Ireland were absolutely brilliant for the first half of their convincing 30-22 victory over Wales in Cardiff last Saturday – but the score doesn’t come anywhere near telling the whole tale.
Declan Kidney’s men were imperious in the first 40 minutes (helped admittedly by some dire Welsh decision-making) but shipped 19 points in the second to see the game finish a lot closer than it maybe should have.
They host England this weekend and head into the match as the joint 1/1 favourites but will need to be a lot better over the 80 minutes to get another win in this season’s Six Nations.
They certainly have recent history on their side in the Irish capital.
Ireland have not lost at home in the Six Nations to England in ten years and swept them aside 24-8 in their last championship encounter in Ireland.
However, England have won their last two matches and were extremely convincing against Scotland, suggesting that Stuart Lancaster’s quiet revolution is starting to pay dividends.
Owen Farrell has been in excellent form and the debut of his midfield partner Billy Twelvetrees should give England plenty of confidence to get the ball moving.
Twelvetrees debut was so impressive that Manu Tuilagi has only made it to the bench for this clash against Ireland.
Ireland took a defensive pounding against Wales in the second half in Cardiff and, with Kidney naming an unchanged team, the brutal nature of the Six Nations could already come into play for this match.
It promises to be a tough task for England but, with Lancaster’s men showing genuine signs of improvement, backing them to keep their Grand Slam bid on track looks well worth consideration at 1/1.
ODDS CORRECT AT TIME OF PUBLICATION