England head into their third World Cup warm up clash off the back of home and away fixtures against Wales, registering a win from the first game at Twickenham earlier this month and a loss in Cardiff last weekend. This is Ireland’s second World Cup warm-up fixture, having comfortably beaten Italy with a second string side in Dublin a fortnight ago.
Joe Schmidt’s men have spent the best part of their last two weeks since their Italian victory in the Algarve. Both sides have named their strongest teams yet during the warm-up period, both boasting at least eleven first-choice players in their run-on XV.
Ireland are without physical young second row James Ryan and ever-present fly-half and reigning World Player of the Year Jonathan Sexton, both suffering from ‘soreness’ after sitting out training earlier this week.
England, meanwhile, are without the injured Exeter pairing of centre Henry Slade and wing Jack Nowell. Eddie Jones’s side will also see regular starting loosehead prop Mako Vunipola and blindside flanker Mark Wilson return from injury from the bench.
The last time these two sides met was during the first round of the 2019 Six Nations campaign, in which England toppled the previously high-flying Irishmen on home soil – a first home Six Nations defeat for the men in green since 2013.
The 20-32 victory in February marked a successful day for the England midfield of Manu Tuilagi and Slade, the former using the game to announce his full return to international rugby in storming fashion and the latter claiming two of England’s four tries of the day.
Today, England boss Jones has stated his side will use the game to play a different way to the set-piece focused game they employed during the back-to- back games against the Welsh.
On the other side of the tunnel, Schmidt’s men will be looking for a Twickenham sacking in hopes of easing concerns of having peaked too early during their storming 2018 season. With near full strength sides either side of the white line, expect fireworks at Twickenham this afternoon.