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England Moves Atop Six Nations Rugby by Beating Ireland 12-6

England Moves Atop Six Nations Rugby by Beating Ireland 12-6
Flyhalf Owen Farrell of England kicks a penalty as Ireland players look on during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and England at Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Feb. 10, 2013. Photographer: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Owen Farrell kicked all England’s points in a 12-6 win against Ireland that lifted his team atop the standings after two rounds of rugby’s Six Nations.

All the points came from penalty goals in wet conditions yesterday. Ronan O’Gara, who came on for the injured Jonathan Sexton, got two for the home team as England secured its first win against Ireland in Dublin for 10 years.

“To come here with a young side and close out the game was great,” England coach Stuart Lancaster said on the Rugby Football Union’s website. “To keep our composure in the heat of the battle, it’s a testament to our players’ maturity.”

England, which opened Europe’s annual rugby championship by beating Scotland, is the only team that can secure a so-called Grand Slam sweep this year. The English lead with four points ahead of Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Italy on two. France has no points after two losses and visits England next on Feb. 23.

England led 6-0 at halftime in the the first tryless game between the two sides since 1984. O’Gara tied the scores just before the hour mark, though Farrell booted the final six points with England a man down after James Haskell was sin-binned.

Defending champion Wales ended a run of eight straight losses two days ago by beating France 16-6 in Paris. Scotland defeated Italy 34-10.

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