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England vs Ireland

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Post by adambarney Sun 09 Feb 2014, 2:06 pm

Could be game of the six nations what do you think?

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Post by Notch Sun 09 Feb 2014, 2:15 pm

Now that ME-109 has got the official diplomatic niceties out of the way, let us continue.

I am very, very excited about this. In the same way that we needed to go up a gear for the Wales match we need to further improve. I can't see England not being able to deal with the rolling maul in the same way Wales couldn't, or lose so badly at the breakdown- they have two weeks just to do homework on that now.

But I still feel we have more surprises up our sleeve, more that we haven't seen yet especially in terms of back play.

Anyway, its a game for a Triple Crown (Ireland) or keeping the Championship alive (England). Should be massive- if we win this we'll most likely be top with a decent points difference, unbeaten and Italy at home next up. What I'm saying is that it's going to be much tougher than our opening games but if we win it could set us up for something special.
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Post by ME-109 Sun 09 Feb 2014, 2:17 pm

Notch wrote:Now that ME-109 has got the official diplomatic niceties out of the way, let us continue.

I am very, very excited about this. In the same way that we needed to go up a gear for the Wales match we need to further improve. I can't see England not being able to deal with the rolling maul in the same way Wales couldn't, or lose so badly at the breakdown- they have two weeks just to do homework on that now.

But I still feel we have more surprises up our sleeve, more that we haven't seen yet especially in terms of back play.

Anyway, its a game for a Triple Crown (Ireland) or keeping the Championship alive (England). Should be massive- if we win this we'll most likely be top with a decent points difference, unbeaten and Italy at home next up. What I'm saying is that it's going to be much tougher than our opening games but if we win it could set us up for something special.

Yeah the surprise will be we actually use the backs...

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Post by TJ Sun 09 Feb 2014, 2:19 pm

I suspect a tense low scoring affair with defences dominating. Mind you I thought Wales / Ireland would be a close fought game.

If Ireland can get ahead early and get the pressure on then they should win. Force Farrell ever deeper in search of time on the ball and press the centres suffocating them as they successfully did to wales. Ireland will have to play well to win but I have them as favourites. England will need composure when defending and to be flexible and tactically astute to win. If they can do this then they are really on their way to becoming a good team. I suspect brittleness under pressure will be their undoing and Ireland will provide the pressure. Where do you attack ireland? What is their weakness to go for?

Looking forward to it.

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Post by captain carrantuohil Sun 09 Feb 2014, 2:43 pm

Last year, I thought that home advantage and greater experience, especially in view of the predicted conditions, would be enough for Ireland to edge it, but I was entirely wrong. This year, England have a touch more experience, plus the comforts of home, so I might, at this stage, make them the slightest of favourites. It's quite likely that I have completely misread things again.

Got to be possible, in this dreary winter, that we'll be looking at another miserable day, so I feel that the game will be one of those that you could describe as "fascinating" or "pulsating", rather than expansive, but it should be a titanic arm-wrestle with very little or nothing between the sides. Tryless again may not be the worst bet in the world.

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Post by ChequeredJersey Sun 09 Feb 2014, 2:49 pm

ME-109 wrote:Shouldnt you change it to England (plus a couple of South Sea Islanders and a New Zealander) versus Ireland?

Absolutely:

England, plus a kiwi, plus 2 Tongans, plus a Samoan, plus a Cornishman with a Rhodesian on the bench, vs Ireland plus an Israeli with a Kiwi on the bench, managed by a Kiwi
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Post by ChequeredJersey Sun 09 Feb 2014, 2:52 pm

TJ wrote:I suspect a tense low scoring affair with defences dominating.  Mind you I thought Wales / Ireland would be a close fought game.

If Ireland can get ahead early and get the pressure on then they should win.  Force Farrell ever deeper in search of time on the ball and press the centres suffocating them as they successfully did to wales.  Ireland will have to play well to win but I have them as favourites.  England will need composure when defending and to be flexible and tactically astute to win.  If they can do this then they are really on their way to becoming a good team.  I suspect brittleness under pressure will be their undoing and Ireland will provide the pressure.  Where do you attack ireland?  What is their weakness to go for?

