18 May, 15:44
It's down to the wire now for the five contenders who have been shortlisted for the ultimate individual accolade in northern hemisphere rugby, ERC European Player of the Year 2013.
It is matches such as this that serve as a reminder as to why the Six Nations holds such global appeal. Ireland have rarely travelled to Twickenham as such rank outsiders, having shipped upwards of 40 points on the previous two encounters. England were playing in front of their home crowd for the first time since being crowned World Champions and were expected to bring a comfortable victory to the party.
Ireland though forgot to read the script and have set up a momentous final weekend when they could be vying for the championship alongside England and France.
Ireland targeted the lineout as an area of dominance but as optimistic as Eddie O'Sullivan may have been, he surely wouldn't have expected such results. The two giant O's, O'Kelly and O'Connell, disrupted England ball all afternoon, reducing Steve Thompson to a quivering mess by the time Clive Woodward called him ashore on the hour mark. By then he had failed to hit his target on 11 occasions.
Ronan O'Gara showed great courage to land four first-half penalties, having missed the proverbial "sitter" in the third minute following a professional foul by Paul Grayson which referee Paul Honiss didn't deem worthy of a yellow card. O'Gara's masterly out-of-hand kicking display also ensured that England were kept pinned in their own 22 for long periods of the match.
England scored the only try of the first half, ironically coming from an Irish set piece. Anthony Foley lost control of the ball at the back of Ireland's creaking scrum and Grayson was there to pick up the pieces and feed Matt Dawson for an easy run-in. Ireland must have been sick. The two-point lead they took into the break was scant reward for their almost total dominance of the first half.
Ireland, though, were not to be denied. A now trademark outside break and sidestep saw outside centre Gordon D'Arcy make 40 yards before play was switched back and forth across the pitch for Girvan Dempsey to squeeze in at the corner. This prompted Woodward into making a series of changes in personnel but by then the England situation was desperate.
This result represents Ireland's first victory at Twickenham in the professional era. Seasons of success in the Heineken Cup have instilled a belief not previously present in Irish sides to go to such places as Twickenham and come away with a result.
Players still involved in 2003 / 04 Heineken Cup
Ireland Munster; (O'Gara, Stringer, Hayes, O'Connell, Foley) Llanelli Scarlets; (S. Easterby)
England Wasps; (Lewsey, Worsley) Gloucester; (Vickery)