Ireland captain Johnny Sexton says his team’s 32-18 triumph over England needs to be the standard moving forward as he targets “more consistency” in future results.
In perhaps Andy Farrell’s finest triumph since taking over the reins from Joe Schmidt in 2019, Ireland were dominant up front against England’s pack.
First-half tries from veteran Keith Earls and No.8 Jack Conan, along with six Johnny Sexton penalties, helped seal the win for Farrell’s side to end a four-match losing streak against England.
It was the first time since 1976 that England were defeated by Scotland, Wales and Ireland in the same Championship.
Reflecting on the result, Sexton said it was the performance they were after throughout the Guinness Six Nations.
“It was brilliant,” said the 35-year-old fly-half. “It felt like we weren’t far away from that sort of performance through the Championship.
“We clicked today. That was the performance we wanted to produce all along – and it was against one of the best sides in the world.
“We have massive respect for their players and coaches so this is the standard we have to set now and we now need to become more consistent.
“England are a very physical team and we stood up to them really well. The forwards did really well with their hands on the ball.
“We turned them well and the backs were superb with the ball in the air. Lots of things pleased me today.”
Bundee Aki’s red card in the 64th minute had threatened a tricky conclusion for the hosts, with Ben Youngs and Jonny May scoring late on but Ireland’s advantage was too much and they hung on for the victory.
Despite the commanding win at the Aviva Stadium, Sexton admitted there are areas of Ireland’s game where improvement is required.
“When we went down to 13 men, we felt we should have stopped the last try – it was a missed tackle.
“We showed great guts throughout the competition, sometimes when you don’t take your chance your performance is made out to be worse than they are.
“Our discipline is still an issue at times. In all of these games it has been small margins and both of us could have been going for a Championship today so we know to improve we need to make up those margins.”