Saturday, 20 March 2021 21:30

Staff Reporter.

©INPHO.

Ireland produced by far their best performance of the Andy Farrell era to beat a sorry England 32-18 in the Six Nations in Dublin.

Keith Earls and Jack Conan scored superb first-half tries while Johnny Sexton kicked 22 points with Lions coach Warren Gatland watching on.

Late touchdowns from Ben Youngs and Jonny May after Bundee Aki's red card did not mask a dismal English display.

Eddie Jones' side are now set for a fifth-place finish.

Ireland's win moves them up to second in the table but their final standing will not be decided until France and Scotland meet next week in their re-arranged fixture that will end this season's competition.

Regardless of their final position, the manner of the win over England, a first in five attempts, will live long in Irish memories in addition to vindicating Farrell's constant insistence that this is a team travelling in the right direction.

As for England, their lifeless and ill-disciplined display after such an engrossing win over France a week ago is arguably a new low for a side who only a year-and-a-half ago reached the World Cup final.

Meanwhile Scotland ran in eight tries as they dispatched a limp Italy at Murrayfield and returned to winning ways in the Six Nations.

Hooker Dave Cherry and wing Duhan van der Merwe both scored twice, with Darcy Graham and Huw Jones running in first-half scores.

Scott Steele and Sam Johnson also scored as Italy's indiscipline brought two yellow cards after the break.

Scotland could still salvage second place from their Six Nations campaign.

However, it would require a bonus point in the rearranged trip to France - a far tougher assignment - and other results to go their way.