England suffered their first home loss since 1999 as Ireland stunned the world champions 19-13 at Twickenham.
The home side scored the only try of the first half through Matt Dawson but four penalties from Ronan O'Gara gave Ireland a 12-10 lead at the break.
But England could have few complaints about the result, as Ireland secured their first away win in the fixture since 1994.The grand plan of a Grand
Slam showdown against France in Paris on March 27 went up in smoke.
Not since 1997 had they suffered a championship defeat on home soil, and the World Cup homecoming turned into a wake.England just did not perform,
despite the promptings of a capacity 75,000 crowd, and head coach Sir Clive Woodward is sure to question such a lacklustre effort.Ronan O'Gara kicked
14 points and full-back Girvan Dempsey scored a second-half try as the plucky Irish punched great holes in England's haul of rugby records in a
scrappy and frantic RBS 6 Nations encounter.
Retired World Cup skipper Martin Johnson and
World Cup match-winner Jonny Wilkinson were sorely missed and, while England should still beat Twickenham visitors Wales in a fortnight's time, France
away could prove beyond them.England produced little rhythm or cohesion, being knocked out of their stride by an Ireland side who were displayed
greater organisation and commitment.It was a shocking homecoming for new England skipper Lawrence Dallaglio, but he will be the first to admit that
Ireland richly deserved their win as they became the first team to beat the world champions.England, having reeled off 10 successive victories, now
have some serious soul-searching to do.The Grand Slam has gone, but so too might have the championship. It was a result of seismic proportions in
northern hemisphere rugby.
Balshaw (Bath), Lewsey (Wasps), Robinson (Sale), Greenwood (Harlequins), Cohen (Northampton), Grayson (Northampton), Dawson
(Northampton); Woodman (Gloucester), Steve Thompson (Northampton), Vickery (Gloucester), Borthwick (Bath ), Kay (Leicester), Worsley (Wasps), Hill
(Saracens), Dallaglio (Wasps, capt).
Regan (Leeds Tykes), Stevens (Bath), Jones (Sale), Back (Leicester), Gomarsall (Gloucester), Barkley (Bath), Simpson-Daniel
Dempsey (Leinster), Horgan (Leinster), D'Arcy (Leinster), O'Driscoll (Leinster, capt), Howe (Ulster), O'Gara (Munster), Stringer
(Munster); Corrigan (Leinster), Byrne (Leinster), Hayes (Munster), O'Kelly (Leinster), O'Connell (Munster), Easterby (Llanelli), Gleeson (Leinster),
Sheahan (Munster), Best (Ulster), Longwell (Ulster), Costello (Leinster), Humphreys (Ulster), Easterby (Rotherham), Maggs (Bath).
[Edited on 6/3/04 by TRD]