"Luck of the Irish" History of 'Paddy's Day' Clashes Between Ireland and England - Ruck

“Luck of the Irish” History of ‘Paddy’s Day’ Clashes Between Ireland and England

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to our Irish readers! In the spirit of the celebration, us here at RUCK have decided to look back on famous Ireland vs England matches that took place over the holiday weekend.

Ireland fan during the six Nations Championship match, between England and Ireland at Twickenham Stadium, London , UK, on the 17th March 2017. (Photo:Dean Lancaster/PPAUK)

Steve Borthwick’s men travel to Dublin this weekend, but they won’t be enjoying pints of Guinness or signing to trad music. England head to the Aviva Stadium with the aims to ruin Paddy’s Day for Ireland fans, and stop Andy Farrell’s side from claiming their first Six Nations Grand Slam since 2018.

The 2023 Six Nations title is still all to play for, as France do still have the chance to snatch the trophy from Ireland in the last weekend of action. If France beat Wales by a margin of 20 points or more, and England manage to overcome the odds and beat Ireland, then Les Bleus will retain their Six Nations crown for a second consecutive year.

Owen Farrell, Captain of England leads his side in the national anthem during the Autumn Nations International Series match between England and South Africa at Twickenham, London on 26 November 2022 (Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK)

Ireland are the sure-fire favourites heading into the match, as the number one ranked team in the world have been playing up to their title. Impressive performances, with shut-out victories against the other competitors, Ireland look ready to celebrate Paddy’s Day in style. Here are the last five St Patrick’s Weekend meetings between Ireland and England, with Ireland having been recently dominant in matches landing on their Patron Saint celebrations.

1 . Ireland 32 – 18 England : 2021 Six Nations

Ireland put in what many considered to be the best performance of the new Andy Farrell era, as they dispatched England in an empty Aviva Stadium. Covid-19 restrictions meant that the match had to take place behind closed doors, which only benefited the Evergreen Johnny Sexton, who kicked Ireland 24 points from the tee. The Leinster captain led by the boot, as England’s ill-disciple saw them give away six kickable penalties.

This was Ireland’s first win over England in five matches, as previous meetings saw England success in previous Six Nations encounters, the Autumn Nations Cup and a 2019 Rugby World Cup warm-up match. The luck of the Irish certainly shone through on Paddy’s Day in 2021, recording an important win over their old enemy.

The Irish captain successfully converted Keith Earls’ and Jack Conan’s first half tries, and kept the scoreboard ticking over in the second 40 minutes. Sexton shone under the watchful eye of British and Irish Lions Head Coach Warren Gatland, with Ireland’s talisman competing against his opposite man Owen Farrell to lead the Lions in South Africa in the number 10 jersey.

The latest meeting between the two sides was a methodically paced match, with both sides looking to capitalise on the other’s rising penalty count. Ireland were far more consistent throughout, with the Aviva Stadium bouncing everytime Sexton slotted a kick between the posts. Consolation tries for Ben Youngs and Jonny May gave England a respectable score, yet they could not quite recover from an early first half deficit.

2. England 15 – 24 Ireland: 2018 Six Nations

A white, snow covered Twickenham Stadium was painted green, as Ireland secured their Grand Slam on Paddy’s Day 2018. This was Ireland’s first clean sweep of the Six Nations since 2009, and they did so in impressive fashion. Three was the magic number for Ireland, as a trio of first half tries secured their third ever Grand Slam.

Garry Ringrose, CJ Stander and Jackob Stockdale all contributed early Ireland tries, as the visitors established a healthy lead inside the first 40 minutes. Prior to this match, England had established Twickenham to it’s former status as ‘The Fortress’, with 14 consecutive victories at ‘HQ’. Yet Joe Schmidt’s Ireland had the tools to tear down the fortress walls, and ran amuck of England, who had struggled throughout the 2018 Six Nations.

England responded with try through Elliot Daley, with Owen Farrell finding the full back with a neatly placed grubber kick. Farrell’s following conversion was less sweet, and he sliced the effort at the posts. At one stage, Ireland built a healthy lead to 24-5, as ‘Fields of Athenry’ rang out through Twickenham Stadium. A second half fight back, heard the first chorus of ‘Swing low, sweet chariot’ break out, with Elliot Daley securing his brace, with a diving try in the corner.