Looking forward to it.

Look to target the scrum- they'll try and do the same of course. Think there are areas eithe side could come up on top in, like the breakdown. But, essentially, get in Sexton's face. If he collapses, Ireland lose. If he plays well, Ireland probably win
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Post by ME-109 Sun 09 Feb 2014, 2:55 pm

ChequeredJersey wrote:
ME-109 wrote:Shouldnt you change it to England (plus a couple of South Sea Islanders and a New Zealander) versus Ireland?

Absolutely:

England, plus a kiwi, plus 2 Tongans, plus a Samoan, plus a Cornishman with a Rhodesian on the bench, vs Ireland plus an Israeli with a Kiwi on the bench, managed by a Kiwi

You forgot the West Indian and the Italian-American

Not sure how Brigadier General Heaslip (ret) of the Irish Defence Forces would feel about his son being described as an Israeli given he was born while said Brigadier was serving with the UN...but fair enough

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Post by TJ Sun 09 Feb 2014, 2:56 pm

Irish scrum looked OK against Wales did it not? Get in Sextons face - not a bad call but I suspect he is so full of confidence he will be able to negate that

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Post by quinsforever Sun 09 Feb 2014, 2:58 pm

going to be a great game.

heart says england, head says england, just.

home advantage, similar packs, sexton slightly better tactical kicker than farrell, lineouts similar (until youngs comes on obviously), both 10s roughly equal place kickers. but i just think that england are going to edge the open play battle, both in the forwards and in the backs. scotland were poor, but to restrict them to less than 1% of the second half in the english 22 is very impressive no matter who one is playing against.

have been very pleased and impressed with burrell's lines of attack for england (2 tries 2 games) and nowell did really well yesterday in very boggy conditions. May also was a real handful.

these new real attacking threats, combined with a really strong, fluent, cohesive pack, will stretch ireland a bit more than wales ever could (wales 9 and 10 never once unleashed the attacking threats outside them). hopefully enough to get the win Smile

anyway, good luck to everyone, should be a cracker.


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Post by ChequeredJersey Sun 09 Feb 2014, 2:59 pm

ME-109 wrote:
ChequeredJersey wrote:
ME-109 wrote:Shouldnt you change it to England (plus a couple of South Sea Islanders and a New Zealander) versus Ireland?

Absolutely:

England, plus a kiwi, plus 2 Tongans, plus a Samoan, plus a Cornishman with a Rhodesian on the bench, vs Ireland plus an Israeli with a Kiwi on the bench, managed by a Kiwi

You forgot the West Indian and the Italian-American

Not sure how Brigadier General Heaslip (ret) of the Irish Defence Forces would feel about his son being described as an Israeli given he was born while said Brigadier was serving with the UN...but fair enough


I also forgot Manu would still be unfit!

Similar to how the Vunipolas would feel being implied to not be English, I think! Barritt, I'd give you...

Who's the West Indian?
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Post by ME-109 Sun 09 Feb 2014, 3:01 pm

Marland Yarde - St Lucia...

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Post by ChequeredJersey Sun 09 Feb 2014, 3:03 pm

TJ wrote:Irish scrum looked OK against Wales did it not?  Get in Sextons face - not a bad call but I suspect he is so full of confidence he will be able to negate that

Think (hope?) based on Italy and the form in other competitions of Jones and Jenkins that Welsh scrum is weaker than last year, age or new laws or form or whatever reason. I think Marler will give Ross a good scrummage so it depends if Cole can get some form back vs Healy really
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Post by ChequeredJersey Sun 09 Feb 2014, 3:04 pm

ME-109 wrote:Marland Yarde - St Lucia...

Ah, OK. He's injured though. Hence the Cornishman
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Post by yappysnap Sun 09 Feb 2014, 3:46 pm

I think England could really struggle here. Ireland's aggressive defence could put a stop to the new look Farrell and when under pressure he and 36 both get sloppy.

