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Ex-England star Jonny Wilkinson explains how early red card ‘rattled’ Ireland

Former England star No10 Jonny Wilkinson has suggested the early red card in the game may have ‘rattled’ Ireland and might have had more of a negative effect on Andy Farrell’s side than it did on England.

Speaking on ITV, Jonny Wilkinson discussed how things immediately changed in the game when Charlie Ewels was sent off for a head-charge on James Ryan.

He said: ‘I think two things changed it (towards the end). England got tired with all that effort, that fatigue was sitting under the surface.

‘Then Ireland did what they needed to do all game, which was hold onto the ball.

‘When you talk about keeping calm, I think that calmness was also patience. If you keep hold of the ball it’s going to work out. When they did that the fatigue just broke through for England, you could see it…

‘When you’re playing with 14 men every decision is so crucial, if you make a wrong decision it is exacerbated. England were having to be so precise, so alert, so sure about what they were doing.

‘With Ireland, I think that red card rattled them as much as it rattled England. They suddenly got a quick score and it took them time to rediscover that.

‘Fair play to them that they did because that was noisy, there was a lot of chances for them to lose their way completely and give England an incredible victory.

It was a great game and good for Ireland because they deserved it.’

Ireland now face Scotland in the Aviva next weekend with a chance at a Grand Slam and still in the hunt for the championship, with England facing France in Paris.

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