Gloucester winger Jonny May added a try of his own, yet the fight back was too little, too late for England. Ireland had established healthy foundations, and sat back on their lead to see out victory in London. The Paddy’s Day party spilled out into the Twickenham high street, as the Guinness flowed for Ireland fans, who were not in a rush to call an end to the celebrations.

3. Ireland 13 – 9 England: 2017 Six Nations

In a reversal of this weekend’s match, it was Ireland who ruined England’s 2017 Grand Slam hopes, in a match for the rugby purists at the Aviva Stadium. Eddie Jones’ men arrived in Dublin with the need for one more win, to pull of back-to-back clean sweeps in the Six Nations. England were a side re-born under Eddie Jones, as the Australian arrived following the removal of Stuart Lancaster, after England’s awful run in the 2015 Rugby World Cup, on home soil none the less.

Jones arrived and breathed new life into a deflated England side, leading them to Grand Slam in 2016, England’s first since the World Champions of 2003 achieved the feat in run-up to World Cup glory. Ireland were too physically imposing for England in 2017, priding themselves on the power game and winning the collision battle in attack. England came away with the Six Nations title, yet the Paddy’s Day victory belonged to Ireland.

A first-half try from second row Iain Henderson, saw the Ulster player make the crucial yards to break the deadlock. Eight points from the boot of Johnny Sexton established a lead that England never caught up with. Owen Farrell kept England in the game with three well-taken penalties, yet the match was won up-front as the classic rugby analogy rang true; ‘the forwards win the match, the back’s decide by how much’.

4. England 30 – 9 Ireland: 2012 Six Nations

Irish fans felt that was world was coming to an end in 2012, and not because of the Ancient Mayan calendar that predicted the apocalypse. Eleven years ago, England embarrassed Ireland and undoubtedly ruined Paddy’s Day, with a one-sided landslide at Twickenham Stadium. The Six Nations title was all but decided, as Wales comfortably achieved the Grand Slam, in the golden Warren Gatland era.

Yet this St Patrick’s Day clash was to decide the second and third placed finishers in that years’ Championship, with Stuart Lancaster pleasing the fans in his first Six Nations as England Head Coach. Owen Farrell slotted eighteen points from the tee, bringing his shooting boots for six consecutive penalties. An illegally halted scrum awarded England a seven-point penalty try, after numerous re-sets on the Irish five metre line.

Ben Youngs came off the bench to secure the victory for England, as the replacement scrum half took full opportunity of the unaware Irish defence. A quick tap-and-go saw the Leicester Tigers scrum half wheeling away towards the Ireland try-line, to wrap up a monumental victory. The St Paddy’s Day celebrations continued, yet there was not a green shirt in sight. England fans rejoiced in chorus of ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’, with the Twickenham pubs throwing out their unsold Guinness and Jameson’s whiskies.

5. Ireland 24 – 8 England: 2011 Six Nations

The final day of the 2011 Six Nations saw Ireland once again squash the English hopes for a Grand Slam. However, Immediately after England’s defeat, fans watched TV screens in anticipation, as France beat Wales, and handed England the Six Nations title. Temple Bar was covered in Shamrocks and Red Roses, as both sets of fans celebrated success on Paddy’s Day 2011.

Ireland built a healthy first half lead, as the sides departed with the score reading 17-3. Three Johnny Sexton penalties stretched Ireland in front, with Tommy Bowe building on this with a fantastic try. A consolation penalty from Toby Flood gave England fans a small cheer, as they watched with baited breath in 2011’s decisive Six Nations match.

The second half saw records broken, as three time ‘Player of the Championship’ Brian O’Driscoll scored his 25th try in the competition’s history. Another Sexton conversion took the match out of sight for England, with their sole consolation coming from Steve Thompson’s late try. It was a heavy loss for Martin Johnson’s men, who were grateful to Les Bleus for winning them the Championship.