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England's injured Itoje ruled out for France and Wales matches

09 February 2019

After a dominant 2018 that saw them win a Grand Slam and down the All Blacks, this was not the start to 2019 that Ireland were looking for and how they respond to this setback will be key when it comes to the rest of the tournament. "I absolutely hate it", Ward said on the BBC Sport website.

Ireland leaked more than 30 points at home for just the second time under Joe Schmidt, with the head coach branding the loss a World Cup "reality check".

"It was just a big collision, he is a big man and I think if it had been anyone smaller I would have been alright".

"Physically we know we can be up at that level, but we were just off and we've got to sort that out. We are an honest group, we'll regather ourselves and go again".

With Tuilagi offering power on the crash ball, Mako and Billy Vunipola restored to the scrum, hard-working flankers Tom Curry and Mark Wilson scavenging around the rucks and the bulk of Courtney Lawes and Nathan Hughes coming off the bench, England's game-plan was obvious.

Viewing peaking at 1.1 million within the last twenty minutes as Joe Schmidt's team tried to fight back against an impressive England side.

"We're bitterly disappointed because we're a group that drives high standards and we didn't meet that".

However, the other main aspect of England's victory perhaps offers greater hope to Jamie Joseph's Brave Blossoms as they prepare to face Ireland - and a resurgent Scotland - in their World Cup pool.

"That's the exciting thing, I think".

"We approach team selection by picking the team that we want to get the result for that weekend".

On the back of 10 successive wins Wales will take heart from their display in Paris while believing in themselves as there is little doubt they have the skills and mental and physical capabilities to withstand the enormity of the challenge.

"While we do it well, I think we're overplaying it". Even for us, the last time we went to Murrayfield, we didn't get off the bus and we were 21-5 down at half-time.

Here on SunSport we'll be running a LIVE BLOG from Dublin which will keep you up to date with all the drama. I don't know what he thought of it, whether he got his timing wrong or whatever, I had a look back at it and it does look bad but that's not for me to say.

England's injured Itoje ruled out for France and Wales matches