Head-on Collision Costs England Six Nations

England Rugby's competition hopes were dashed after a defeat against Ireland

Josh Watson
24th March 2022
Image: Twitter(@EnglandRugby)
From beginning to end, England’s game against Ireland was a roller-coaster ride. Both nations needed to win here to keep in the title battle for the six nations, but after things started off on the wrong foot for England, it was downhill all the way.

With just over a minute on the clock, Charlie Ewells takes a head-on collision with James Ryan, the Irish captain. It was an avoidable mistake, with no real effort being made to get around things or bring his head down. It was a clear red card, especially as head injuries are currently a big talking point in the rugby community. Now down to 14 men, England had an uphill battle for the rest of the afternoon.

It was a clear red card, especially as head injuries are currently a big talking point

Irelands' first two tries came in from James Lowe and Hugo Keenan in the first half, however they gave away many a penalty from a scrum to England – impressive given that England had to rely on a winger to make up their ranks in the scrum. Marcus Smiths' boot kept England in the game with three penalties converted to out of three for a 15 – 9 score at the break. After the break – England kept keeping it up with the penalty conversions, with Smith getting two more between the bars after the hour mark. Now all tied up, was it possible for England to save the game?

Well, when you’re a man down, everyone must make up for the extra man’s position. The defence is the first thing to fall when the men get tired and Ireland where the first to act. Jack Conan and Finlay Balham squashed the last resistance, driving England into a 15 – 32 defeat. With this England’s chance of victory went out of the window and Ireland now need England to win in their game against the French in Paris this weekend. With this game only being the third loss in the six nations in their past 26 six-nation games, it is not as unlikely as you think.   

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