England vs Ireland – Preview & Team News

In the build-up to Saturday’s crucial game against England, James Ryan has been named captain in Johnny Sexton’s absence and will lead out the boys in green at Twickenham.


Ireland will look to land a blow to England after losing the Six Nations title race to their bitter rivals last month.


TEAM NEWS
Andy Farrell has made four changes to the side that faced Wales last weekend, with Ross Byrne replacing the injured Sexton. “Ross deserves the chance,” Farrell said, “how do you find out about how they cope with the big games and the big occasions unless you give them a chance?”.

Bundee Aki and Keith Earls also come back into the starting line-up. Centre Aki replaces the injured Robbie Henshaw. Earls returns to the right wing after recovering from a back injury.
Hugo Keenan and James Lowe retain their starting places while Jacob Stockdale and Iain Henderson return to the matchday squad. Caelan Doris and Jamison Gibson-Park retain their positions also, respectively.


England Head Coach Eddie Jones has made four changes to his side that thrashed Georgia 40-0 last weekend. Flankers Tom Curry and Sam Underhill return to the side as do props Mako Vunipola and Kyle Sinckler. Will Stuart and Ellis Genge subsequently drop to the bench.


Out-half George Ford has returned from injury to take his place on the bench. Centre Ollie Lawrence will keep his place and make his second Test start. Bath Centre Jonathan Joseph has been declared fit to start despite limping off last weekend with a back spasm.


“I’ve picked the strongest team possible for the most important game of our season,” said Jones, “We have the highest respect for Ireland and their coach Andy Farrell. They’ve had good preparation with two wins and a dominant display against Wales, and we will need to be at our best on Saturday.”


CAPTAIN JAMES RYAN
On Saturday, Ryan will become the fourth youngest Ireland captain, following Peter O’Mahony (23), Brian O’Driscoll (23), and Paul O’Connell (24). The 24-year old has impressed Head Coach Farrell with his performances and leadership skills over the past few months.


“He has 100% come to the fore in his curiousness about how he wants to lead,” stated Farrell, “I’ve been super impressed over the last nine months with how he handles himself, first and foremost, and how he interacts and thinks about others as well”.
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