All the action as England and Ireland clash in the Six Nations.
England head coach Eddie Jones has billed today's match against Ireland at Twickenham as a "titanic" clash that will go a long way towards determining European supremacy.
While Ireland have won both their matches under Andy Farrell, this is far from a direct title decider with England having already lost 24-17 to France. Defeat for England will certainly spell the end of their title ambitions.
Yet Jones believes the nature of the personal rivalries between individual players forged from the past British and Irish Lions tour and competing in European club rugby elevates the stakes even further. "Yeah, I think that is part of it," Jones said. "They have a number of players who espouse to be No 1 in Europe and we have a number of guys in our team who espouse to be No 1 in Europe and I think that means it will be a bit of a titanic clash."
Many of England's leading lights have failed to shine as brightly in the Six Nations as they did at the World Cup. A flat defeat to France was followed by a 13-7 defeat to Scotland in torrential conditions at Murrayfield that precluded all but the most basic form of rugby.
Jones now claims that England are "60 per cent" ahead of where they were in the French week and believes his squad are now coming back to the boil after the emotional and physical rollercoaster of losing the World Cup final to South Africa. "I think the World Cup took a lot out of our boys, and then having to come back and play consistently for their clubs has been difficult for them. But that's part of the deal. You have to get through it. But now I think we will see the best of some of our players.
"It is difficult (going from club to Test rugby). It's like good Test cricketers, the good ones always go back to their clubs and score runs and that is why they score 10,000 runs and others go back and don't get runs because they don't have that mental application. That is what our players are starting to develop - the ability to be consistent in their performance."
Jones has made four personnel changes from the Scotland team with Joe Marler, Courtney Lawes, Ben Youngs and Manu Tuilagi all returning having started the first match against France. Tuilagi's return at outside centre means Jonathan Joseph makes his first start on the wing in his 50th cap for England while Elliot Daly moves back to full back.
Jones has also retained a 6-2 split on the bench with scrum half Willi Heinz and centre Henry Slade the only backs. That appears to leave England short of back three cover but Jones revealed back row Ben Earl has been trained to play on the blindside wing. Having previously floated the idea of starting wing Jack Nowell in the back row and flanker Ben Curry at scrum half, Jones appears closer than ever on pulling the trigger on starting a hybrid player.
"He could play possibly 13 or possibly blindside winger," Jones said. "He has done a bit of work for us at blindside winger already. It could eventuate that we use him in a game. Ben Earl could be potentially someone like the Fijian (Levani Botia) who plays at 6 and 12 for La Rochelle."
- Telegraph UK