A title defence that began terribly with two defeats in three matches against Scotland and Wales got a sizable boost last weekend after France’s Grand Slam dreams were ended late in a thrilling victory for Eddie Jones’ much-improved side at Twickenham.
England cannot hope to win the Six Nations this weekend, and the same is true for Andy Farrell’s Ireland, who narrowly saw off a spirited Scotland comeback last time out after a thumping win over Italy that followed frustrating losses at the hands of Wales and France.
However, a meeting between these two teams never lacks drama and intensity, while players will be only too keenly aware that this contest represents their last chance to impress British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland ahead of a summer series against South Africa that remains in the balance.
Ireland vs England date, time and venue
Ireland vs England is scheduled for a 4:45pm GMT kick-off on Saturday, March 20, 2021.
The match will be held behind closed doors at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin due to coronavirus restrictions.
How to watch Ireland vs England
TV channel: Ireland vs England will be broadcast live on ITV, with coverage beginning at 4pm.
Live stream: Fans can also live stream the game online via the ITV Hub or website.
Ireland vs England team news
He starts against England, while Farrell – the former England defence coach and father of Red Rose skipper Owen – makes six total alterations from the side that held off Scotland.
Conor Murray is back at scrum-half in place of Jamison Gibson-Park, while Jacob Stockdale starts on the wing and Robbie Henshaw moves to outside centre as Bundee Aki also comes into midfield. James Lowe is dropped from the matchday squad altogether and Garry Ringrose misses out through injury.
In the pack, Ireland switch Tadhg Beirne from flanker into the second row to compensate for the absence of James Ryan, Dave Kilcoyne gets the nod at loosehead prop and Josh van der Flier replaces Will Connors.
Rather than start Ollie Lawrence or recent call-up Joe Marchant, however, Jones has opted to hand Elliot Daly – replaced by Max Malins at full-back last weekend after a poor run of form – only his second England start at outside centre and first since 2016.
The pack remains the same, despite suggestions that uncapped Leicester Tigers lock George Martin, 19, was being considered for a shock maiden start.
Marchant is preferred to Paolo Odogwu on the bench, meaning the exciting wing will not play at all during the Six Nations, missing seven games for Wasps in the process.
Ireland vs England lineups
Ireland XV: Hugo Keenan, Keith Earls, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale, Johnny Sexton (c), Conor Murray, Dave Kilcoyne, Rob Herring, Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson, Tadhg Beirne, CJ Stander, Josh van der Flier, Jack Conan
Replacements: Ronan Kelleher, Cian Healy, Andrew Porter, Ryan Baird, Peter O’Mahony, Jamison Gibson-Park, Billy Burns, Jordan Larmour
England XV: Max Malins, Anthony Watson, Elliot Daly, Owen Farrell (c), Jonny May, George Ford, Ben Youngs, Mako Vunipola, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Kyle Sinckler, Maro Itoje, Charlie Ewels, Mark Wilson, Tom Curry, Billy Vunipola
Replacements: Jamie George, Ellis Genge, Will Stuart, Jonny Hill, Ben Earl, Dan Robson, Ollie Lawrence, Joe Marchant
Ireland vs England head to head history and results
Last meeting: England 18-7 Ireland (Autumn Nations Cup, 21/11/2020)
Ireland vs England prediction
The fact that neither side can hope to claim the Six Nations title should not detract from what will be a typically bruising and ferocious encounter.
England have won four matches in a row against Ireland and have had success over recent years with their sheer physicality.
Confidence should be high in the visitors’ camp after that sensational win over France and we are backing them to pull out another narrow triumph here.
Jones would surely have serious questions to answer if his side end the 2021 Six Nations with three defeats from five.
Ireland vs England betting odds and tips
First try scorer: Anthony Watson, 5-1
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