Unless our scrum gets significantly better which means Cole gets gingered up and SL tells Launchberry the Irish insulted his mother then our forwards may struggle to impose themselves going forward.

On the other hand it is our first game at home though, the players will want to put in a good shift for the home crowd and the pitch should be a lot better then either of the bogs we've experienced so far, so if we experience the kind of possession stats we had against Scotland then perhaps we could be a little more clinical.

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Post by ChequeredJersey Sun 09 Feb 2014, 3:50 pm

yappysnap wrote:I think England could really struggle here. Ireland's aggressive defence could put a stop to the new look Farrell and when under pressure he and 36 both get sloppy.

Unless our scrum gets significantly better which means Cole gets gingered up and SL tells Launchberry the Irish insulted his mother then our forwards may struggle to impose themselves going forward.

On the other hand it is our first game at home though, the players will want to put in a good shift for the home crowd and the pitch should be a lot better then either of the bogs we've experienced so far, so if we experience the kind of possession stats we had against Scotland then perhaps we could be a little more clinical.


The risk in that kind of defence is it has to be really really tight. Rush the 10 too much and you leave space for Billy V and Care and that will be punished
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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Sun 09 Feb 2014, 3:57 pm

There are going to be some fascinating battles in a couple of weeks.

I think that England have the advantage in the front row, the Irish props are biggish lads, Cole always prefers someone his own size, Marler is becoming a very proficient scrummager and is keeping one of the finds of the Lions tour out of the side by his scrimmage. Hartley I think is a step up from best and his lineout throwing is as good as any bodies

Locks, Ireland probably have more grunt, but POC doesn't get about as much as he used to and gets replaced early. Launchbury and Lawes are becoming a fantastic pairing, Lawes is becoming the new O'Connell in the way he runs the lineout and makes big impacts shall we say all over the field. Ireland are possibly better jumpers in the lineout as long as Best doesn't get the jitters. If Lawes or Wood nick one or two early it might put the pressure on.

Backrow, I would say man for man Ireland all the way, but the England back row is greater than the sum of it's parts. This will be an interesting one.

Half backs, probably Ireland, but Care is on fire and he will keep Henry honest, Farrell needs to be at his best and attack Sexton both in attack and defence. A couple of Lawes tackles on Sexton early on may take the steam out of Sexton, it does out of most 10s, but Sexton is a big lad similar to Farrell, will be a great contest, Farrell the better points machine and defender, Sexton the better positional kicker and attacker.

Centres, BOD, what can you say, a legend. the trouble with legends is that their best is usually in the past. I have not seen anything so far this 6N to say he is his old self. I have never been a fan of Darcy, but he works well with BOD. Reminds me of John Spencer playing inside David Duckham, picked purely because he was a good foil, not the best 12. 36 and Burrell are too new to know what will happen. So far so good as they say. Defensively they have looked good and seem to form a good combo. Both big lumps, Burrell is frightening the pace he can generate over a short distance and at 17st plus he takes some stopping. I have seen him burn up the outside of a few good 13s for Saints this season. The Irish are going to be black and blue trying to stop these two if England get good ball.

Back three, both 15s playing out of their skins, relatively new wingers (I know Trimble has quite a few caps, but they are scattered). May and Trimble are very similar players, both mazy runners who are hard to get hold of, May is quicker (10.7 sec 100m), Trimble probably more physical. Nowell and Kierney, both too new to know.

I would say that they are so evenly matched that it will be very close, home advantage I hope will push it England's way, unless we keep that same bench than we will lose the lineouts and become bogged down with mediocrity in midfield on 60 minutes.

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Post by TJ Sun 09 Feb 2014, 3:57 pm

Farrell will have to change the game up - chips over the top and so on to discourage the blitz

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Post by yappysnap Sun 09 Feb 2014, 4:10 pm

To be fair he did exactly that last season against blitz D's, he also didn't have the hands or running game of this years Owen Farrell so we shall see.

