Also at stake when the rivals collide in Dublin is a new world record for consecutive Test wins with victory propelling England past the 18-Test milestone established by New Zealand a year ago. It was also the greatest number of points England have scored against Scotland. “We know Ireland are going to come out and have all their guns blazing, they’ve got nothing to worry about”.
The England wing is undergoing “return to play” protocols after a risky tackle by Fraser Brown that saw the Scotland hooker yellow-carded and cut short Daly’s participation in last weekend’s 61-21 Calcutta Cup success at Twickenham.
England were ranked eighth in the world when Eddie Jones took over in November 2015 and said the team did not contain any world-class players. The question makes no sense, apart from in the Six Nations when a Grand Slam is on the line on the final weekend. It is not Eddie I am trying to please, it is (Ireland coach) Joe (Schmidt) I am trying to please. “They understand what it will take to win in New Zealand and to have them on board again is positive”. Having resisted calls to play Jared Payne at full back past year, Joe Schmidt has finally selected the Kiwi born Ulsterman in his favoured position.
The Australian tactician has transformed this England team into winners, but he’ll be equally as wary of the threat that awaits in Dublin, as well as the cries of “so close, yet so far” that will follow if he fails. Those tiny margins must now swing in Ireland’s favour.
This match has always been billed as a battle of the Farrells.
An early Ireland penalty from Jonathan Sexton and territorial dominance was overturned quickly by an excellent team try from Wales finished by George North.
Jones said his players would deliver rugby’s version of Bodyline – the first of many comparisons to cricket from the coach.
England won the championship in emphatic style against a team that have been incredible this tournament but were unable to hold back the English torrent.
Scotland can go second if Ireland and France lose and if it does, this will be the first such achievement in 17 years.
“They were favourites for the competition and now they are out of it, so we are anticipating a tough encounter”. The build-up to the next England v All Blacks test, whenever it happens, will be anticipated nearly as much as the match itself.
Ireland’s own Six Nations title hopes were effectively ended by a 22-9 loss to Wales in Cardiff last Friday (Mar 10).
Forwards coach Simon Easterby delivered a clean bill of health after this morning’s Captain’s Run at the Aviva Stadium, with all 23 players coming through unscathed ahead of tomorrow’s tea-time kick off [KO 5pm].
“There’s a perception that this Six Nations has been better and it probably has been, but you’ve still got to win and to win it you’ve got to stay undefeated”.