Eddie Jones has described England’s encounter with Ireland on Super Saturday as their “most important game” of the 2021 Guinness Six Nations.
Defeats to Scotland and Wales mean the Red Rose will relinquish the Championship crown this year but the reigning champions showed their class against France in Round 4.
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Tries from Anthony Watson and Maro Itoje plus 13 points from the boot of Owen Farrell saw the hosts overcome Les Bleus in a brilliant end-to-end contest at Twickenham.
But Jones is expecting a different game against Andy Farrell’s men in Dublin, insisting his side much match Ireland physically if they are to emerge triumphant on Saturday.
“This is our most important game of the tournament and we want to finish well,” he said. “We’re anticipating a hard, tough game against Ireland. We’ve picked this team to cope with that.
“We want to take it to Ireland physically and play the rugby we want to play. They’ve been progressing nicely and we’ve been watching their progress closely.
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“Their forward play has been very, very good – their lineout, their scrums, both of those areas have been impressive. They have good carriers and are good defensively around the ruck.
“Their forward play has been exceptional and it’s coinciding with a higher kicking game that has seen them play some good rugby.”
Ireland began the Championship with narrow defeats to Wales and France but have since bounced back with impressive victories against Italy and Scotland.
And Farrell junior is well aware of the dangers the hosts will pose England at the Aviva Stadium, urging his teammates to build on their performance against France last time out.
Farrell said: “It’s disappointing to not be playing for the Championship but we’re looking forward to what is a tough test against a tough team.
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“We’re looking forward to getting stuck into the game and seeing where we can take what we built on last week. I think you learn a lot of about yourselves, especially during some tough times that we’ve had.
“The game last week was obviously exciting for everyone to watch and of course it’s brilliant to be involved in games like that, but Test match rugby doesn’t always pan out that way.
“Everybody prepares for being able to play any which way to be able to get the result and we’ll see which way the game turns out on Saturday.”