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REACTION: Ireland set piece in...
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REACTION: Ireland set piece in desperate need of improvement

Stephen Kisbey-Green
Stephen Kisbey-Green

17:55 21 Nov 2020

Ireland headed to England on Saturday for their second Autumn Nations Cup match, after their 32-9 victory over Wales a week earlier.

Without Conor Murray or Johnny Sexton in the starting lineup, Ireland looked to place their trust in the relatively untested pairing of Jamison Gibson-Park and Ross Byrne, both of whom had only started once previously.

Despite the international inexperience of the halfback pairing, it was up front where Ireland were under the most pressure for much of the first half.

Ireland lost three of their lineouts, two of which deep in the England half, and the ball that they did win at the lineout was scrappy and did not provide a good platform to attack from.

Ireland's only real chance in the first half came off the back of a powerful Keith Earls run, which was a near certain try if he was able to get his pass off inside.

It was not to be, however, as England were ultimately awarded the penalty for not releasing on the ground.

Apart from the one moment of brilliance from Earls, Ireland were criticised by many supporters for their apparent inability to adapt their attack more successfully.

With all of the possession, Ireland never really challenged England to make too many difficult tackles.

As the first half drew to a close, the overarching opinion of supporters was that, at 12-0 down to England in Twickenham, we had see this film before.

Ireland were all over England for most of the second half, building up a huge amount of pressure deep in the English half.

Despite having to make almost three times as many tackles as their visitors, England kept out the Irish, who looked uninspired on attack throughout the match.

In the final five minutes, the moment of inspiration came, with Jacob Stockdale and Billy Burns combining to get Ireland's first points of the game.

This would be the only moment of magic for the Irish, as there was simply too much to do in such a short time left on the clock.

The final play summed up Ireland's night, with a lost lineout in good position ultimately going England's way, before the ball went dead and England were victorious.

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Andrew Porter Autumn Nations Cup Bundee Aki CJ Stander Caelan Doris Chris Farrell Cian Healy England Hugo Keenan Ireland James Lowe James Ryan Jamison Gibson-park Keith Earls Peter O'Mahony Quinn Roux Ronan Kelleher Ross Byrne

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