Ireland and England’s encounter at the Aviva Stadium has already been touted as a possible Six Nations championship decider.
The two sides are the only teams in the competition still eligible of winning the Grand Slam and with that on stake it is sure to be a thrilling encounter between the rivals. Kick-off is 3:00pm
England’s victory over Scotland on Saturday was convincing and yet the immediate statement from Stuart Lancaster was that England could do better. It’s no secret that England will go after the Irish set-piece again having ruthlessly dismantled their pack at Twickenham last year.
Ireland still remains somewhat vulnerable in the scrum, and they will need a top performance by the forwards to stop a repeat of last year in the scrum. Stuart Lancaster is able to call upon Dan Cole, regarded by many as the form tight-head in the Northern Hemisphere and it is easy to see England pin-pointing this once again this year and aiming to beat Ireland in the set pieces.
Scotland failed to cope with England’s pack physicality, they are a heavy, stong pack but also which mobile enough to cause havoc at the breakdown. If Ireland comes into difficulties with the pack, they will struggle to create quick breaks if the Irish backs are starved of quick balls from the ruck.
Ireland have won 7 of the last 10 games between the two and after their impressive opening victory against Wales they will be hungry to beat the English tomorrow in their home ground.
It is worth noting that Ireland had a much more physical opening game than England. Collectively they made 200 tackles, compared to England’s 86. This will stand to Ireland in the game and Kidney has reported a clean bill of health coming in to the game.
Brian O’ Driscoll is sure to be on top form again and Ireland will have Mike Ross to defend against Englands strong scrum and Donnacha Ryan will be charged with attempting to disrupt England’s efficient lineout and prevent an easy platform for Ben Youngs and Owen Farrell. The Irish scrum despite being somewhat vulnerable tomorrow has improved since Twickenham last year. Ireland will need to correct there discipline as they conceded more than 15 penalties last week. If Ireland correct their disciplinary issues and outstand the English pack in set pieces, there is no doubt with their quick tempo, the game is there for the taking.
There is much to consider for tomorrows encounter but there is little doubt Ireland will be wound up for this game against their old rivals. If they correct the issues stated they can pin-point Englands weaknesses and can take this game. A lot relies on the kick-takers also as every point will be vital.
Ireland by 3 points
Ireland to win by 1-5 points is 9/2 with Boylesports.com
Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Craig Gilroy, 13 Brian O’Driscoll, 12 Gordon D’Arcy, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip (c), 7 Sean O’Brien, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 Donnacha Ryan, 4 Mike McCarthy , 3 Mike Ross, 2 Rory Best, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Declan Fitzpatrick, 19 Donncha O’Callaghan, 20 Chris Henry, 21 Eoin Reddan, 22 Ronan O’Gara, 23 Keith Earls.
England: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Brad Barritt, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Mike Brown, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Tom Wood, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 James Haskell, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Dylan Hartley, 17 David Wilson, 18 Mako Vunipola, 19 Courtney Lawes, 20 Thomas Waldrom, 21 Danny Care, 22 Toby Flood, 23 Manu Tuilagi.
2012: England won 30-9 at Twickenham
2011: England won 20-9 in Dublin
2011: Ireland won 24-8 in Dublin
2010: Ireland won 20-16 at Twickenham
2009:Ireland won 14-13 in Dublin
2008: England won 33-10 at Twickenham
2007: Ireland won 43-13 in Dublin
2006: Ireland won 28-24 at Twickenham
2005: Ireland won 19-13 in Dublin
2004: Ireland won 19-13 at Twickenham