Sun. Mar 26th, 2023

England coach ‘really optimistic’ about Maro recovering ahead of Six Nations match against Ireland

Follow live coverage as England meet Ireland in a crunch Six Nations clash at Twickenham today.

Both sides meet knowing it is win or go home with the victors on Saturday going on into the final weekend with a chance of claiming the 2022 title.

England stand at a critical juncture – victory would place them on a title collision course with Grand Slam-chasing France, but defeat would revive memories of last year’s fifth-placed finish and usher in another failed campaign. Sam Simmonds starts in place of Alex Dombrandt at No 8 while Joe Marchant is preferred ahead of Elliot Daly at outside centre. Maro Itoje’s fitness was a concern, with the influential second row missing Friday’s captain’s run with illness, but he recovered in time to be passed fit to play.

Andy Farrell’s men were edged 30-24 by France in round two, but could still claim the title with wins this week and next and welcome back captain Johnny Sexton at fly-half to help them do it. Prop Cian Healy makes his first start of this year’s tournament while Hugo Keenan, Andrew Conway, Bundee Aki and James Ryan also return.

Follow all the latest updates and analysis from Twickenham:


England 12-15 Ireland, 58 minutes

Reset. That just quietens the crowd a touch, but England will again fancy their chances at the scrum.

Harry Latham-Coyle12 March 2022 18:09


England 12-15 Ireland, 57 minutes

More roaring from the home fans, who are loud! Marcus Smith sends one for the heavens and Hugo Keenan loses control of the ball as Freddie Steward takes him just beneath the shoulders. England scrum, 25 metres out, just right of centre.

Harry Latham-Coyle12 March 2022 18:08


England 12-15 Ireland, 56 minutes

Another penalty against Ireland at the lineout – that’s 13 against the visitors now, I think. Will Mathieu Raynal begin to lose patience?

Harry Latham-Coyle12 March 2022 18:07


England 12-15 Ireland, 54 minutes

What noise! England win the ball back on the left touchline in the air and then Maro Itoje stomps after a box kick from Ben Youngs, demolishing Johnny Sexton.

England don’t quite make it count, and concede a penalty soon after, with Caelan Doris doing excellent work at a breakdown. But Twickenham is properly up for this contest.

Harry Latham-Coyle12 March 2022 18:06


PENALTY! ENGLAND 12-15 Ireland (Marcus Smith penalty, 53 minutes)

The flamethrowers blow their assent – it’s true from Marcus Smith.

Harry Latham-Coyle12 March 2022 18:04


England 9-15 Ireland, 51 minutes

Penalty to England, and Twickenham roars! Jamie George punches the air as if he’s scored as Freddie Stewards firm hit and Joe Marchant’s jackal draws England a holding on penalty. Marcus Smith will have another go at the posts, but not before Ben Youngs replaces Harry Randall.

Harry Latham-Coyle12 March 2022 18:03


England 9-15 Ireland, 50 minutes

England remain in the ascendancy at scrum time. On this occasion, Cian Healy is picked out for the infringement. The English front row has been properly dominant so far.

Harry Latham-Coyle12 March 2022 18:02


England 9-15 Ireland, 49 minutes

More unsteadiness at the set-piece, and Ellis Genge and Tadhg Furlong are called into the headmaster’s office for a talking to. Mathieu Raynal tells the props what he wants. Back down they will pack.

Harry Latham-Coyle12 March 2022 18:00


England 9-15 Ireland, 48 minutes

Another chance gone for Ireland. A lineout free kick is, as is the order of the day, quick tapped and Tadhg Furlong is soon rumbling into space from the second phase, but his offload in the vague direction of a supporting Bundee Aki travels forward as Furlong is up-ended. England scrum.

Harry Latham-Coyle12 March 2022 17:59


England 9-15 Ireland, 47 minutes

A 50:22! That is quite something from Andrew Conway, who produces a wry smile – I’m not quite sure that was entirely deliberate.

His kick along the right touchline would have been excellent regardless, but a friendly right-ward hop sends it over the touchline before Freddie Steward can hustle across and it will be Irish lineout ball inside the England 22.

Harry Latham-Coyle12 March 2022 17:58

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