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Preview: Ireland v England

Preview: Ireland v England

Preview: Ireland v England

England edged past Wales in the Summer Nations Series last weekend, but they will face an even tougher test on Saturday when they face 2023 Guinness Six Nations Grand Slam winners Ireland at Aviva Stadium. 

Steve Borthwick’s side bounced back from a 20-9 defeat at Principality Stadium with a 19-17 victory at Twickenham in Round 2, but they are still yet to hit their stride ahead of the World Cup next month. 

Andy Farrell’s team will be competing in their second match of the 2023 Summer Nations Series having beaten Italy 33-17 in Round 1.

So, ahead of the latest edition of one of rugby’s most mouth-watering fixtures, let’s take a closer look at the two squads.  

Team News

Keith Earls looks set to become only the ninth player to reach 100 Test caps for Ireland on Saturday. 

The winger, who made his international debut against Canada in November 2008, will start on the bench at Aviva Stadium. 

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Farrell has named a strong starting XV, with the two big decisions coming at No.8, where Cian Prendergast looks set to win his first start, and at inside centre where Bundee Aki has a chance to cement his place in the starting XV in France. 

Borthwick has made six changes to the starting XV from the win against Wales, with George Ford set to start for the first time in two years.

Courtney Lawes will captain the side, with Ellis Genge and David Ribbans coming back into the pack. 

Ben Youngs starts at nine, Manu Tuilagi will make his first start of the Summer Nations Series in the centres and Anthony Watson will also return to the team on the wing. 

Ones to watch

The Summer Nations Series is the perfect opportunity for players to prove their fitness and claw their way onto the plane to France. 

Billy Vunipola knows he will be at the 2023 Rugby World Cup already, but now he has to prove he is fit enough to make a big impact at the tournament. 

He played 61 minutes against Wales last week, his first appearance since being subbed off for Saracens against La Rochelle in April with a knee injury. 

At his best, Vunipola is one of the most feared ball carriers in the world, and there is no better way to prove he is ready for France than a strong performance against the world’s No.1 ranked side. 

Ireland are yet to name their squad for the World Cup, so Saturday could be the last chance for exciting young prospect Prendergast to impress. 

The prodigious No.8 is just 23 years old and has only two caps to his name, but nonetheless, he will start in an incredibly strong side this weekend. 

A fine performance could be enough to guarantee a place in Farrell’s squad. 

Stat Attack

● Ireland have won their last three Test matches against England after losing each of their previous four, however, they haven’t won four in a row against England since 2004-2007 (W4); the team leading at half-time has gone on to win each of the last 18 matches between these two sides. 

● Ireland have won each of their last 11 Test matches, their second longest winning run in Test rugby; they could equal their longest such run with victory against England, having previously won 12 straight Tests between 2017 and 2018. 

● Ireland have won 24 of their last 25 Test matches on home soil, including each of their last 15 – their longest winning run at home in Test rugby; Ireland have scored 4+ tries in each of their last three home matches. 


Ireland: 15, Hugo Keenan, 14. Mack Hansen, 13, Garry Ringrose, 12. Bundee Aki, 11. James Lowe, 10. Ross Byrne, 9. Jamison Gibson-Park, 1. Andrew Porter, 2. Dan Sheehan, 3. Tadhg Furlong, 4. Tadhg Beirne, 5. James Ryan, 6. Peter O’Mahony, 7. Josh van der Flier, 8. Cian Prenergast.

Replacements: 16. Rob Herring, 17. Jeremy Loughman, 18. Finlay Bealham, 19. Joe McCarthy, 20. Caelan Doris, 21. Conor Murray, 22. Jack Crowley, 23. Keith Earls

England: 15. Freddie Steward, 14. Anthony Watson, 13. Joe Marchant, 12. Manu Tuilagi, 11. Elliot Daly, 10. George Ford, 9. Ben Youngs, 1. Ellis Genge, 2. Jamie George, 3. Will Stuart, 4. Maro Itoje, 5. David Ribbans, 6. Courtney Lawes, 7. Ben Earl, 8. Billy Vunipola

Replacements: 16. Theo Dan, 17. Joe Marler, 18. Kyle Sinckler, 19. Ollie Chessum, 20. Jack Willis, 21. Danny Care, 22. Marcus Smith, 23. Ollie Lawrence

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