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Post by TJ Sun 09 Feb 2014, 4:15 pm

I think it will be a real test of Farrell for sure. We we see the iceman or will he lose the plot? Will he have the ability to vary his game or will the defence get to him? a critical aspect for England.

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Post by Breadvan Sun 09 Feb 2014, 4:42 pm

ME-109 wrote:Shouldnt you change it to England (plus a couple of South Sea Islanders and a New Zealander) versus Ireland?

Jerkass...
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Post by yappysnap Sun 09 Feb 2014, 4:50 pm

TJ wrote:I think it will be a real test of Farrell for sure.  We we see the iceman or will he lose the plot?  Will he have the ability to vary his game or will the defence get to him?  a critical aspect for England.  

Isn't the 10 pretty critical for every team?

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Post by Chjw131 Sun 09 Feb 2014, 4:59 pm

ME-109 wrote:Shouldnt you change it to England (plus a couple of South Sea Islanders and a New Zealander) versus Ireland?

I think the Vunipolas might have something to say on that subject. Brad Barritt you've missed as a South African.

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Post by Duty281 Sun 09 Feb 2014, 5:03 pm

England should win the forwards battle - they have done against Ireland for the past two games, and you can really see what Lancaster's lads are capable of in the game against New Zealand.

That's the key to this game. I think England will win with comfort, a margin of 10-15 or so, but please England - don't fall into that old failing that cost you against France and New Zealand...start from the first whistle!

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Post by TJ Sun 09 Feb 2014, 5:04 pm

yappysnap wrote:
TJ wrote:I think it will be a real test of Farrell for sure.  We we see the iceman or will he lose the plot?  Will he have the ability to vary his game or will the defence get to him?  a critical aspect for England.  

Isn't the 10 pretty critical for every team?

Of course but this will be even more so. If Farrell can find the plays to negate the Irish defence they have a chance. I doubt he has the ability but its on occasions like this we find out just how good he is. Its easier to look OK at 10 behind a dominent pack and against a defence who are not in your face every time you get the ball. Ireland completely negated the Welsh backs by denying them time and space

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Post by Chjw131 Sun 09 Feb 2014, 5:07 pm

WELL-PAST-IT wrote:There are going to be some fascinating battles in a couple of weeks.

I think that England have the advantage in the front row, the Irish props are biggish lads, Cole always prefers someone his own size, Marler is becoming a very proficient scrummager and is keeping one of the finds of the Lions tour out of the side by his scrimmage. Hartley I think is a step up from best and his lineout throwing is as good as any bodies

Locks, Ireland probably have more grunt, but POC doesn't get about as much as he used to and gets replaced early. Launchbury and Lawes are becoming a fantastic pairing, Lawes is becoming the new O'Connell in the way he runs the lineout and makes big impacts shall we say all over the field. Ireland are possibly better jumpers in the lineout as long as Best doesn't get the jitters. If Lawes or Wood nick one or two early it might put the pressure on.

Backrow, I would say man for man Ireland all the way, but the England back row is greater than the sum of it's parts. This will be an interesting one.

Half backs, probably Ireland, but Care is on fire and he will keep Henry honest, Farrell needs to be at his best and attack Sexton both in attack and defence. A couple of Lawes tackles on Sexton early on may take the steam out of Sexton, it does out of most 10s, but Sexton is a big lad similar to Farrell, will be a great contest, Farrell the better points machine and defender, Sexton the better positional kicker and attacker.

Centres, BOD, what can you say, a legend. the trouble with legends is that their best is usually in the past. I have not seen anything so far this 6N to say he is his old self. I have never been a fan of Darcy, but he works well with BOD. Reminds me of John Spencer playing inside David Duckham, picked purely because he was a good foil, not the best 12. 36 and Burrell are too new to know what will happen. So far so good as they say. Defensively they have looked good and seem to form a good combo. Both big lumps, Burrell is frightening the pace he can generate over a short distance and at 17st plus he takes some stopping. I have seen him burn up the outside of a few good 13s for Saints this season. The Irish are going to be black and blue trying to stop these two if England get good ball.

