By Duncan Bech, PA England Rugby Correspondent
Ireland faced a tough day at Twickenham as England ignited their Autumn Nations Cup by overwhelming the side with a final score of 18-7.
Despite a promising start and strong finish, Andy Farrell’s team were unable to bridge the gap between the rivals, with the result being England’s fourth successive victory against the side.
England’s Jonny May ran in a wonder try to end his recent drought in spectacular style, crossing twice to move into joint second in the all-time red rose try scoring list with 31 touch downs, leaving only Rory Underwood ahead.
Always a tough battle against England. It wasn’t our day, but we’ve got two big games back in Dublin to finish our season ☘️
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) November 21, 2020
May was denied the man of the match award by Maro Itoje, who stood at the heart of a suffocating home display. After monotone wins against Italy in Rome that secured the 2020 Six Nations and Georgia last weekend, it was an afternoon to excite England fans and expose worrying Irish frailties.
Jones had questioned the legality of Ireland’s scrummaging in the build-up to the 137th minute clash between the rivals but the binding of prop Andrew Porter became irrelevant as the Ireland failed to reach the mark on two occasions.
Time and again England sent kickable penalties into touch or opted to run and in the 17th minute their ambition was rewarded when May outjumped full-back Hugo Keenan to grab Owen Farrell’s crossfield kick and touch down.
A dominant opening continued as turnover ball from Ireland’s misfiring line-out close to the line was turned into an unlikely attacking opportunity when the ball was threaded to May.
Starting from inside the 22, the Gloucester wing slipped between two Irish defenders and upon reaching the halfway line he kicked into space, winning the foot race to gather and score.
Cian Healy could make no impression on the wall of white shirts despite several brave carries and even when wing Keith Earls threatened the line, a turnover was forced and Ireland remained scoreless.
English dominance continued into the second-half and when Farrell rifled over two penalties, the lead grew to 18-0.
Ireland could make no impression on a ferocious defence that drove them backwards.
When they finally approached the whitewash they were denied by a brilliant steal from Itoje, who was a constant menace in the tight.
Ireland continued to press in the final quarter and when Billy Burns chipped into space, his fellow replacement Jacob Stockdale ran on to the ball to score under the posts, but the outcome had been decided long ago.