Losing at Twickenham is starting to feel quite familiar for this Ireland team.
Overall, it was a bit of an odd match, as Ireland dominated possession and territory yet only managed to score for the first time after 74 minutes.
There are more positives to take from this loss than their last two outings at Twickenham but the fact remains that Ireland were comfortably beaten by England yet again.
Always a tough battle against England. It wasn’t our day, but we’ve got two big games back in Dublin to finish our season ☘️
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) November 21, 2020
Below are the main reasons why Ireland came up short against a phenomenal English defensive effort.
Despite only scoring once, Andy Farrell’s men had plenty of scoring opportunities but failed to convert time and time again, often due to the malfunctioning lineout.
Ronan Kelleher struggled with throwing all afternoon but credit also has to go Maro Itoje and Joe Launchbury for stealing Irish ball off the back of a few rare decent Irish throws.
The lineout improved significantly when Rob Herring was introduced but only after a number of costly mistakes at the set piece.
Kelleher has a bright future ahead of him and deserves to be in the Irish squad but will need to improve on his throwing if he wants to become a staple of the side.
English breakdown dominance
England were simply brilliant at the break down, there’s no two ways about it.
Sam Underhill, Tom Curry, Maro Itoje and Ben Earl caused mayhem in the ruck, pilfering Irish ball countless times at absolutely crucial times.
While anyone would struggle to deal with the English jackalers, Ireland gave them too much time and just didn’t show enough aggression in the maul.
The new rules at the breakdown has made it easier for defenders but Ireland still conceded far too many turnovers to except to win a test match.
Failing to deal with English aggression and defensive speed
England’s defence was absolutely ferocious and defence coach John Mitchell deserves plenty of praise for creating a system capable of smothering the life out of teams.
When Ireland kept it among the forwards, they were driven back in the tackle countless times and were just physically bullied all day.
When the ball went out to the backs, the English defence would rush up and catch them well behind the gainline and force the retreating side to kick.
Normally the team that makes more tackles loses but that certainly wasn’t the case today with a tireless English effort battering Irish bodies all day.
Ireland are nowhere near clinical enough
The men in green don’t have any issue with creating scoring opportunities, but they sure do have an issue with turning them into points.
Even when the lineout worked, Ireland looked bereft of ideas when they found themselves in the opposition 22, and rarely did anything unpredictable.
Farrell’s side had the same issue last weekend but weren’t punished by the currently hapless Welsh side.
However, missing numerous scoring opportunities just doesn’t work against the top sides and that was abundantly clear for all to see today.