Back three, both 15s playing out of their skins, relatively new wingers (I know Trimble has quite a few caps, but they are scattered). May and Trimble are very similar players, both mazy runners who are hard to get hold of, May is quicker (10.7 sec 100m), Trimble probably more physical.  Nowell and Kierney, both too new to know.

I would say that they are so evenly matched that it will be very close, home advantage I hope will push it England's way, unless we keep that same bench than we will lose the lineouts and become bogged down with mediocrity in midfield on 60 minutes.


Broadly I would agree. Although I don't the Toner and POC are exactly renowned as the most powerful locking combination on the world stage! I think Launchbury and Lawes edge it in that area. Particularly if you condider Attwood will be on the bench or starting instead of Launchbury.

The back row I don't see as definitively Ireland's either. POM has been good in the tackle and on the floor likewise Henry. I would say Wood and Robshaw are equally skilled there. Wood on his day is the best of the bunch. Heaslip doesn't play in the manner I like my 8s to and I'd have Billy and Morgan ahead of him.

What Ireland lack up front are enough good carriers in my opinion. Healy is awesome but aside from that only POM and POC really offer themselves and they don't make that many hard yards.

In the backs I'd have Ireland way ahead at 10 and 15 perhaps less so on the wings. I still think that Irish centre partnership has to change. I expect it to be a relatively limited gameplan from Schmidt designed around negating our runners.

The Irish will be keyed up but I think we might be equally driven for once. If we have any aspirations to the top tier of rugby we need to beat them well.

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Post by TJ Sun 09 Feb 2014, 5:10 pm

I think the key advantage for Ireland will be the breakdown. It was an absolute masterclass against Wales and I have never seen England contest the breakdown as well stealing so much ball without giving away pens

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Post by SecretFly Sun 09 Feb 2014, 5:19 pm

Chjw131 wrote: I expect it to be a relatively limited gameplan from Schmidt designed around negating our runners.

The Irish will be keyed up but I think we might be equally driven for once. If we have any aspirations to the top tier of rugby we need to beat them well.

'Limited' is a relative term...certainly in Schmidt's book.  Limited is used to win a game, just as expansive might be.  He has history of both, with many of the same players he uses now.  The game against Wales was 'limited' but it achieved the ends designed for it - cutting the dash out of dashing Wales.  It doesn't mean the Irish can't do dashing themselves.  'Limited' - even under the failing tenure of Kidney, the Irish showed themselves well able to be much more than limited.

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Post by doctor_grey Sun 09 Feb 2014, 5:19 pm

Jeez,
It's too early for me to start thinking about this match. Except it should be terrific (hopefully with an England win).

It is a bit hard to know how good Ireland or England are at the moment. Ireland and England defeated Scotland by roughly similar scorelines. Ireland had that dominating performance against Wales, but which Wales were they? The team which half-populated the Lions or the one which laboured a bit against Italy? And England giving up that late lead against France, so it is hard to know how solid they are in crunch time. We can analyse to death but it doesn't mean much. In a fortnight we will know.

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Post by ChequeredJersey Sun 09 Feb 2014, 5:23 pm

TJ wrote:I think the key advantage for Ireland will be the breakdown.  It was an absolute masterclass against Wales and I have never seen England contest the breakdown as well stealing so much ball without giving away pens

NZ 2012? SA in SA 2012?
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Post by majesticimperialman Sun 09 Feb 2014, 5:24 pm

I think this game will be a battle royal to be honest. Ireland going for the tripple crown, England playing for a chance to win the tournament.

The Scrum and the Line out will be interesting. Ireland have the experince in the front row, so will be interesting to see how that goes.

Regarding the line out, O'connel against Lawes will be a good game. and of course the break down both teams will want to dominate the break down, and both team will not want to give away easy penalties in kickable range for either kicker.

You noticed yesterday the Ireland did not give Wales any chance of easy 3 pointer.

If Ireland do win then it will be Ireland v France on the final week end of the 6ns. And that is too close to call.

