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England versus Ireland: Head-to-head preview

08 February 2013

  • Get all the vital stats ahead of England's match with Ireland on Sunday
  • Find out where, how and who to watch
England beat Ireland in 2012

Photo Credit: Getty Images

With one round of matches down in this year’s RBS 6 Nations England and Ireland are two of the teams making the early running, after both achieved wins on the opening weekend. Stuart Lancaster’s men took home the Calcutta Cup while Ireland held on to beat Wales at the Millennium Stadium. The two sides have enjoyed convincing home wins in the last two years and Declan Kidney’s men will be looking to revenge their 30-9 defeat at Twickenham in 2012. Here are all the vital facts and stats ahead of the match.

When? Sunday, February 10
Where? Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Kick-off? 3.00pm

How to keep up with the action

  • Live on BBC One from 2.30pm
  • Live commentary on BBC 5 live Sports Extra and online
  • Live text commentary on the free RFU iPhone app (search the app store for Official RFU)
  • Live score updates from @Official_RFU on Twitter
  • Match report, post-match interviews and highlights on

The teams


15 Alex Goode (Saracens); 14 Chris Ashton (Saracens); 13 Brad Barritt (Saracens); 12 Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester) 11 Mike Brown (Harlequins); 10 Owen Farrell (Saracens); 9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers); 1 Joe Marler (Harlequins); 2 Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers); 3 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers); 4 Joe Launchbury (London Wasps); 5 Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers); 6 James Haskell (London Wasps); 7 Chris Robshaw (Harlequins); 8 Tom Wood (Northampton)

Replacements: 16 Dylan Hartley (Northampton); 17 David Wilson (Bath); 18 Mako Vunipola (Saracens); 19 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints); 20 Thomas Waldrom (Leicester Tigers); 21 Danny Care (Harlequins); 22 Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers); 23 Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers)


15 Rob Kearney (/Leinster); 14 Craig Gilroy (Ulster); 13 Brian O'Driscoll (Leinster);12 Gordon D'Arcy (Leinster); 11 Simon Zebo (Munster); 10 Jonathan Sexton (Leinster); 9 Conor Murray (Munster); 1 Cian Healy (Leinster); 2 Rory Best (Ulster); 3 Mike Ross (Leinster); 4 Mike McCarthy (Connacht); 5 Donnacha Ryan (Munster); 6 Peter O'Mahony (Munster); 7 Sean O'Brien (Leinster); 8 Jamie Heaslip (c) (Leinster)

Brian O'Driscoll is Ireland's most capped player

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin (Leinster); 17 David Kilcoyne (Munster); 18 Declan Fitzpatrick (Ulster); 19 Donncha O'Callaghan (Munster); 20 Chris Henry (Ulster); 21 Eoin Reddan (Leinster); 22 Ronan O'Gara (Munster); 23 Keith Earls (Munster)

What the coaches say:

England coach Stuart Lancaster:

“Ireland were outstanding in the first half (against Wales) and backed up their performance against Argentina in the autumn. They’ve clearly got world class players in many positions and their provincial sides are strong so whichever way you look at it, it’s a good Ireland team. The last 20 minutes of games are always important and making sure we finish strongly will be critical in this game.”

Ireland coach Declan Kidney:

"The players have recovered pretty well from the Wales game. We took 48 hours off after the match and have toned down training since. Gordon (D’Arcy), Peter O’(Mahony) and Sean (O’Brien) all trained fully this morning so we don't envisage there being any changes."

Head to head

  • Played 126, England won 72, Ireland won 46, drawn 8
  • Highest score – England 50-18 in 2000, Ireland  43-13 in 2007
  • Biggest win – England 46-6 in 1997, Ireland 43-13 in 2007

Previous four meetings

  • 2010 – England 16-20 Ireland
  • 2011 – Ireland 24-8 Ireland
  • 2011 – Ireland 9-20 England
  • 2012 – England 30-9 Ireland
  • England playing Ireland in 2003

    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    England facts

    • IRB world ranking: 4th
    • Most capped player in history: Jason Leonard (114 caps, 1990-2004)
    • Most capped player in the squad: Danny Care (54 caps, 2007-2013)
    • Most consecutive test wins: 14 (2002 to 2003)

    Ireland facts

    • IRB world ranking: 6th
    • Most capped player in history: Brian O’Driscoll (127caps, 1999-2013)
    • Most capped player in squad: Brian O’Driscoll (127 caps, 1999-2013)
    • Most consecutive test wins: 10, (2002-03)

    Keys to the game

    The IBM TryTracker live stats engine includes the ‘Keys to the Game’, which predict three crucial areas of performance specific to each team ahead of match day. If a side hits their target in these aspects of their game they will significantly increase their chances of victory.

    England keys

    An average of five metres per carry means the forwards getting over the gain line will be a crucial part of the clash, sucking in the Irish defence at the breakdown to open up the wider channels. The target of 10 offloads also suggests that supporting runners will be a key element to producing fluid rugby and unlocking the Irish defence. And finally, having seen Declan Kidney’s side cut through Wales at the Millennium Stadium, a 91% tackle success rate is a must if England are to quash the Irish attacking threat.

    • Average at least five metres per carry
    • Attempt 10 or more offloads
    • Complete 91% of tackles successfully 

    Ireland keys 

    Brian O’Driscoll and Simon Zebo were two stand out performers for Ireland against Wales with strong running lines that cut through the Welsh defence. Against a formidable English defence, more than five line breaks has been identified as the key to a successful day going forwards. Having seven or more attempts at goal will help keep the scoreboard ticking over and suggests that the Irish will force England's hand if fly half Jonny Sexton can keep putting over his kicks. A 94% tackle rate is even higher than England’s target, showing the attacking potency of Lancaster’s side.

    • Achieve more than five line breaks
    • Have seven or more attempts on goal
    • Complete 94% of tackles successfully