After a bruising defeat by Wales at the Principality Stadium, Ireland need to lift themselves quickly for the visit of Eddie Jones' rampant England team next weekend.

Motivation will not be a problem, even with the championship gone.

A full house at the Aviva Stadium, St Patrick's Day weekend, the 10th anniversary of that game at Croke Park and England chasing a world record and back-to-back Grand Slams? No red-blooded Irishman is going to want to see England lording it over them on the Dublin turf.

As Jones remarked following England's 61-21 win over Scotland: "The party Ireland would like to spoil the most is the England party".


The question is, how can Joe Schmidt's team stop the England juggernaut?

How can Ireland be closer to the team that beat the All Blacks in such stunning fashion in Chicago last autumn, rather than the one that has lost to Argentina, England, France, South Africa (twice), New Zealand, Scotland and now Wales in the last 17 months ...

Pray that Murray recovers from his "stinger"

There is no doubt that Conor Murray - together with Johnny Sexton - is one of Ireland's two most influential players. In fact, his huge importance to the team arguably clouded Schmidt's judgment on Friday, when he stayed down following a tackle on George North.

Murray was kept on the field, even after it became clear that his passes had lost their usual zip; one in particular that Tadhg Furlong failed to cling on to indirectly led to Sexton's yellow card and the penalty that put Wales ahead.

Eyebrows were then raised when Murray, clearly still in some discomfort, started the second half.

Again, North scored - this time after Murray's opposite man Rhys Webb darted up the blindside off a driving maul - before Murray was finally withdrawn in favour of Kieran Marmion, whose sharper delivery helped Ireland get back into the game.

Schmidt must be brave enough to start with Marmion on Saturday if Murray is not 100 per cent.

Is it time to drop Heaslip?

Ireland found it tough going against Wales' back row and also struggled at the line-out, seeing three of their own throw-ins stolen.

Peter O'Mahony, arguably the finest jumper in European rugby, belatedly entered the fray in place of C J Stander. Some observers wondered whether he could perhaps have replaced Jamie Heaslip.

"Stander was the most effective of the back row," argued Shane Horgan in his Irish Times column on Sunday. "In contrast, Heaslip was having quite an ineffective game."

Horgan went on to suggest that O'Mahony could return to the starting line-up against England, with Stander moving to No 8, the position he plays for Munster.

"There must be consequence for losing to both Scotland and Wales, especially when we had the players to win both of those games. Heaslip has had a very effective season this year, but he might need to step out."

Farrell must find a way of stopping his son

Hailed as the final piece in Schmidt's jigsaw when he came on board last year, Andy Farrell got plenty of praise, as Ireland defended for their lives against the All Blacks in the autumn.

However, three tries conceded in the opening half against Scotland in Round One and three again in Cardiff on Friday have raised doubts.

England, by contrast, were scoring almost at will against Scotland - George Ford and Owen Farrell pulling the strings and Scotland's midfield all over the place.

Farrell must find a way of neutralising the threat posed by his own son.

Ireland need to find a cutting edge

Ireland remain frustratingly inconsistent ball in hand, over-reliant on Murray and Sexton, lacking a cutting edge at Murrayfield and again on Friday, when they were outscored three tries to none.

They made it into Wales' 22m on plenty of occasions, but could not find a way through, albeit Robbie Henshaw cost them what would surely have been a try by illegally joining a maul.

Schmidt has some wonderful backs at his disposal - Henshaw and Garry Ringrose were being talked up as the potential Lions starting midfield at one stage. It is time for them to show it.

Jones' "finishers" have got England out of jail a number of times in this tournament. On Saturday, with the game already won, they applied the boot to Scotland's throat.

When you are throwing on the likes of Billy Vunipola against a tiring and disillusioned defence, it is only going to end one way.

Ireland have a pretty useful bench themselves, with the likes of Cian Healy, O'Mahony, Iain Henderson, potentially even Heaslip if Schmidt decides to bench his vice-captain, all capable of coming on and making an impact.

Schmidt will have to use his replacements judiciously.