Six Nations: England stay on course for Grand Slam after beating Ireland

Last Updated: 10/02/13 8:18pm

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Ireland's Sean O'Brien is tackled by Chris Robshaw and Dan Cole

Ireland's Sean O'Brien is tackled by Chris Robshaw and Dan Cole

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England won for the first time in Dublin in the Six Nations since 2003, beating Ireland 12-6 in a dour contest at the Aviva Stadium.

Neither side seriously threatened to score a try in the 80 minutes, four penalties from Owen Farrell against two from Ronan O'Gara keeping England as the only unbeaten side after two rounds of the championship.

Ireland had the better of possession and territory in the unceasing rain, but came up with far too many errors - particularly in the first half - to take advantage

England's early probing earned a penalty as Ireland failed to roll away from a ruck and Farrell punished the infringement.

Gordon D'arcy almost burst through on the England 22 but knocked on under pressure, one of seven Irish handling errors in the opening 24 minutes.

Farrell was lucky to get away with a cynical tug back and Cian Healy likewise with a stamp, before Jamie Heaslip was caught offside and Farrell kicked a penalty from almost 50 metres.

O'Gara came on for the injured Jonathan Sexton just past the half hour and was almost immediately caught in possession, although this time Farrell missed another long-range kick.

Trailing 6-0 at the half, Ireland improved after the break and quickly had England on the back foot, their reward two penalties from O'Gara.

But Ireland could not take advantage of James Haskell's sin-binning for not rolling away and kicking at the ball in a ruck.

In fact Farrell kicked the six match-winning points in Haskell's absence, after Mauni Tuliagi came closest to scoring a try as the bounce of the ball took Ben Youngs' grubber kick away from his grasp.

There were nerves aplenty in the closing stages and even the normally ice-cool O'Gara and Farrell both missed penalties, but Ireland never even got the ball into England's half in the final five minutes to threaten the try which they now needed.

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