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Stopping Ireland no motivation for 'critical' England

12 March 2018

Sexton said it was a unusual feeling to have already sealed the title with the England game still to come.

After falling to Scotland at Murrayfield, England started at Stade de France knowing Ireland would be crowned champion unless it could beat the French with a four-tries bonus point.

"We're on the losing chair but you shouldn't get carried away or be too melodramatic about the way we are".

"Our basic skills were pretty good in a number of areas, our tackling was outstanding and our contact work when we had the ball was outstanding".

But take players of the quality of Paul O'Connell, Johnny Sexton, Sean O'Brien, Jared Payne and Peter O'Mahony out of any team and they will be rocked. Early in the game he did really well contesting the high ball, he nearly got away to create that score at one stage.

England winger Jonny May crossed for a consolation try after a lovely lay-off by Daly, Farrell converting, in a glimpse of what England had gone into the game needing to produce over the full 80 minutes.

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"You're going to identify that you're going to go after a pivotal player in the team", O'Driscoll said, speaking at the Laureus 2018 World Sports Awards.

But a Grand Slam beckons next weekend at Twickenham, and Sexton believes the tournament won't be complete for the Irish unless they pull off only their third sweep ever.

And previous year, Jones causes a stir when he said Johnny Sexton's parents should be concerned over his apparent concussion issues.

Just weeks ago it was completely socially acceptable to hold the opinion that England wouldn't be able to lose to the All Blacks, but Jones has showed that they could very easily lose such a match, even by a handsome score.

"I'd be lying if I said [the Slam wasn't the goal]", Sexton said after the France result came through and confirmed Ireland as winners. That is clear. Ireland have been head and shoulders above the other five nations in this campaign. "On both occasions, we were there".

With AP Photos.The Grand Slam is on for Ireland on St. Patrick's Day. Has the introduction of bonus points for scoring four tries or finishing within seven points diluted the excitement of the championship?

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"We knew that the physical challenge would be key".

This is now uncharted territory for Jones' side, given they had lost just one Test during his tenure heading into this championship.

Scotland had their chances but weren't as accurate, and butchered at least two tries.

Ireland were scrappy, with misfiring passes and dysfunctional line-out's only part of the difficulty they experienced against a Scottish side who weren't afraid to have a go.

"It's going to be a big game for us now", said Ireland captain Rory Best. England were too busy fighting to stay in the game against France to worry about their shot at the title and they found it hard enough to score one try, let alone four.

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Stopping Ireland no motivation for 'critical' England