Stephen Ferris on England v Ireland in the Autumn Nations Cup
Well, what a game this could be. Both sides are playing some really good rugby at the minute and with Ireland losing their last three test matches against England, they will be out for revenge.
If Ireland are to be have a chance of winning this match then they must better England’s physicality all over the pitch. Scrum, lineout, the breakdown, maul attack, defence and of course, the contact in the tackle on both sides of the ball.
The World witnessed South Africa take England to the cleaners at scrum time in the Rugby World Cup final in 2019. When you take the power game away from the English they do seem to stutter at times. However, Ireland aren’t South Africa, and they are going to have to come up with a very smart game plan to come away with a win away at Twickenham.
The odds are stacked against Ireland without Jonny Sexton and Robbie Henshaw who both started last week’s game against Wales. Tadgh Furlong and Gary Ringrose are also on the injury list. Ross Byrne has very little rugby under his belt. While Conor Murray’s on the bench once again who has been the heartbeat of Irish rugby over the last five years, plus there are a few more excuses that could be used to underperform.
Nonetheless with injuries and loss of form to some, this provides opportunity for others to shine. A new combination in the back row with Peter O’Mahony, Caelan Doris and CJ Stander looks very exciting. Bundee Aki and Chris Farrell will bring lots of physicality in the midfield, plus the biggest talking point coming out of the Ireland squad is James Ryan’s captaincy.
I give Ireland a fighting chance in this second round of the Autumn Nations Cup, and I certainly don’t see them rolling over like they have done in the past against the mighty England.
Ireland need to be error free and not let England get away from them early on. As the handicap’ around 12 points in England’s favour we know that they are huge favourites.
The 1/6 for England to win the match is certainly not great value for money, and in my opinion it’s all about how close Ireland will get to beating that handicap. I’m predicting an English victory of course, and with no screaming fans in Twickenham roaring their side on, then Ireland might get close to the 12 points.
What an England team it is! A full-strength team picked by Eddie Jones which says they’re out to make another statement to Ireland. The two Vunipola brothers starting, Kyle Sinckler back at tight head, Maro Itoje in the engine room, and a backrow that’s dominated Ireland in previous games.
This starting pack screams power, power, power. And, they have a fully loaded bench to come on when the big lads get tired. What a test this is going to be for a reshuffled Irish side.
An outside bet is a Draw on the handicap at 25/1.
Jamie George scored a hat-trick last week against Georgia and it would be hard to look past him for the first try of the game. It’s been the big boys up front who’ve been doing the damage for England and any of the starting pack would be backing themselves to get over the whitewash for a try!
Prediction- England -12 on the handicap.
First try- Jamie George- Hugo Keenan for Ireland
Tip- Draw on points handicap at 25/1
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing