England’s Itoje to miss matches against France and Wales

Adjust Comment Print

On the back of 10 successive wins Wales will take heart from their display in Paris while believing in themselves as there is little doubt they have the skills and mental and physical capabilities to withstand the enormity of the challenge. England may have missed 28 tackles to Ireland's 13, but the ones they did make they conclusively won: they registered 48 dominant tackles - those which stop the opponent getting over the gain-line - to Ireland's eight.

"He's a brilliant player and he's a world-class player", England scrum-half Danny Care, who missed out on selection for Eddie Jones' squad, told Rugby Union Weekly.

Perhaps the most surprising element to England's win in Dublin was their superiority over Ireland physically.

More news: Hakeem al-Araibi: FFA pledges money in bid for footballer's return

There is a change in the top three in World Rugby's Rankings after the first round of Six Nations 2019.

England ran away with the game late on but if Ireland had come back to win they would have been disappointed at Jerome Garces' decision to disallow Mako Vunipola's try on the stroke of half-time.

Not much, most would say, but the way Jones' side dismantled Ireland - World Rugby's team of the year in 2018 - offers some encouragement.

More news: Mickelson hits every fairway for first time in two decades

Schmidt admitted Ireland were outmuscled in the same way as during their last home defeat, the 21-9 loss to New Zealand in November 2016. "I don't know, I suppose it worked for them anyway".

"It's something that happened to us two years ago against the All Blacks - we got bullied here". We were a bit off, probably physically, we didn't front up enough and lost the collisions.

The irony was that such a ploy has become a signature of Ireland, with star wing Jacob Stockdale the main proponent. "We are nowhere near our best". "I hope he's back as soon as possible but there will be other players who can step up to the plate".

More news: Durant, Curry drafted first, second in All-Star draft

But Jones had a warning for anyone seeking to write off Ireland prematurely. They're well coached, well drilled. "I was going to go for the intercept but Farrell's pass is one of the best in the game and it beat me".