Andy Farrell will be delighted his Ireland side are level on points with France at the head of the table following back-to-back victories over Scotland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium.
However, their opener was less than convincing over the Scots, who saw their captain drop the ball over the line when trailing by just six points, while the Welsh game could’ve gone either way.
England on the other hand, were woeful in their opening 45 minutes of the tournament, but since going in at half time 17-0 down at the Stade de France, they’ve since won their subsequent three halves of rugby against both France and Scotland.
England To Beat Ireland
The key factor in this clash is the home advantage. Other than the relentless 2018 Grand Slam winning Ireland outfit and Steve Hansen’s New Zealand side that controversially won by a single point, the Red Roses have been utterly dominant at Twickenham under Eddie Jones.
Indeed, they remain unbeaten across their 22 other outings here under the Aussie coach, including a 42-point demolition job of the Irish just prior to the World Cup, and so it’s not surprising to see the hosts priced up as the favourites.
Ireland may have won six of their 10 competitive outings to Tier One nations and Japan since the start of 2019, though four of those victories came against weaker opposition in Scotland (x3) and Italy.
In fact, against the better teams that would actually give this England side a game over that period – Japan, Wales, New Zealand and England themselves – the Irish have lost four of five matches and we somewhat doubt England are going to hold back in front of their home fans for the first time in 2020.
Its an unchanged outfit for Andy Farrell’s unbeaten Irish in pursuit of their 13th Triple Crown title with a win this weekend, but that’ll be an extremely tough task at the home of rugby.
The Red Roses will be without Mako Vunipola due to family reasons, so Joe Marler returns to the starting pack having missed out last week, while the other three changes are tactical, with all of Ben Youngs, Courtney Lawes and Manu Tuilagi coming in.
England 1-12 Points
With the returns of those players as well as having won five of the six meetings between the two sides at Twickenham since 2012, we’d have to get behind the pre-tournament favourites to back up their win over Scotland last weekend.
The Irish are yet to play outside of their home country so far this competition and although they look confident, we’d be worried about their ability to replicate that home form in London.
However, with seven of the 10 clashes between the two at this stadium seeing a maximum of 11 points separate the sides since 2004, we still feel like it’ll be another close encounter and we’ll couple our bet with a 1-12 point winning margin.
ROUND TWO HIGHLIGHTS
ENGLAND V IRELAND TEAMS
England: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Jonny May, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Owen Farrell (captain), 11 Jonathan Joseph, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Tom Curry, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 George Kruis, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Joe Launchbury, 20 Charlie Ewels, 21 Ben Earl, 22 Willi Heinz, 23 Henry Slade.
Ireland: 15 Jordan Larmour, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Jonathan Sexton (captain), 9 Conor Murray, 8 Christiaan Stander, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 James Ryan, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Ronan Kelleher, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Devin Toner, 20 Caelan Doris, 21 John Cooney, 22 Ross Byrne, 23 Keith Earls.
ODDS CORRECT AS OF 14:30, 21/02/2020 BUT ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE!
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