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Post by Peter Seabiscuit Wheeler Sun 09 Feb 2014, 5:28 pm

ChequeredJersey wrote:
ME-109 wrote:
ChequeredJersey wrote:
ME-109 wrote:Shouldnt you change it to England (plus a couple of South Sea Islanders and a New Zealander) versus Ireland?

Absolutely:

England, plus a kiwi, plus 2 Tongans, plus a Samoan, plus a Cornishman with a Rhodesian on the bench, vs Ireland plus an Israeli with a Kiwi on the bench, managed by a Kiwi

You forgot the West Indian and the Italian-American

Not sure how Brigadier General Heaslip (ret) of the Irish Defence Forces would feel about his son being described as an Israeli given he was born while said Brigadier was serving with the UN...but fair enough


I also forgot Manu would still be unfit!

Similar to how the Vunipolas would feel being implied to not be English, I think! Barritt, I'd give you...

Who's the West Indian?


Look you know this will lead to a debate about UK citizens not being irish ...do you really want to go there?


Burell played 7s for (Jamaica?) ...hes about as west indian as reggae reggae sauce though

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Post by TJ Sun 09 Feb 2014, 5:30 pm

ChequeredJersey wrote:
TJ wrote:I think the key advantage for Ireland will be the breakdown.  It was an absolute masterclass against Wales and I have never seen England contest the breakdown as well stealing so much ball without giving away pens

NZ 2012? SA  in SA 2012?

If you say so. I thought it was an absolute masterclass from the Irish

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Post by ChequeredJersey Sun 09 Feb 2014, 5:32 pm

TJ wrote:
ChequeredJersey wrote:
TJ wrote:I think the key advantage for Ireland will be the breakdown.  It was an absolute masterclass against Wales and I have never seen England contest the breakdown as well stealing so much ball without giving away pens

NZ 2012? SA  in SA 2012?

If you say so.  I thought it was an absolute masterclass from the Irish

It was rather good. As doc says, let's see what happens in 2 weeks
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Post by SecretFly Sun 09 Feb 2014, 5:32 pm

We might never know how good the Wales team were against Ireland as that's the game they had keyed in as a must win for their attack on the triple win record.  That they lost by such a score could now dampen their mood completely (giving the rest of you an easier time than had they gone on an won against the Irish Wink)

Maybe.  And maybe they'll come back fighting like last year.  They're not out of the equation yet by a long shot and I really don't see them giving France as easy a time as Italy did!!  

England look the consistently fastest side over 80 minutes so far.  They have an engine that keeps going but have they really hit something that has the guile to stop it in its tracks yet (even France, although they won, didn't have much in their design to stop English momentum).
Ireland won one way.  Will that become their 6N blueprint and will better sides than Wales proved to be work it out and nobble it?  Or do Ireland have more tricks in their locker?
As you say Doc - we'll see when the time comes.

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Post by Peter Seabiscuit Wheeler Sun 09 Feb 2014, 5:34 pm

Last time they played england won the turnover count 15 to 6

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Post by SecretFly Sun 09 Feb 2014, 5:35 pm

Peter Seabiscuit Wheeler wrote:Last time they played england won the turnover count 15 to 6

Last time we were 2nd last. And France were bottom. Does France look like it'll be bottom again this year?

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Post by Artful_Dodger Sun 09 Feb 2014, 5:36 pm

All I'm going to say it that I have a lot of faith in Joe Schmidt's game plan and that I think for England to beat us I think they will have to put in something very special in every area of the pitch. I'm really starting to see Schmidt as a strategic and tactical genius.

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Post by Peter Seabiscuit Wheeler Sun 09 Feb 2014, 5:37 pm

SecretFly wrote:
Peter Seabiscuit Wheeler wrote:Last time they played england won the turnover count 15 to 6

Last time we were 2nd last.  And France were bottom.  Does France look like it'll be bottom again this year?

Do England?

