What we learned from Ireland's team announcement to face England

Conor Murray

After successive away defeats at the hands of Scotland and France, Jones has made seven changes to his starting XV as he seeks to prevent Ireland from completing a Grand Slam at Twickenham. Jonathan Joseph has been recalled at outside centre.

Jones' gameplan was exposed by Scotland in Edinburgh and in Paris as Jacques Brunel's side outmuscled and outshone the visitors, with an imperious Ireland next up, England could end their Six Nations campaign with an unwanted hat-trick should they not show a fresh approach.

George Kruis will partner his Saracens club-mate Maro Itoje in the second row, taking over from Joe Launchbury, while James Haskell and Sam Simmonds return as starters in the back row, coming in for the injured Courtney Lawes and Nathan Hughes.

Ireland, the outright tip for the Six Nations, justified faith in them by wrapping up the title with a game to spare.

Toner will very disappointed to miss out on a starting place for one of Ireland's biggest games in recent times but he, no doubt, will feature at some stage.

The team's biggest scare came in their opening match in France as they snatched a 15-13 win at the death.

With 10 tries in eight internationals, Jacob Stockdale keeps his place on the left wing, while Keith Earls starts on the other side.

Head coach Joe Schmidt has made just one change for the fifth leg of the Championship, second row powerhouse Ian Henderson forcing Devin Toner to the replacements bench.

It was no surprise that the room was as full as we have seen during this Six Nations, considering Ireland are on the verge of securing just their third Grand Slam in their history - interest and hype surrounding the Irish rugby team is at its highest.

Ireland plays England in a Six Nations worldwide at Twickenham on Saturday (1445 GMT kick-off). The last four clashes between England and Ireland at Twickenham have all been won by the home side and this could give them the edge.

The odds suggest it is very hard to split these teams in this match but home advantage could make all the difference.

World Rugby has removed Marius van der Westhuizen as assistant referee for the Six Nations game between England and Ireland on Saturday because the South African attended an England training session this week.

Follow England v Ireland on Saturday (KO 2.45pm) via the live blog on RTÉ.ie/Sport and the News Now App, or listen live on RTÉ Radio 1, with commentary from Michael Corcoran and Donal Lenihan.

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