Ireland v England – Top 5 Most Iconic Battles

As Joe Schmidt’s Ireland side gears up to take on their old foe England on Sunday, we look back at some of the most iconic battles of recent times. After a number of years taking some hidings, Ireland have had very much the better of it the last decade or so.

1: Ireland v England, Croke Park, 2009

One of the most famous and invigorating moments of Irish sport, England’s trip to Croke Park was a historic occassion: the first time an English representative side had played on the site of Bloody Sunday.

It was a spinge-tingling event with the pre-match activities nearly overshadowing what turned out to be a skewering of the English 43-13 by an Ireland team that would go on to win the Triple Crown.

2: Ireland v England, Landsdowne Road, 2003

The Six Nations decider of 2003, Martin Johnson’s England juggernaut travelled to Dublin to take on a youthful, reinvigorated Ireland side. The match was once again nearly eclipsed by the pre-match events when Martin Johnson flat-out refused to move his team and allow Ireland to stand on their “lucky” side for the anthems.

England, hitting their prime that year, smashed the Irish, winning 42-6 and would go on to win the World Cup later that season.

3: Ireland v England, Landsdowne Road, 2001

In the final game of the 2001 Six Nations Championship, England once again travelled to Dublin with strong expectations of a Grand Slam title. They were undone, though, by the mesmeric Ireland captain Keith Wood who, off the back of a lineout, rampaged over the line from about 15 yards like an Olympic weightlifter stumbling into the 100m sprint.

The rapier-like boots of David Humphreys and the young Ronan O’Gara kept the English at bay to secure a famous 20-14 win for the boys in Green.

4: Ireland v England, Croke Park, 2009

After opening victories over France and Italy, Brian O’Driscoll’s Ireland side would meet the old enemy at Croke Park with a view to a long-awaited Grand Slam on the horizon. It all looked comfortable for the Irish until Delon Armitage touched down for a try in the 78th minute and then all bets were off.

Ireland just about scraped over the line 14-13 in a nail-biting finale and would go on to win the Grand Slam in a famous win in Cardiff two games later.

5: England v Ireland, Twickenham, 1994

Back in the early ninties the tournament was still known as the Five Nations Championship with Ireland struggling for success for years. They did, however, pull off one of the shocks of the tournament by beating England at fortress Twickenham off the back of an iconic try from the blonde bombshell, Simon Geoghegan and a 12-13 scoreline.