Ireland dispatched 14-man England 29-16 in Dublin to claim their fourth Six Nations Grand Slam and second in five years. Dan Sheehan crossed twice, Robbie Henshaw and Rob Herring also crossed in a clash where Freddie Steward was sent off for a challenge on Hugo Keenan.

Jonny Sexton ended his Six Nations tour with a tournament-record 559 points, establishing Ireland as the world’s number one Test team heading into the World Cup in France.

England were able to atone for their record 53-10 defeat at home to France last weekend, but remain well behind the top of Test rugby.

Red Rose boss Borthwick praised counterpart Andy Farrell for taking Ireland to new heights, before urging England to catch up with their rivals in time for the World Cup.

“I had the privilege of coaching with Andy at the Lions in 2017, I was also coached by him at Saracens,” Borthwick said.

“You can see he’s an incredible coach, and it’s a team full of talent. They’re the best in the world and they’ve set the benchmark.

“And we found ourselves short where they were today. Now it’s our job to find a way to get close to them and be able to win games like that.”

Steward’s red card was overturned by referee Jack Pepper’s decision after the England team’s clash with Keanan, the Leicester star.

The steward apparently tried to minimize his contact by leaning back, only to be criticized by officials for being too straight into the collision.

Head coach Borthwick and captain Owen Farrell took precautions on the day off, but vice-captain Alice Gentz ​​highlighted England’s frustration.

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“I don’t want to get hit in the head and I certainly don’t want to elbow and shoulder anybody, but there was no malice in what Freddie did, no malice at all,” Genze said.

“He didn’t intend to hurt anybody, he actually tried to get out and didn’t hurt the bloke, so it was a complete and utter accident to me, and I don’t think he should have been punished like that.

England had a mountain to climb after Freddie Steward received a red card

/ PA

“But red is red and we just had to deal with it. The referee makes his decision, fair play. In a high-pressure game, the ref has to make a big call and he made one.

“You have to make a decision and if he doesn’t make that decision he’ll probably get hit by his superiors. There’s a lot of stuff going on at the moment about head trauma, so I get it to a certain extent. For me, it’s not a red but I’m not making excuses because I I think we have a chance to win.”

Sexton has won everything in rugby except the World Cup, and Ireland will be out to make history at the global tournament in France.

Head coach Farrell embraces the pressure of the Irish becoming the world’s top team like no other iteration of the national team that went before them.

And Sexton has already set his sights on the World Cup, still celebrating a Grand Slam victory. Ireland have never gone beyond the quarter-finals at a World Cup before, but Sexton and company have very high hopes for France.

“It’s a high point, but I hope it’s not the highest point,” Sexton said.

“These moments don’t happen often, this is the fourth time. We won a Grand Slam, that’s a pinch in itself. I said during the week that this is the stuff of dreams. Growing up means playing for Ireland.

“When I was growing up, I always wanted to be the captain of Ireland, and this fellow (Farrell) asked me to do it. It was probably one of the best days of my life when he did it, and this day is even better.

‘I said there in the dressing room, this is not the end. There’s still a lot left in this team. We’ve talked about the build-up to the World Cup, and it’s part of the journey.

“When England won the World Cup in 2003, the same year they won the Grand Slam, so we have to put our feet on the ground first and keep building.”


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