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12 March 2018, 05:31 | Silvia Roy
Record-breaking Ireland set up an all-out assault on the Six Nations Grand Slam by claiming a 28-8 bonus-point win over Scotland in Dublin.
It was England's second defeat in a row after they lost to Scotland in the previous round of matches and only their third in 27 matches under coach Eddie Jones.
Should they complete the bonus point win, they would also need to prevent Ireland from scoring either a losing bonus point for finishing within seven points of England, or from collecting a try-scoring bonus point for themselves picking up four tries.
Which means that the Grand Slam is within grasp, as Ireland take on England at Twickenham Stadium in London on Saturday 17 March, kicking off 2.45pm. The players have worked hard to get a medal for Josh, the players have worked hard to get a medal for Robbie (Henshaw) and for Chris (Farrell). But this weekend, nine years on from the last day of glory, the current squad have two men (Rob Kearney and Rory Best) bidding to earn the distinction of being the onlyIrish internationals in history with two Grand Slams.
Helping Ireland slip into that business-like mode was the uncertainty that came hand-in-and with playing the opening match of the weekend.
"We know how tough it is over there, we know all the things that'll be coming into this game". "We'll have to look at how we can be more clinical".
Armand won his only cap as a replacement during last summer's tour to Argentina but then fell out favour with Jones, who was uncertain over his suitability for Test rugby and has faced repeated calls for his inclusion ever since. "When you think of an Irish team doing that in South Africa, they've developed great depth". "We controlled the ball and that upset them because they're not used to it".
If you go through the replay footage of the game you can see how many times England get this wrong, how many times players are too late to identify the role they should be playing in or around the breakdown; how many times individual players are left to try to do nearly impossible clearing jobs in isolation. "So I don't see any cycle", Jones said.
"Every team is fallible and every team has a weakness and certain strengths and, at the moment, teams are outplaying us in certain areas of the game and we have to learn from it". It was a bit of a weird feeling on Saturday, watching the England game and knowing we had effectively won it, and just by people's reactions... obviously we said "well done" to each other! "It's going to take us some time, it's not going to come quickly".
"We're in the loser's chair and it's not a happy place, but I don't think we should get too melodramatic about it".
"Declan Kidney said I was just as much a part of it as everyone else in 2009 when I was on the bibs".
"We are three or four years behind Ireland in terms of what they've done and achieved over the last few years", Scotland coach Gregor Townsend said.
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