Friday 15 December 2017

Ireland vs England: What time is kick-off, what TV channel is it on - Everything you need to know

Ireland are playing for pride, England for the Grand Slam. Here is everything you need to know about today's clash at the Aviva.

When and where is the game?


All eyes will be on Dublin today because of what's at stake. England are not only going for back-to-back Grand Slams, they could also set a new world record for most consecutive Test wins for a Tier One nation, overtaking the mighty All Blacks.

What time is kick-off?

This is the final game of Saturday's triple header and kicks off at 5pm.

What TV channel is it on?

RTE 2 will be showing their final Six Nations game for at least four years. Coverage starts at 2.30 with France v Wales with the Ireland game kicking off at 5pm.

What is the team news?


Conor Murray has failed to shake off his shoulder problem while boss Joe Schmidt has dropped lock Devin Toner.

Fit-again Jared Payne starts at full-back ahead of Rob Kearney, with Iain Henderson preferred to Toner in the second-row and Kieran Marmion replacing Murray at scrum-half.

Keith Earls has shaken off his groin complaint to start on the wing, but Schmidt sprung a surprise with his decision to drop line-out co-ordinator Toner.

Full-back Kearney has suffered a knee injury, opening the door for Payne to feature for the first time since suffering a lacerated kidney in November.

Joe Schmidt will be desperately disappointed to be without Conor Murray. Photo: SPORTSFILE

Ireland XV: J Payne (Ulster), K Earls (Munster), G Ringrose, R Henshaw (both Leinster), S Zebo (Munster), J Sexton (Leinster), K Marmion (Connacht), J McGrath (Leinster), R Best (Ulster, capt), T Furlong (Leinster), D Ryan (Munster), I Henderson (Ulster), CJ Stander (Munster), S O'Brien, J Heaslip (both Leinster).

Replacements: N Scannell (Munster), C Healy (Leinster), J Ryan (Munster), D Toner (Leinster), P O'Mahony (Munster), L McGrath (Leinster), P Jackson (Ulster), A Conway (Munster).


Billy Vunipola and Anthony Watson will start England's attempt at securing back-to-back Grand Slams.

Vunipola replaces Nathan Hughes at No 8 and Watson is recalled at the expense of Jack Nowell on the right wing in a straight swap between starting XV and bench.

Their elevation off the bench sees England travel to the Aviva Stadium with their strongest possible starting XV, with only long-term injuries Chris Robshaw and George Kruis absent.

Elliot Daly continues in the No 11 jersey after passing the return to play protocols for suspected concussion sustained in the 61-21 demolition of Scotland last Saturday.

England XV: M Brown (Harlequins); A Watson (Bath), J Joseph (Bath), O Farrell (Saracens), E Daly (Wasps); G Ford (Bath), B Youngs (Leicester); J Marler (Harlequins) D Hartley (Northampton, capt), D Cole (Leicester), J Launchbury (Wasps), C Lawes (Northampton), M Itoje (Saracens), J Haskell (Wasps), B Vunipola (Saracens).

Replacements: J George (Saracens), M Vunipola (Saracens), K Sinckler (Harlequins), T Wood (Northampton), N Hughes (Wasps), D Care (Harlequins), B Te'o (Worcester), J Nowell (Exeter).

Three key stats

1. Ireland are unbeaten at home in the Six Nations in 10 games (W8, D2), their last such defeat coming in 2013 when England visited.

2. England have won just twice in eight visits to Dublin in the Six Nations (since 2000), the first victory came in their 2003 Grand Slam and the other 10 years later in 2013.

3. No player has made as many carries in the tournament this year as Ireland's CJ Stander (84), while England’s Joe Launchbury (67/70) tops the tackle charts after four rounds.

What are they saying?

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt

"You lose Conor (Murray's) experience, 50-plus caps, you lose his calm; he's incredibly calm on the pitch. He's a good foil for other players who are under pressure, because he very seldom looks like he's under pressure.

"You lose a defender who is incredibly good at organising other people and himself to make very good decisions, and then carry them through with positive action.

"His ability to control us and navigate us around the pitch, particularly with his kicking game, and the speed of his passing game.

"His experience will leave a hole for us, we've got a combined caps with Kieran Marmion and Luke McGrath of about a dozen, as opposed to about 140 that they have in their half-backs. And I guess the biggest thing is that what a fantastic opportunity to learn."

Ireland prop Tadhg Furlong

"The focus is massively on us and trying to get the most out of the game that we can. And I suppose trying to prove to our supporters what it means to us.

"England are right up there with New Zealand at the minute, the way they are playing. I think they are flying, and have deserved to retain the Six Nations. So it's going to be a massive test for us no doubt."

England coach Eddie Jones

"We've had a really good week's preparation. The intensity of training has been good. It's going to be quite an occasion in Dublin so we understand we have to be prepared emotionally, physically and mentally.

"The mood in camp has been positive. We're very excited ahead of what is a huge opportunity for the players. You sense the intensity has stepped up - it definitely has in training."

England full-back Mike Brown

"They (Owen and Andy Farrell) are very similar. They both bring a lot of energy. Owen backs up words with actions. Being a rugby league fan I grew up watching his dad on TV playing for Wigan.

"Owen is probably used to this. He's probably not taken a second thought about coming up against his dad because he's so focussed on his job in the team.

"Owen is obviously a world class player. The ways he's grown has been amazing. Most of the time I don't even look when he's kicking because I just expect it to go over. He's that good. He's obviously massively involved in bringing energy to the team. He's physical and leads by example with his words."

What are the betting odds?

Ireland: 6/4 Draw: 25/1 England: 8/11

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