'Special' Ireland down England to seal St Patrick's Day Grand Slam


The planned homecoming celebrations for the Grand Slam-winning Irish team have been cancelled because of bad weather.

Significantly, a host of English players were in the Lions' squad in New Zealand a year ago and former England coach Woodward believes that damaged their hopes of retaining the Six Nations crown.

"The imperious manner of Ireland's Six Nations Grand Slam triumph should be enough to convince New Zealand Rugby that Steve Hansen's replacement is domiciled in Dublin".

"It always is in these moments because you are willing it so much and that the players deliver what they are capable of".

Writing for New Zealand website, Stuff.co.nz, Tony Smith said that Schmidt should be the man who succeeds Hansen as New Zealand head coach.

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"They are growing and getting better and understanding more but there is still a long way to go for those players".

THERE WAS A sense coming into Ireland's Grand Slam shot against England that Jordan Larmour, the 20-year-old Joe Schmidt picked on his bench, was going to have an influential part to play. "Then there was the exceptional talent of Jonny to finish it off", he said.

During the course of the competition, England have slipped behind Ireland to third in the world rankings.

Jones is tied to England, who finished fifth in this year's Six Nations, until 2021 after signing a two-year extension in January that is subject to a break clause dependent on performance at the global showpiece. At the start of the season I was just hoping to play with Leinster A and maybe get a few caps with the Leinster senior team.

"Jordan Larmour hadn't trained at 13 at all, but we were going to put Joey Carbery at 10 so we knew we couldn't put him at 13", said Schmidt.

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"To show the steel and commitment that they did when we went behind to France eight minutes from time in Paris (the first match) was outstanding and rounded off with the exceptional talent Johnny (Sexton) has of putting the ball between the uprights".

Devin Toner and some of his Grand Slam colleagues.

Saturday's action started with Scotland's last-gasp 29-27 win over Italy in Rome that condemned the hosts to a 17th straight defeat and saw Azzurri captain Sergio Parisse suffer his 100th Test loss.

"I'm destroyed for the lads and the fans but we've seen our future", said Italy coach Conor O\Shea. I thought our players really stuck at it but we gave them too big a lead.

'We learnt a lot about the team in this championship and how we need to develop our game, which is important. "It's not often that happens in the Six Nations".

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