England vs Ireland Prediction: Ireland to quieten the Twickenham crowd

 | March 08 | 

3 mins read

Alex Cox Rugby Union

We're into week four of the Six Nations and on Saturday afternoon (16:45) England take on Ireland, desperately trying to usurp their Grand Slam ambitions. As always, we've asked ace Rugby tipster Alex Cox to preview this one and give us his betting prediction. 

England vs Ireland Betting Tips 

  •  Ireland -12.5 @ 4/5

The chasm between England and Ireland will be shown on Saturday afternoon at Twickenham, as Ireland look set for another Grand Slam.

England left Murrayfield with their tails between their legs a fortnight ago and I don’t see that scenario changing this week, with Ireland dialed-in to achieve a remarkable back-to-back Grand Slam.

At the risk of repeating myself, England start the game brightly vs the Scots, however retreated quickly back into their shells and went on to lose by a comfortable margin – with Feyi-Waboso’s late consolation making the scoreboard slightly more respectable. England continue to lack a ruthless edge, and still look lost once they go past 5 phases.

Ireland, on the other hand, are in exceptional form. Their attacking patterns of play – both off set-piece and in open phases – continue to be world class and yet their game has gone to new heights with their defensive improvements.

The aggression and defensive nausea this side possesses impresses me every week, and it’s no surprise that the smallest winning margin during this championship has been 20 points. I don’t envisage a scenario where England can stay close to Ireland in this game – Ireland are superior in all areas across the park.

Team news

England

Borthwick has made three changes to the starting side that lost up at Murrayfield a fortnight ago – one in the pack and two in the backs. The front-row remains the same though, with Genge, George and Cole partnering up again.

The first change is Martin who starts in the second-row at the expense of Ethan Roots, and he’ll join stalwart Itoje. Chessum moves back to blind-side flanker, with Underhill and Earl completing the back-row.

Danny Care is set to reach his 100th England cap but he’ll need to reach that milestone from the bench, as Mitchell is back fit and takes the 9 shirt this week. George Ford continue at Fly-half – although Marcus Smith is waiting in the wings on the bench – with Lawrence and Slade in the midfield.

The final change this week sees Borthwick taking a risk with the impressive youngster Feyi-Waboso in replace of Daly, who drops to the bench. Steward continues to be left out with Borthwick favouring the extra ball-playing ability of Furbank at Full-back and Freeman will be on the right-wing.

Ireland

Andy Farrell only makes one change to his side this week as Hugo Keenan returns from a knee injury in time to head to HQ. The unchanged pack will see a front-row of Porter, Sheehan and Furlong, with the exceptional lock pairing of McCarthy and Beirne in behind them. The back-row that will be looking to dominate throughout will be skipper O’Mahony, van der Flier and Doris.

Gibson-Park and Crowley will continue their half-back partnership, with Aki and Henshaw responsible for winning the midfield battle. Ireland have two superb finishers in Lowe and Nash out on the wings and the returning Keenan will be a constant running threat from the back field.

Ireland -12.5 @ 4/5

Ireland’s continual ability to stay at their own high standards is one of the key reasons I like the minus handicap here. Crowley has stepped straight into Sextons' shoes and looked far more comfortable than any Irish – or Munster even – fan could have imagined. That is partly due to the systems that Farrell has implemented, with every Irish player knowing exactly what their role is and how to execute.

England on the other hand are still finding their feet, and the levels they would have to reach this weekend to compete with this Irish side would need a remarkable change from their previous three games this Championship.

You can find all our latest Rugby Union Betting Tips over on our Insights hub. 

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