Ireland are competing for the Grand Slam
Ireland have had an impressive tournament, their best match coming in the win over France as the world’s top two teams battled it out. They are outstanding in both attack and defence and England will have to be near-perfect if they are to defeat the Irish.
England’s tournament has been poor, culminating in a crushing and record 53-10 defeat to France at Twickenham. Their performances will mean Ireland are the favourites but Steve Borthwick’s side will do all they can to spoil the party.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the game.
How can Ireland win the Six Nations?
- If Ireland win they win the Grand Slam
- If Ireland draw they win the Six Nations
- If Ireland lose but pick up a try bonus point and a losing bonus point they will win the Six Nations title
- If Ireland lose but pick up a losing bonus point (lose by no more than seven points) or try bonus point and stay ahead of France, presuming they win with a try bonus, on points difference (currently +20)
- If Ireland lose without any bonus points and France win but fail to pick up a bonus point or close the points difference game
- France draw with or lose to Wales
Related: Ireland one step from Grand Slam
What is the team news for Ireland v England
Ireland have made three changes to their starting XV. Robbie Henshaw makes his first start of the tournament as a replacement for the injured Garry Ringrose. Jamison Gibson-Park also gets his first start to partner Johnny Sexton in the fly-half’s final Six Nations match.
England, meanwhile, have made four changes to their starting line-up. Experienced centre Manu Tuilagi is back and makes his first appearance in the matchday squad this Six Nations. Henry Arundell is given his first start on the wing and captain Owen Farrell is back at fly-half.
The midfield trio of Farrell, Tuilagi and Henry Slade start their first game since the 2019 World Cup quarter-final win over Australia.
In the forwards, David Ribbans lines up in the second row for the injured Ollie Chessum, who is now a doubt for the World Cup as he faces surgery on a dislocated ankle, with Nick Isiekwe coming onto the bench.
What have the coaches said?
Ireland head coach Andy Farrell said: “I think Owen [Farrell] and Johnny [Sexton] are pretty similar as far as the drive and the fight and the want,” said Andy Farrell.
“Both are super competitors and they’ll make sure that their team is of the same mindset as well. That’s why I said England are going to be extremely dangerous this weekend because of a mentality like that.”
England head coach Steve Borthwick said: “We travel to Dublin to face an Ireland team on Saturday that has the chance to secure a Grand Slam Championship victory at home for the first time.
“We know that after the bitter disappointment of the display against an exceptional France team last week, we will have to be much improved to meet the challenge of playing the side presently ranked number one in the world.
“However, I have witnessed an England squad determined to make amends for the defeat at Twickenham, and I am confident that the team announced today will once again want to show the sort of resilience and attitude that brought us victory in Wales.”
Any interesting statistics for Ireland v England?
- Johnny Sexton is level with Ronan O’Gara in the all-time leading Six Nations point scorers with 557 points to his name. He will have one last chance to break the record against England as it is thought to be his final Six Nations match
- If Ireland beat England it will be the first time Ireland have sealed a Grand Slam in Dublin
- England and Ireland have competed in 139 matches against one another. England have won 80 of them, Ireland have been victorious 51 times and eight games have been a draw
- Ireland have won the last two matches with England’s last win over their old rivals coming in 2020
- James Lowe has made eight line breaks this Six Nations, more than any other player – according to Opta
What time does Ireland v England kick-off and is it on TV?
Read more: How to watch the Six Nations from anywhere
The match will kick-off at 5pm BST on Saturday 18 March. It will be shown on ITV 1 and can be streamed on ITVX.
It will also be broadcast on BBC 5 Live.
Related: How to watch Ireland v England
The referee will be Jaco Peyper (SARU) with assistants Ben O’Keeffe (NZR) and Pierre Brousset (FFR). The television match official will be Marius Jonker (SARU).
Related: Six Nations referees
What are the line-ups?
Ireland: Hugo Keenan; Mack Hansen, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, James Lowe; Johnny Sexton (captain), Jamison Gibson-Park; Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan, Tadhg Furlong, Ryan Baird, James Ryan, Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier, Caelan Doris.
Replacements: Ronan Kelleher, Cian Healy, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell, Jack Conan, Conor Murray, Ross Byrne, Jimmy O’Brien.
England: Freddie Steward; Anthony Watson, Henry Slade, Manu Tuilagi, Henry Arundell; Owen Farrell (captain), Jack van Poortvliet; Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler, Maro Itoje, David Ribbans, Lewis Ludlam, Jack Willis, Alex Dombrandt.
Replacements: Jack Walker, Mako Vunipola, Dan Cole, Nick Isiekwe, Ben Curry, Alex Mitchell, Marcus Smith, Joe Marchant
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