Ireland coach Andy Farrell recognized that England “deserved to win with the pressure they put on” on Saturday at Twickenham, where the Clover XV was stopped (23-22) in its race towards the Grand Slam.

Ireland lost for the first time since being eliminated in the quarter-finals of the 2023 World Cup by New Zealand, and for the second time since a defeat in July 2022 also against the All Blacks.

“Today was obviously one of those games we wanted to win, but that’s life,” Farrell continued. “I think they played really well, so we have to start from scratch tomorrow and make sure we show up with a smile because we have a championship to win next weekend.” The dream of a second Grand Slam in a row was shattered in London but Ireland remains in pole position to retain its title in the Tournament before the final day, in a week, against Scotland in Dublin.

“We said from the start that we wanted to be in contention to win the competition on the final day, and here we are. The guys are realistic, they will learn lessons quickly,” added the English coach of Ireland.

“It was a pressure match, a pressure environment. (England) are a quality team and I think they showed that tonight with the way they defended, with their clinical attack and disrupting a lot of things that we wanted to do,” commented the captain Irish Peter O’Mahony.