England issued a powerful statement ahead of the Rugby World Cup when they overwhelmed Ireland by a record 57-15 margin at Twickenham.
At the heart of England’s second triumph in three warmup tests was man of the match Manu Tuilagi, who bristled with power and intent to torment an Irish defence that fell to pieces in the second half.
Ireland scored first through a Jordan Larmour try, but its hopes of clinching the win that would lift it to No. 1 in the world rankings at the expense of Wales quickly disintegrated.
The greatest danger England faced was not from Ireland but sunburn, as Twickenham roasted in temperatures that peaked at 30 degrees. Yet, England was well equipped for broiling conditions having spent 10 days in a heat camp in Treviso, Italy.
Maro Itoje and Billy Vunipola were magnificent up front, while George Ford argued a strong case to reclaim the flyhalf duties for the World Cup in Japan next month, but players excelled across the whole starting XV.
Wing Joe Cokanasiga scored a try in each half, and there were more touchdowns, some of them too easy, from Elliot Daly, Tuilagi, Itoje, George Kruis, Tom Curry, and Luke Cowan-Dickie. Owen Farrell kicked 15 points. They led 22-10 at halftime.
The victory by eight tries to two eclipsed England’s 46-6 win in 1997 in Dublin for its biggest score and margin against its Six Nations rival.
The Irish were left questioning whether a team that laboured to third place in the Six Nations was in full reverse.
And to add misfortune to misery, they also came off worse on the injury count as prop Cian Healy suffered an ankle injury and scrumhalf Conor Murray was withdrawn at halftime having earlier passed a head injury assessment.
England prop Mako Vunipola followed them into the stands near the end as his comeback following four months out with a hamstring injury took a worrying twist.