Ireland has clinched their fourth Six Nations Grand Slam with a 29-16 victory over England in Dublin.
The win gives the side a big boost, underlining their status as the world’s top-ranked team ahead of September’s World Cup in France.
England got to within one point of an upset with just 20 minutes to go, despite playing with just 14 men for the entire second half.
But late tries from Robbie Henshaw, Rob Herring and a second for man-of-the-match Dan Sheehan made sure of Ireland’s 15th championship and fifth since 2009.
Ireland captain Johnny Sexton said afterwards: “You couldn’t make it up – it’s like living in a dream.
“We didn’t play our best but bloody hell – what a team.
“What a group of coaches.
“To come here and get a win on St Patrick’s weekend, it’s unbelievable – what a day.”
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England had been hoping to regain some pride after a record 53-10 defeat at the hands of France.
Captain Owen Farrell said on Saturday evening: “I thought we showed a tremendous amount of fight.
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“Obviously the game changed with the card [Freddie Steward was sent off on the stroke of half-time following an arm to the head of Hugo Keenan], but we still showed a huge amount of fight and stuck in it.
“We’ve built some foundations over the course of the Six Nations but clearly we want to be a better team.”
England finished the competition in fourth place, behind France in second and Scotland in third. Wales was fifth and it was another wooden spoon for Italy.
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