Sexton savours Irish Six Nations title win

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

England conceded 16 penalties against France as they fell to their second defeat in as many Tests.

As the Aviva Stadium crowd became more and more frustrated with the lack of Irish progress, Bundee Aki nearly claimed his third try in the green jersey of Ireland, but was unfortunately held up as he attempted to cross the line at what must be his favourite spot at the ground, just left of the left hand post where he had scored his two previous Ireland tries.

England hosts Ireland next week at Twickenham, where Joe Schmidt's team will play for the Grand Slam.

Current skipper Best admitted Ireland will now need to summon their best rugby yet in this year's tournament to topple England and complete the clean sweep. With an very 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.

Ireland had trailed 13-5 after 31 minutes as Wales responded to Jacob Stockdale's early try to lead through Gareth Davies' converted score and two Leigh Halfpenny penalties.

"If you can't motivate yourself against England, then you're in trouble", Schmidt was quoted as saying in Ireland's Sunday Independent newspaper.

"Our basic skills were pretty good in a number of areas, our tackling was outstanding and our contact work when we had the ball was outstanding".

"We're going to have to save the best for last, and that's what it's going to take to win everything next week", said Best.

Luke, Will, Ethan, Christopher, Benjamin and Todd, sent us their messages for the Ireland team.

That put Ireland 10 points clear of the English in the table, requiring a bonus point win for the visitors in Paris to keep the title chase alive.

They would have been closer at the death but for those expensive mistakes by players such as Huw Jones and Peter Horne, yet Laidlaw, understandably, said there would be no recriminations.

"Our defence was remarkable", Brunel told a news conference after his fourth game in charge.

"Everyone knows the size of the challenge".

"I don't understand where England have been mentally in the last two games", Woodward added. If that's how they want to do it, we've got to adapt to that.

"If they are free in that zone, it becomes complicated for their opponents".

Sexton said: "Declan said I was just as much a part of it as everyone else in 2009 when I was in the bibs".

"Manu's off the pace and he just needs consistent rugby but certainly he's the sort of guy that suits the sort of rugby that's being played at the moment", Jones said.

In front of the French posts, the England backs were poised for an overlap but a knock-on in a ruck finally ended the match and England's two-year reign.

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