sport

Haskell relief over sin bin

James Haskell was relieved his second-half sin-binning did not cost England the chance of an historic RBS 6 Nations victory over Ireland.

Haskell was shown a yellow card for kicking the ball out of a ruck just as Ireland were beginning to crank up the pressure and Ronan O'Gara kicked the penalty to bring the scores level at 6-6.

The sin-binning proved to be a turning point - but in England's favour because they won that 10-minute period 6-3 with Owen Farrell kicking two more penalties.

"I think my life probably flashed before my eyes (when I was yellow carded)," Haskell said.

"I thought if we lost the game I would have to run straight out of the stadium!

"I was disappointed it was a yellow card. I didn't intentionally kick it but it was the third penalty in a row and someone was going to get it.

"The fact we won that period is credit to those on the field. It could have gone the other way, especially in Ireland against that quality of opposition but the boys dug really, really deep.

"I was just glad I got the opportunity to go back on. That victory was very big."

England had not won a Six Nations game in Dublin for 10 years, since Martin Johnson's team clinched the Grand Slam before going on to win the World Cup.

Two years ago, England blew a Grand Slam opportunity at the Aviva Stadium when they failed to match Ireland's intensity but on Sunday they delivered a ferocious performance.

Chris Robshaw, the England captain and man of the match, said: "We are always fired up and the message today was 'no backward step', whether it is little off-the-ball stuff or going after them from minute one and we did that today.

"We came here to put a marker down and we will build on that.

"We knew we hadn't won here in 10 years and we knew why. Today we got it spot on.

"It was all about defence at the end of the day and someone like Owen kicking the goals. That performance was definitely right up there."