Ireland's Six Nations win a "strange feeling"

With the Six Nations title decided a week early, has the introduction of bonus points diluted the excitement of the championship?

Ireland racked up a 28-8 bonus-point win over Scotland in Dublin to move within just one victory of their first Six Nations clean sweep since 2009.

But the English were sloppy, uninspired in attack, and dominated at the breakdown.

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

"Although he (Ford) has had his moments in friendlies and games when England get on top, he is struggling in games that really matter".

"We didn't learn quick enough, I'm not 100 per cent sure why".

Greig Laidlaw got first blood for Scotland early with a penalty, but was to be undone by two try's from Ulsterman Jacob Stockdale and conversions from Johnny Sexton gave Ireland a 14-3 half time lead.

Maxime Machenaud converted four penalties and replacement flyhalf Lionel Beauxis added another for the French, who were awarded a penalty try to break a 9-9 deadlock in the 49th minute.

Dan Leavy told reporters that James Ryan, or "The Big Cheese" as he goes by now, was blasting out a few tunes after the final whistle in Dublin and before the last blast in Paris as the players rightly celebrated a fine Six Nations win over Scotland.

"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. "It comes from pressure but unfortunately we weren't able to build that consistently". "On both occasions, we were there".

It was a penalty by Farrell that drew first blood only for holding on at the breakdown to force repeated intervention from referee Jaco Peyper.

France had another excellent chance soon after but Gael Fickou was stopped before the line after Remy Grosso broke the defense.

Woodward followed Jones and former captain Lawrence Dallaglio in criticising England's inability to maintain their discipline as they conceded 16 penalties to France, especially after making similar mistakes against Scotland.

Then England reduced the gap to 19-16 with a superb try.

Farrell's comments were echoed by Elliot Daly who made the assist for Jonny May's try.

Ulster winger Jacob Stockdale's two tries in the 28-8 triumph over the Scots took his tally to 10 in just eight worldwide games, a breakthrough which Ward says has given everyone who supports Ireland "a feelgood factor".

- France have now won three of their last four home matches against England.

Woodward, a free-running and try-scoring England centre in his playing days, was among those concerned by the lack of attacking threat - an issue for a team with ambitions of winning next year's World Cup in Japan - and, in particular, the form of fly-half George Ford.

"There's so much still to play for and we know how hard it is going to be against England".

There have been failings in his time in charge - the 2015 World Cup quarter-final defeat to Argentina must still hurt - but after Ireland yesterday confirmed their third Six Nations in five years under Schmidt, it's safe to say that he has a truly exceptional record.

  • Julie Sanders