England vs Ireland preview:

This is going to be a massive game and probably the game to watch this weekend. If the conditions are better than what they were against Scotland this game is going to be a thriller. The English who bounced back against Scotland after losing to France in their first game are coming in onto this game with some confidence. The Irish who are unbeaten this far are going to Twickenham on a high and will want to keep their grand slam hopes alive. Neither one of these teams have found their best form, but if there was ever a game to do so, this would be it. The English are going to try and use their forward pack to set up a good base to attack from and in free play they will want to clean out rucks quickly and give quick ball to their very dangerous backline. Ford who is playing at 10 again will have a massive job on his shoulders because he is the person that is responsible for distributing the ball to his outside backs. If the Irish are able to put him under pressure like the Bokks did in the World-Cup final he will not be able to get the ball out wide and it will make it easy to defend against them. The Irish will look to do the same and their flyhalf Sexton is also the key to their attacking structure. He will direct the traffic and if his team can’t get go forward he has the know how to put the ball on the boot and start playing deep inside the English half again. Both teams are matched up perfectly and it is very hard to see one team dominate one faze of the game. That is why this is going to be one of the most exiting games to watch this far in the comp.

Key match ups:

Maro Itoje vs James Ryan: These two are two of the best locks in the northern hemisphere and they will battle it out for supremacy. They are both great line out jumpers and are two of the best defenders in the world. Maro is a very great defender and one of the things that he brings to the game that not a lot of locks do is his work at the breakdown. He gets more than his share of turnovers and penalties and that makes it easier on the teams loose forwards and they share their work load between all of them. James gives this team a hand up in the physical part of the game and will carry hard and try to get over the gain line. He will also help his team clean out the ruck quickly so that they can get quick ball and get their backline moving.

George Ford vs Johnny Sexton: The teams play makers. These two will have to control the game with the boot and their decision making. Both of these are world class 10’s and can take the game away from the other team in a matter of seconds and that is why the defending team will have to keep an eye on them. I believe that these two players are going to be the vital point of each team. They will control the game and the player who gets the upper hand in that department of the game will give their team a great chance to win.

Teams:

Starting XV
Joe Marler1Cian Healy
Jamie George2Rob Herring
Kyle Sinckler3Tadhg Furlong
Maro Itoje4Devin Toner
George Kruis5James Ryan
Courtney Lawes6Peter O’Mahony
Sam Underhill7Josh van der Flier
Thomas Curry8CJ Stander
Ben Youngs9Conor Murray
George Ford10Johnny Sexton
Jonathan Joseph11Jacob Stockdale
Owen Farrell12Bundee Aki
Manu Tuilagi13Robbie Henshaw
Jonny May14Andrew Conway
Elliot Daly15Jordan Larmour
Bench
Luke Cowan-Dickie16Ronan Kelleher
Ellis Genge17Dave Kilcoyne
Will Stuart18Andrew Porter
Joe Launchbury19Ultan Dillane
Charlie Ewels20Caelan Doris
Ben Earl21John Cooney
Willi Heinz22Ross Byrne
Henry Slade23Keith Earls

My Prediction:

I think this is going to be a thrilling game and definitely worth watching. I also think that the Irish are going to win the game and keep their hopes of a grand slam alive.

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