Sexton savours Irish Six Nations title win

Sexton savours Irish Six Nations title win

Eddie Jones is ready to make changes in response to the slump his side have gone through, as they limply surrendered their NatWest 6 Nations title to Ireland. The French contest hard at the breakdown and the Pro14 sides contest hard at the breakdown, so they get used to playing that sort of game. In them eight tests, Stockdale has ten tries and is scoring at an unprecedented rate.

However, the number 10 was included in the starting XV and as ever played a key role in Ireland's win. Johnny Sexton, who had shown some signs of frustration earlier in the game, remonstrating with both Rob Kearney and Conor Murray at various times during the opening quarter of the game, added the extra points with a successful conversion to Stockdale's try.

Their finishing let them down horribly in a fizzing first-half however, with a woeful final pass from Huw Jones denying Stuart Hogg a cakewalk home.

England surrendered the crown they have held for the past two years with a second successive defeat, a fortnight after falling to Scotland.

Ireland now seems to have the ability to turn games around directly prior to half time as they did against Wales a fortnight ago at the same venue.

Take Jacob Stockdale's second try just before half-time against the Scots.

Ireland couldn't catch a break but when Garry Ringrose returned after an injury layoff he was excellent.

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Saturday's reverse in Paris came immediately after England's 25-13 defeat by Scotland and meant they had lost back-to-back matches under Jones for the first time since he took charge after the team's first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup. At 21-3, Ireland was cruising.

Murray and Sexton nearly combined to break through the middle of the Scottish defence and, as the interval approached, they began to scent the opportunity for a second try which would have them firmly in the driver's seat.

Armand and Haskell, as well as Kyle Sinckler, likewise fit the mould and may come into the side against Ireland after catching the eye off the bench in Paris.

Regardless of bonus points, Ireland would have been champions anyway with a round to spare. Unfortunately on this occasion, Sexton's effort went astray as it veered left and wide of the posts. I think at the start of the season if you'd said "You're going to win a championship without Josh, Sean, Jamie Heaslip, Rhys Ruddock, Robbie Henshaw, and then to lose Chris Farrell as well, and there are others on that list as well, it's great building forward into World Cups and before that as well, the championship next year, because we've built a bit of depth".

"Winning the championship is fantastic but if we were to lose next week I think it would take away somewhat from what we have achieved so far", added the 19-times capped worldwide.

"They dragged England down to their own level of drudgery. That's a big part of how we play now, we want keep it up tempo, keep fighting and put teams' fitness under pressure in the last minute".

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