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England vs Ireland: Six memorable Twickenham clashes

19 February 2014

  • Relive six classic Anglo-Irish contests at Twickenham
  • England face in-form Ireland on Saturday, kick-off 4pm
Mike Catt

Photo: Getty Images

After two tough away assignments in Paris and Edinburgh, England return to Twickenham for their third match of the 2014 RBS 6 Nations.

Unbeaten Ireland are the opponents this weekend, and in his first Championship as head coach, Joe Schmidt will be looking to avenge last year’s result – a hard-fought 12-6 victory for Stuart Lancaster’s men at a sodden Aviva Stadium.

Since 1910, the two sides have met 45 times at headquarters, England prevailing 28 times to Ireland’s 13. Here are six memorable encounters from recent years.

England 12 Ireland 13, February 19, 1994

The hosts were overwhelming favourites to produce a fairly comfortable win over Gerry Murphy’s charges, who had lost their opening two fixtures and were without a victory at Twickenham for 12 years.

However, wing Simon Geoghegan shocked England with a fine, weaving first-half finish from 25 metres out. Though full back Jon Callard kicked four penalties, Will Carling and his team suffered their only loss of the tournament.

England 50 Ireland 18, February 5, 2000

Future Rugby World Cup 2003 winners Iain Balshaw, Ben Cohen and Mike Tindall made their Test debuts in this encounter – the latter pair celebrating with tries in a record-breaking thrashing.

In fact, Cohen grabbed a brace, while Austin Healey’s double and another from Neil Back – latching onto a trademark Matt Dawson snipe – completed the rout. Mick Galwey and Kevin Maggs replied in the second period, but Clive Woodward’s men were good value for the comprehensive result.

England 45 Ireland 11, February 16, 2002

Ronan O'Gara

Photo: Getty Images

Now settled as a side and intent on capturing the Webb Ellis trophy Down Under in 18 months’ time, England were inspired by their playmaker Jonny Wilkinson and – after going behind to an early David Humphreys penalty – tore Ireland apart.

Four first-half scores through Wilkinson, Ben Cohen, Will Greenwood and Austin Healey saw Clive Woodward’s outfit to a 31-6 lead at the break. Ben Kay crossed on 44 minutes to compound Irish misery, before Greenwood added a second. Ronan O’Gara’s late effort proved scant consolation.

England 13 Ireland 19, March 6, 2004

Girvan Dempsey’s try with half an hour remaining condemned England to a first home defeat since 1999, the Leinster full back finding himself on the end of a flowing move after Ireland capitalised on a slicing break by Brian O’Driscoll.

Matt Dawson had earlier crossed after the visitors could not control the ball at a defensive scrum, though Ronan O’Gara’s four penalties put the men in green in front at half-time. Despite having their lineout disrupted by Paul O’Connell and Malcolm O’Kelly, England almost scored a winner through Mark Regan, but the replacement was bundled into touch.

England 24 Ireland 28, March 18, 2006

A truly topsy-turvy encounter at Twickenham ended with England’s third consecutive defeat of the tournament, meaning they had to settle for fourth place despite recording thumping wins over Wales and Italy in their first two games.

Jamie Noon’s try in the second minute gave the home side a foothold, but a calamitous Ben Cohen error let Shane Horgan in for a prompt reply. Though Andy Goode’s boot and a Steve Borthwick score allowed England to regain the lead, Horgan struck again in the dying moments to capture the Triple Crown.

Ben Youngs celebrates

Photo: Getty Images

England 30 Ireland 9, March 17, 2012

Stuart Lancaster’s maiden Six Nations campaign ended on a very sweet note thanks to a truly destructive performance from England’s scrum. Alex Corbisiero and Dan Cole were to the fore and squeezed penalties out of referee Nigels Owens consistently.

In extremely greasy conditions, Owen Farrell kicked six of these. Another yielded a penalty try, while Ben Youngs darted over following a quick tap from another infringement at the death.