Stopping Ireland no motivation for 'critical' England

Members of the squad lined up and charged into tackle bags as they prepare for England

Members of the squad lined up and charged into tackle bags as they prepare for England

Merci France, although in truth it was all Ireland's work really.

After falling to Scotland at Murrayfield, England started at Stade de France knowing Ireland would be crowned champion unless it could beat the French with a four-tries bonus point.

England's 22-16 loss to France in Paris handed Ireland the title with a week to spare - but now head coach Schmidt's men must end Eddie Jones' unbeaten Twickenham record to claim a first Grand Slam since 2009.

Ireland made its bonus-point intentions known after only four minutes, when flyhalf maestro Jonathan Sexton waived off a penalty goalkick to set up a lineout. It takes away that caveat, and leaves no room for bleating from any other quarter.

It is Ireland's third title in five years under Joe Schmidt but Johnny Sexton said celebrations were "muted". The players have worked hard to get a medal for Robbie and for Chris Farrell.

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The Scots will look back with frustration at a number of opportunities squandered, with poor passing in two-on-ones contributing heavily to a failure to cash in on what was, in many areas, a competitive display from the visitors.

We'll be giddily discussing how they can get the job done once again in a live Six Nations Show at the East Side Tavern on Leeson Street, Dublin on Thursday evening.

Paris - England hooker Jamie George said his team will be motivated to fix their own problems rather than stop Ireland winning the Grand Slam next weekend. With an bad record away from home, the Scots' own championship bid was nearly inevitably squashed by an Irish side which owns the visitors in Dublin, where Scotland has won only once in 20 years.

"The game is changing at the moment which will enforce some selection changes", Jones said.

"We'll look back at that, yea, when we lift the trophy next week, hopefully a Grand Slam, we can look back at that five minutes and say that was a huge moment in our success".

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"It's very muted upstairs - it's a unusual feeling to win the Championship with a game to go", Sexton said.

Rob Kearney was awarded man-of-the-match but I felt the most influential player on the Irish team was Ringrose, who despite his lack of game-time had a quality 80 minutes, working intelligently with his outside backs in defence and in attack he gave us a real threat in the loose. "We can address it and keep getting better at it but the reality is we probably won't get better at it until the World Cup". That's been done over the past couple of years and it's great that it's so seamless at times.

"Everyone knows the size of the challenge".

"I don't think we should get too carried away or too melodramatic about where we are", he said.

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