England 18-7 Ireland: Jonny May stars in emphatic and entertaining victory for hosts

Wing Jonny May scored a superb solo try as England claimed an emphatic and entertaining Autumn Nations Cup victory against Ireland at Twickenham.

May crossed twice as the hosts dominated the first half and the second try, covering most of the pitch as he chased his kick, was one of his finest.

The hosts retained control after the break with two Owen Farrell penalties.

Unwilling to let May take all the plaudits, Jacob Stockdale chased a kick to give Ireland their only try.

England are now top of their group and in pole position to compete for the title on finals weekend.

Eddie Jones’ side travel to Wales for their final group game next Saturday, while Ireland host Georgia on the Sunday.

Italy, Scotland, Fiji and France feature in Group B, but Fiji have been unable to complete any of their matches because of a coronavirus outbreak in the team.

The winners of each of the two groups will face each other on 5 or 6 December to decide an overall champion.

England’s backs light up Twickenham

England head coach Jones made sure to stress before the match that his side were facing their toughest challenge since the return of international rugby in October.

With England’s past two Tests coming against Georgia and Italy, it was not as controversial a statement as those that would come later in the week.

Jones jokingly referred to Ireland as the “United Nations”, referencing the five southern hemisphere-born players in their starting line-up, and questioned prop Andrew Porter’s scrummaging technique.

Ireland did not look as fired up by the opposition coach’s comments as they might have been and were overshadowed by England’s electric backs.

Hooker Jamie George had claimed a hat-trick from mauls in their 40-0 win against Georgia, but England’s attacking intentions this week were clear as Ben Youngs took a quick penalty from a position that could have seen Farrell claim an easy three points.

The captain got his reward shortly after as his cross-field kick fell for May, who leaped into the south-west London sky to beat Hugo Keenan and cross in the right corner.

It was the wing’s 30th England try but his crowning moment came minutes later with a score that is sure to make Twickenham highlights reels for years to come.

May danced around Irish defenders on his own 22 then chased his own kick, beating Ireland scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park, and another tap with his foot allowed him to cover the final 10 metres and score.

His 31st try took him one ahead of Jeremy Guscott’s total and level with 2003 World Cup winners Ben Cohen and Will Greenwood – only England men’s record try-scorer Rory Underwood on 49 remains ahead of him.

Jacob Stockdale scores
Jacob Stockdale scored Ireland’s only try

Farrell extends lead as Ireland concede penalties

The match had been billed as a physical battle, with Ireland captain James Ryan and England star Maro Itoje at its centre.

That physical element was clear as Ireland lock Quinn Roux made the first significant move after the break, pulling England flanker Tom Curry to the floor by his neck.

Ryan was caught off his feet at the breakdown and Farrell made no mistake from the tee again, putting England 18 points ahead.

Ireland’s forwards continued to fight but eventually handed the baton over to the backs as fly-half Ross Byrne kicked forward for centre Chris Farrell, who was held up by Henry Slade over the tryline.

The game began to lose momentum until replacement fly-half Billy Burns breathed some life into it before the death.

The number 10 chipped a ball over the top and Stockdale burst forward, beating Max Malins to claim it and become the first player to score against England in the Autumn Nations Cup.

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England 18-7 Ireland: Jonny May stars in emphatic and entertaining victory for hosts

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