Six Nations: Ireland thump England despite red card to Kiwi midfielder Bundee Aki

A red card to New Zealander Bundee Aki did not stop Ireland inflicting an emphatic win over England in Dublin.
Aki was sent off for 64th minute for striking England No 8 Billy Vunipola in the head in a jolting tackle on Saturday (Sunday NZ time).

But undermanned Ireland who also lost halfback Connor Murray to a yellow card in the 76th minute held on for a deserved 32-18 win.

Match officials ruled there were no mitigating factors in the Aki incident, with Irelands midfielder found to have contacted Vunipolas head with his shoulder an automatic red card offence under World Rugby rules.


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Niall Carson/Pool via AP
Ireland's Jack Conan stretches out to score a try.

Ireland racked up a 20-point lead at halftime after two tries and some pinpoint goalkicking by captain Johnny Sexton.

Veteran wing Keith Earls, 33, scored Ireland's first try off a lineout win by No 8 Jack Conan.

Niall Carson/POool via AP
Ireland wing Keith Earls runs through to score the first try in a win over England in Dublin.

The ball was worked to Earls, who wrongfooted England marker Jonny May to score in the 24th minute.

Ireland were the more enterprising team in the first spell and were rewarded in the 38th minute when Conan stretched out a long arm after a ruck to dot down.

Conans try came after 23 quick phases with momentum gained after fullback Hugo Keenan leapt high to secure a kick.

Jacob Stockdale recalled for dropped Kiwi wing James Lowe got Ireland on the front foot with a telling dart before Conan crashed over off the next phase.

England had only two Owen Farrell penalties to show for their first 40 minutes of labour. The England captain moved past 500 Six Nations championship points.

Sextons third penalty, early in the second half, gave Ireland a 23-6 lead after Earls had a second try disallowed after television replays spotted an Irish knock-on in the lead-up.

Niall Carson/Pool via AP
Ireland's Keith Earls after attempting to score a try, which was disallowed for an earlier knock-on.

Another Sexton penalty pushed the lead out to 20 points, requiring England to score three converted tries for victory.

England struck straight after Akis red card with a blindside try to halfback Ben Youngs, but fullback Elliot Daly kicking with Farrell off the field for a concussion check could not land the sideline conversion.

The 14-man Ireland side, however, got back onto attack and Sexton slotted his fifth penalty after England were penalised for a ruck infringement.

Sextons sixth goal extended the lead to 21 points before England with Ireland down to 13 men scored a consolation late try to wing Jonny May.

Sexton kicked 22 points, centre Robbie Henshaw was man of the match and flanker C J Stander marked his final test for Ireland with a memorable victory over England.

AT A GLANCE

Ireland 32 (Keith Earls, Jack Conan tries; Johnny Sexton 2 con, 6 pen) England 18 (Ben Youngs, Jonny May tries; Owen Farrell 2 pen; Elliot Daly con). HT: 20-6. At Aviva Stadium, Dublin.

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