Key info ahead of Six Nations round five

March 19 06:39 2017

Keith Earls has shaken off his groin complaint and starts on the wing.

Kick off at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday is at 5 o’clock.

Everything went right for Ireland, even a pre-match injury to No. 8 Jamie Heaslip that brought Peter O’Mahony into the starting lineup.

England: M Brown; A Watson, J Joseph, O Farrell, E Daly (J Nowell 68); G Ford (B Teo 63; G Ford 71), B Youngs (D Care 63); J Marler (M Vunipola 40), D Hartley (capt, J George 55), D Cole (K Sinckler 78), J Launchbury, C Lawes, M Itoje, B Vunipola (N Hughes 63), J Haskell (T Wood 60).

It was not long, however, before Farrell, whose father Andy is now Ireland’s defence coach, drew England level with a 35-metre penalty after an Irish ruck offence.

“Scotland was a stern test for us but we came through it positively and we know facing Ireland on St Patrick’s Day will be another massive challenge”. Ireland were able to adapt to the conditions better and harried England at every opportunity.

Ireland played superbly and they were too good for us on the day”, said Jones.

“The mood in camp has been positive”.

“Big occasions, big men rise to it and we certainly had a lot of those”, added Best after a win that saw Ireland finish second on points difference. “The intensity of training has been good. They put us under unbelievable pressure and gave us one hell of a Test match”. “I think it does just in terms of headlines, great news reports, and excitement for fans”.

To trace where this stunning sequence of wins started requires a return to England’s lowest ebb and a meaningless game played in Manchester.

“To go from where we are to greatness takes another step of endeavor”, coach Eddie Jones, who is unbeaten since taking charge in 2015, told reporters ahead of the clash with Ireland. We’re looking forward to giving it another crack at the weekend against Ireland.

England had a similar chance late on, with Owen Farrell turning down a kick to touch in the 73rd minute to go for touch.

Joe Schmidt on Conor Murray’s absence and his decision to drop line-out specialist Devin Toner: “With Conor Murrray we fitness-tested him today and we felt he wasn’t quite 100 per cent”. “Having won the title makes us vulnerable”.

“Iain Henderson came off the bench and did really well last week”. We’ve been chuffed with the results we’ve had but realism shows us that we’ve still got a lot to do.

Ireland conjured a stunning blast of form to prevail 13-9, ending England’s record 18-match run just as they had downed the All Blacks on the same mark in Chicago in November.

So for the second time in the last seven seasons, England were forced to receive the Six Nations trophy in a wholly hollow medal ceremony after blowing another Grand Slam bid on Irish soil.

Ireland have also been forced into changes in the second row.

Victory rescued a poor Six Nations championship for Ireland, who lost to Scotland and Wales after beating three southern hemisphere teams previous year.


Key info ahead of Six Nations round five
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