England was on top of their game in 2003 and on this day in rugby history they completed their Six Nations Grand Slam run with a 42-6 win over Ireland at Lansdowne Road. The two teams both came into the match undefeated and the win gave England their first Grand Slam in 8 years and denied the Irish their first Grand Slam in 55 years.
"I can't say how good these guys are," head coach Clive Woodward said after the match. "They are the toughest guys I have ever worked with, physically and mentally. I was confident we were going to win, if we held on to the ball. Ireland are a good team but I am delighted with the outcome. The players deserve this big time. I'm lucky to be leading them."
The first half was close but the visitors broke it open in the second with a run of 29 unanswered points.
Will Green led the way with 2 of the team’s 5 tries on the day while Jonny Wilkinson went about his business kicking the ball with his three conversions, 1 penalty and 2 drop goals.
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"That was the No.1 team in the world playing on top of their game," Irish coach Eddie O'Sullivan reflected before adding. "They must be favourites for the World Cup."
The biggest controversy came before the first whistle. England lined up inadvertently on the wrong side of the tunnel when they took their place on the left side which is said to be Ireland’s lucky side. England captain Martin Johnson refused to move his players.
When the Irish President Mary McAleese went to greet the players with a pre-game handshake she had to tromp down the grass rather than on the red carpet since both teams had lined up on the left.
Both unions sent letters requesting apologies and Martin Johnson eventually came clean saying he thought the protocol was for a team to line up on the side the warmed up on and that he refused to move when some ‘random guy’ asked him to rather than the match official.
Ireland: Ireland: G Murphy (Leicester); J Bishop (London Irish), B O'Driscoll (Leinster, capt), K Maggs (Bath), D Hickie (Leinster); D Humphreys (Ulster), P Stringer (Munster); M Horan (Munster), S Byrne (Leinster), J Hayes (Munster), M O'Kelly (Leinster), G Longwell (Ulster), V Costello (Leinster), K Gleeson (Leinster), A Foley (Munster).
Replacements: F Sheahan (Munster), J Fitzpatrick (Ulster), P O'Connell (Munster), A Quinlan (Munster), G Easterby (Llanelli), R O'Gara (Munster), G Dempsey (Leinster).
England: Josh Lewsey (Wasps), Jason Robinson (Sale), Will Greenwood (Harlequins), Mike Tindall (Bath), Ben Cohen (Northampton), Jonny Wilkinson (Newcastle vice-captain), Matt Dawson (Northampton ), Graham Rowntree (Leicester), Steve Thompson (Northampton ), Jason Leonard (Harlequins), Martin Johnson (Leicester, captain), Ben Kay (Leicester), Richard Hill (Saracens), Neil Back (Leicester), Lawrence Dallaglio (Wasps)
Replacements: Dorian West (Leicester), Trevor Woodman (Gloucester), Danny Grewcock (Bath), Joe Worsley (London Wasps), Kyran Bracken (Saracens), Paul Grayson (Northampton), Dan Luger (Harlequins).
1975 – Paul Griffen, New Zealand born Italian rugby union player
1978 - Chris Paterson, Scottish rugby player