THE pressure is on England ahead of Saturday's potential Triple Crown decider, according to Ireland defence coach Les Kiss, who says the hosts "cannot afford to lose" at Twickenham.
Defeat in their opening-day clash to France means that Stuart Lancaster's side need a result to have any hope of capturing the RBS Six Nations championship this season, and the Australian believes that the hosts will have a win-or-bust mentality.
Kiss is an admirer of the work the England manager has done since taking over and believes his defence will need to improve for the clash, despite having not conceded a try so far in the campaign. Brian O'Driscoll was the only player to miss Ireland training yesterday, with a bug, but the centre is expected to be fit to train tomorrow and take his place in the team. Robbie Henshaw (pictured right) is believed to be on stand-by just in case.
With England keeping changes to a minimum after their comprehensive win at Murrayfield, Joe Schmidt looks set to stick close to the formula that has seen his side beat Scotland and Wales, with Iain Henderson the favourite to come in for Dan Tuohy on the bench and Eoin Reddan pushing hard as Isaac Boss recovers from the concussion he suffered in Friday's Leinster win over Dragons.
Kiss says the squad are determined to secure the Triple Crown in London.
"They (England) know that this is a massive game as well. They can't afford to lose another one, that's the fact of it for them. They're very, very protective of Twickenham," he said. "We don't undervalue what this Triple Crown is. It's an important part of the tradition of the competition, going right back, and to get that trophy would be very nice.
"But, we know that getting the minutes right in front of you right will go a long way to determine whether you get that at the back end of the game.
"It's our first away game as a group and it's Twickenham. It's their first home game in the competition and we know how protective they are of that piece of earth they have there, so it's going to be tough and the truth is they're in their running for a Triple Crown still.
"It certainly has its part to play in the build-up and, whether it's a motivation, I probably wouldn't say that but we know it's an important part of what will be the outcome. One team will either have it or one team will be in the hunt for it still."
England look set to make just one change to their team after Dan Coles was ruled out on Sunday, with Bath tighthead David Wilson set to start.
George Ford, son of former Ireland defence coach Mike, could win his first cap off the bench if he comes in for Brad Barritt as expected.