ENS discussed the match with Ireland and Leicester legend Geordan Murphy. A win on Saturday would give Martin Johnson’s men their first Grand Slam since the demolition of Ireland in 2003, although England will be wary that they have only beaten their Celtic neighbours once in their previous seven 6 Nations encounters.
“The head says England but the heart says Ireland. Everything suggests that England should clinch their first Grand Slam for seven years with some ease but it is rarely that simple when they come to Dublin. Although we have no Grand Slam, Championship or even Triple Crown to play for, it would mean an incredible amount to the Irish people to rain on England’s parade. However, we are going to have to improve drastically on our performance in Cardiff last week to challenge an England side full of confidence.
Most importantly we need to be much more clinical in the opposition’s red zone. We will need to take every chance that comes our way against England as they have the best defence in the tournament, along with Ireland, conceding only three tries so far.
The Ronan O’Gara and Jonny Sexton debate will continue up to the World Cup and it is a very tough one to call from an Irish perspective. I have played countless times with Ronan and know first hand the effectiveness of his game management but Jonny is also a fantastic player and will only improve as times goes on.
I think Saturday’s match is huge, not only in terms of determining the outcome of this year’s 6 Nations Championship but also in regards to the World Cup. We know that England have got a habit of producing their best rugby in World Cup years and to go to New Zealand on the back of a Grand Slam would be a huge confidence boost for them – just look at what happened in 2003 after they claimed the Grand Slam in Dublin. For Ireland, we know as a collective that we have the ability to beat any team in the world on our day and a win over England would reinstate that belief in the squad, providing the base for a successful World Cup campaign.”