring’s deep lineout was cleverly knocked down to Earls by Conan, and Earls showed electric pace and quick feet to sprint at the English defence and evade the desperate tackles of the back-pedalling English defenders.
Sexton converted to extend Ireland’s lead to 10-3.
Farrell and Sexton then traded penalties before Conan plundered Ireland’s second try in the 36th minute, powering over the line after a number of phases and a strong carry from Sexton.
Sexton split the posts with his conversion to ensure Ireland went into the interval with a 20-6 lead over Eddie Jones’ visitors.
The Ireland captain added two further penalties after the restart, before Aki was correctly sent off for the aforementioned high tackle on Vunipola.
England capitalised on their numerical advantage instantly, with Youngs ghosting in down the right wing for the away side’s first try after Jamie George’s quick layoff.
Two more penalties from Sexton kept Ireland firmly in the driving seat, before Conor Murray was sent to the sin bin in the 77th minute.
May’s try a minute later, which was converted by Elliot Daly, was a mere consolation for England.
A good end to a difficult campaign, and a winning farewell for CJ Stander on his last international appearance.
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