Ireland secured an impressive away win over England after both Wales and Scotland had fallen just short in the third round of this year’s Six Nations.
The Irish claimed a 20-16 victory at Twickenham on Saturday afternoon as they kept their hopes of a second successive Six Nations title alive.
Declan Kidney’s men outscored their hosts by three tries to one, with a Keith Earls effort sandwiched between a brace from Ospreys wing Tommy Bowe.
Bowe’s first try came with the game just four minutes old while his second proved to be the match-winning score with five minutes left to play.
The win ensures Ireland remain on course for a fifth Triple Crown in seven years, with their last two games coming at home to Wales and Scotland on March 13 and 20 respectively.
Wales will arrive in Dublin in a fortnight’s time on the back of an impressive second-half display against France, although they ultimately finished on the wrong end of a 26-20 scoreline at the Millennium Stadium.
Ospreys favourite Shane Williams and Blues youngster Leigh Halfpenny both claimed well-taken scores after the break but a 20-point deficit at the end of the opening 40 minutes left Wales with too much to do against the Grand Slam chasing French.
Scotland suffered a similarly painful defeat at the hands of the Italians as they failed to build on a hugely promising performance in Cardiff two weeks earlier.
Glasgow Warriors outside-half Dan Parks claimed all 12 of Scotland’s points in the 16-12 defeat in Rome but Pablo Canavosio’s 67th-minute effort proved to be decisive as Andy Robinson’s men fell to a third straight tournament defeat.