England head into Saturday’s match as overwhelming underdogs against current number one side Ireland in the final match of this year’s Six Nations championship. The Irish, if they win, will collect the title as well as the grand slam and the triple crown in front of their own fans at the Aviva Stadium.
Unbeaten so far, Ireland will fancy their chances against a wounded England side fresh off the back off a record home defeat against France last week. This being said, England fly half Marcus Smith remains optimistic about the game:
“We’re in a tough period at the minute and it’s perfect for us,
“We’ve got to get better quickly because the challenge doesn’t come much greater than Ireland away in Dublin.
“There’s only one way to go now and that’s to stand up and fight as hard as we can and play as hard as we can for the shirt.
“We’ve spoken about sticking together because there’s going to be a lot of noise and a lot of pressure on us. We’ve got to become tighter as opposed to splinter.
“This is a big test of our togetherness as a squad and of our resolve. There’s no better week for this than a free swing at Ireland.”
It will come as a shock to many if England are able to squeeze a result against the all-firing Irish on their own turf, especially considering the rich vain of form the emerald isle find themselves in. Should Ireland do what’s expected of them, however, and claim the grand slam with victory over the English, it will make a huge statement for their World Cup challenge in little over six months time.
The world cup is just over the horizon and Ireland have never been in a better position heading into the biggest stage of all, with many putting them alongside hosts France as firm favourites. Ireland have never had huge amounts of luck when it comes to the world cup, but very few would bet against them this time around.