Dont worry well let you have second again  Hug 

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Post by SecretFly Sun 09 Feb 2014, 5:44 pm

Artful_Dodger wrote:All I'm going to say it that I have a lot of faith in Joe Schmidt's game plan and that I think for England to beat us I think they will have to put in something very special in every area of the pitch.  I'm really starting to see Schmidt as a strategic and tactical genius.  

Easy Dodger.... even if you believe it, whisper it or say it to yourself. Donal Lenihan was doing the bizz yesterday in commentary mid-game - saying how Wales looked out of it, spent, not at the races etc. All of which might have been true, but the number of times that man has mucked up a perfect day with his premature celebrations...... Let's not jinx any party. Wink

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Post by SecretFly Sun 09 Feb 2014, 5:45 pm

Peter Seabiscuit Wheeler wrote:
SecretFly wrote:
Peter Seabiscuit Wheeler wrote:Last time they played england won the turnover count 15 to 6

Last time we were 2nd last.  And France were bottom.  Does France look like it'll be bottom again this year?

Do England?

Dont worry well let you have second again  Hug 

Do England what? Look like a good 2nd bet this year too? Yeah, they do. They're pretty damn good Wink

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Post by ME-109 Sun 09 Feb 2014, 5:48 pm

Chjw131 wrote:
ME-109 wrote:Shouldnt you change it to England (plus a couple of South Sea Islanders and a New Zealander) versus Ireland?

I think the Vunipolas might have something to say on that subject. Brad Barritt you've missed as a South African.

Yeah missed that. Must be the way he plays that fooled me...

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Post by Guest Sun 09 Feb 2014, 5:48 pm

OBrien is a big loss for Ireland as a ball carrier in the pack whereas England appear to now have several options.  Both teams have a functional set piece without being particularly threatening although Cole will squeeze Healy as per last year.  Murray is a threat and could well get the better of Care but Wales and Philips were poor on Saturday so not straightforward to compare. Just as the Irish back row had a field day as the Welsh were so slow in their arrival and recycle of the ball. Not convinced on the balance of the English back row but then they did get the upper hand on a very powerful French combination.

Who is the ref ? If from the SH then the visitors might be marginal favourites as Englands record with SH refs is poor.

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Post by SecretFly Sun 09 Feb 2014, 5:56 pm

Ireland's record under Barnes is even worse...so there is always hope for a change of mind in refs, Rec.

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Post by englandglory4ever Sun 09 Feb 2014, 5:56 pm

England must cut T Youngs loose. Can't afford another bad day from him. Farrell has coped with NZ very well indeed so Sexton shouldn't be any more of a problem. The English pack should be more than a match for the Ireland 8. That should be enough to win. Kearney was magnificent competing for the high ball. His contest with Mike Brown will be interesting.

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Post by the-goon Sun 09 Feb 2014, 6:00 pm

Some very confident England fans on here...

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Post by SecretFly Sun 09 Feb 2014, 6:09 pm

Given that there was a week-long debate about who was favourite between two times Champions and a team that came in 2nd last last year! I said Wales had to arrive as favourites or else just call the whole 6N off as a yard stick on quality.

So... England are out and out favourites for this one?

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Post by Notch Sun 09 Feb 2014, 6:13 pm

England are the only team to have won a game away from home. Given it's Twickenham, they have had a considerably better record than us recently, and it's win or bust for them they surely have to be favourites?
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Post by DaveM Sun 09 Feb 2014, 6:18 pm

I don't normally make predictions, but with England at home I expect an England win. I'd be surprised to see anyone get the better of this England pack at Twickenham, and one of the things England have improved massively at is the breakdown where they pretty consistently generate quick ball these days. The other thing they've improved is the ability to carry and that is making things much easier for the backs. My main concern would be the scrum, where England don't quite look right yet. That and Tom Youngs' throwing.

The backs have loads of potential, and I'm really looking forward to seeing them on a decent pitch in (hopefully) reasonable conditions.

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Post by ME-109 Sun 09 Feb 2014, 6:24 pm

England at home....have to be favourites...but it will be fun...

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