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Points gap 'has English unfazed by Aviva task'

Ireland coach Declan Kidney believes England's commanding points difference will enable them to approach tomorrow's Grand Slam showdown without trepidation.

Martin Johnson's side are superbly positioned to win this year's Six Nations title, regardless of what happens at the Aviva Stadium.

They enter the match with 42 more points scored than Wales -- their only rivals for the title.

It would require a highly improbable heavy defeat in Dublin and a similar victory for Wales in Paris to see the trophy slip from their grasp.

Kidney insists that knowledge will have a positive effect on their hopes of completing a first Grand Slam since their World Cup-winning year of 2003.

"England have been impressive. They have taken every opportunity that has come their way," Kidney said.

"In a competition where there isn't bonus points it's possible that four wins will see them through.

"They are typically English. When they are going well they are strong up front and they have a strong scrum and lineout, their maul is difficult to stop and they have good back-three runners.


"The rankings don't often lie and they are the top-ranked side in the northern hemisphere. This probably started for them with a good win in Australia last June. They backed it up in November and they have carried it through.

"They have a lot of lads who are in this situation for the first time and you could say that was inexperience.

"But they will also be able to go out and play with freedom because there is no baggage. The points difference they have will help them to relax."

Ireland have endured a torrid championship and are one defeat away from equalling their worst Six Nations.

But they have established a magnificent record against their rivals, winning six of the last seven meetings, dating back to 2004 when they became the first team to beat the newly crowned world champions.

"We deserve a good performance, especially at the new stadium," said Kidney. "What we need to do is put together a good, consistent 80 minutes.

"If England can get the better of us then fair play to them, but it will need a good side to get the better of us if we get an 80-minute performance right."