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Other SportsSix Nations 2024: England beat Ireland 23-22 as Marcus Smith drop-goal ends...

Six Nations 2024: England beat Ireland 23-22 as Marcus Smith drop-goal ends visitors’ Grand Slam hopes in Six Nations thriller

Marcus Smith’s drop-goal with the final kick of the game gave England victory over Ireland as the visitors’ Grand Slam hopes ended in extraordinary fashion in the Six Nations 2024 at Twickenham.

Ireland’s dreams of a second successive slam were ignited when James Lowe’s try put them 22-20 ahead seven minutes from time in a thriller.

But Smith kept his nerve to end Ireland’s 11-match winning run and bring England’s run of four successive defeats in the fixture to a halt.

Ireland will win the the Six Nations if they beat Scotland at home on Saturday – but a slip-up would give England hope of taking the title when they visit France later in the day.

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England produced their most memorable display of Steve Borthwick’s tenure as coach to deny Ireland the Six Nations crown at the last, and there was evidence of the drama to come in a pulsating start to the match.

Ollie Lawrence opened the scoring but four Jack Crowley penalties gave Ireland a 12-8 half-time lead to put them on course for glory.

Ireland’s confidence grew further when Lowe went over during the second half, only for George Furbank and Ben Earl tries to give England the advantage before a finale for the ages.

England vs Ireland: Earl ‘so pleased’ in Six Nations

“Apparently we are the worst England team ever,” Earl told ITV afterwards, addressing “some of the rubbish that has been thrown at this team in the past week”.

“We have done well for that accolade. We knew from the beginning that if we played our best game, we would have a chance. Everything came together today; we are very fortunate.

“We’ve been training like that every day. Sometimes it doesn’t translate onto the pitch. People don’t see half the stuff we do, but they can write what they want.

“I am just so pleased. That’s where we can take this team. Playing the best team in the world brings the best out of you. Credit to Ireland and credit to the fans.”

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