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France win over United Kingdom hands Ireland title

12 Mars 2018

Kinsella said winning the Grand Slam "would sear Schmidt into the Irish sporting consciousness forever, if he has not already left an imprint".

It was the Tricolors' first win over England in four years in the championship, and a welcome respite.

France's victory in Paris saw England suffer back-to-back defeats for the first time under Eddie Jones while Italy's losing streak continued with a defeat by a much-changed Wales.

Ireland, who will move above England to No 2 when the world rankings are updated on Monday, are chasing what would be only the third clean sweep in their history.

"Up to this point I think beating Australia in the World Cup in 2011 is our greatest victory because of the context of that match but if we could beat England at Twickenham that would provide the most incredible springboard going forward to the 2019 World Cup". "We knew that the physical challenge would be key. They haven't lost at Twickenham under Eddie Jones".

Speaking about what it means to the current crop of players to be crowned champions, Schmidt said: "From a wider squad perspective, it is particularly satisfying".

Scotland had their chances but weren't as accurate, and butchered at least two tries. "We came close against Ireland, and this time, things turned out well for us".

Scrumhalf Conor Murray wriggled over early in the second half to widen Ireland's advantage, but it was replacement Sean Cronin's try in the 68th minute that drew the biggest cheers as it secured the bonus point. However, the throw-in wasn't caught.

"If you don't have power, it's very hard to get momentum".

Sexton's conversion opened up a 7-3 lead after 24 minutes but Scotland should have been back in front soon after when Huw Jones fluffed his lines by misplacing a pass to Stuart Hogg with the full-back virtually guaranteed to touch down if the delivery was better. And if England's best creative backs are Elliot Daly, Henry Slade and Jack Nowell, where do they fit in?

Stockdale had Garry Ringrose to thank for his second effort, the Leinster midfielder's brilliant wraparound play with fellow centre Bundee Aki sending Stockdale waltzing over in the corner.

Ireland went all out for the fourth try. "At times we did hit some good holes and we got some good momentum and I thought we looked good, particularly at the end of the game".

"I know there's a lot of hype around it, and there will be more, there'll be a lot of distraction that you'll have to deal with and put to the side, and we're good at focusing on what we need to do, and what we need to get better at from last week".

The frustration of it all was etched on the faces of Gregor Townsend and John Barclay, Scotland's coach and captain respectively. "We are a rugby team and no rugby team has an aura of invincibility about them".

"We didn't learn quick enough, I'm not 100 per cent sure why".

France win over United Kingdom hands Ireland title