Six Nations: Rory Best hails 'monumental' Ireland display in win over England

Iain Henderson tackles Billy Vunipola at the Aviva Stadium
Iain Henderson's first-half try helped Ireland deny England a second successive Grand Slam

Ireland captain Rory Best said his side's "monumental effort" denied England a second successive Grand Slam and world record run of victories.

Iain Henderson's first-half try helped Ireland win 13-9 as the champions had to be content with matching New Zealand's run of 18 straight Test wins.

"It's days like this that you have to be very proud of the boys," said 34-year-old hooker Best.

"That was a lot more like we showed in the autumn."

After the historic first Ireland win over the All Blacks in November and a further autumn win over Australia, Ireland were many people's Six Nations favourites.

However, a surprise opening defeat by Scotland and a further loss in Cardiff left Ireland in danger of finishing in the bottom half of the table, only for Saturday's gutsy win to move Joe Schmidt's side up to second place.

The win also secured Ireland's place as one of the top seeds for the 2019 World Cup draw.

"We'll look back on another day at aspects of the campaign that we let slip by," added Best, who came back on to the field at the Aviva Stadium after going off for a head injury assessment in the first half.

"They are lifting the trophy now and they are deserved champions with the way they played throughout the championship. But we are very happy with that win."

Joe Schmidt congratulates CJ Stander after Ireland's win as Johnny Sexton looks on
Joe Schmidt's side are now guaranteed a top seeding at the 2019 World Cup draw

Schmidt says early Ireland lead was crucial

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt picked out the individual displays of try-scorer Henderson and centre Garry Ringrose as his team built on a strong start to hold off England's second-half rally.

Henderson vindicated his selection in place of Devin Toner with a dynamic display in the loose, which included his dive and stretch to score Ireland's 24th-minute try.

"I thought we played really well in the first 20 minutes and deserved the lead [10-3 at half-time]," added the New Zealander.

"We went really close in their right corner twice with Keith Earls.

"Garry Ringrose was unbelievable again. He keeps taking steps forward and he was a real threat out there tonight.

"Iain Henderson was massive tonight. He has been a player who has been coming for a long time and I think he arrived a bit tonight."

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'Our aim was to deny England Grand Slam' - Ireland try scorer Henderson

Late inclusion O'Mahony stars for Ireland

Flanker O'Mahony was named man of the match after being drafted in minutes before the kick-off following a hamstring injury suffered by Jamie Heaslip in the warm-up.

"It wasn't a day to try and put someone out there who was maybe 85 or 90% fit," added Schmidt.

Schmidt's decision not to select O'Mahony on Thursday did led to some debate and the Munster back row's physicality at the breakdown and line-out work was a feature of Ireland's display, including a crucial 74th-minute steal off a Jamie George throw.

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