It’s Ireland vs England, the first game for these countries in the 2019 edition of the Six Nations, but the final fixture of the first round of games. This match pits reigning champions Ireland against Eddie Jones’ England squad. The Irish are favourites to lift the Six Nations trophy again – thereby claiming back-to-back titles.
What time is kick-off?
It starts at 4.45pm today, that’s Saturday, February 2.
What TV channel is it on?
You can watch the game on ITV. You can also follow our live blog on the day for latest score updates and team news.
In the meantime, you can play our Telegraph Fantasy Rugby Six Nations game to be in with a chance of winning a £5,000 prize!
What is the latest team news?
Ireland team news
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt gave a positive update on Johnny Sexton’s fitness when naming his squad for the opening two rounds of the Guinness Six Nations.
Sexton, the reigning World Player of the Year, has been troubled by a knee tendon issue.
“Johnny Sexton is making good progress, while Joey Carbery and Jack Carty have both performed consistently well so far this season,” Schmidt said after naming his 38-man squad.
Scrum-half Luke McGrath is likely to miss the entire competition after damaging knee ligaments, but Conor Murray is back after a neck injury.
With Kieran Marmion also missing through injury, Ulster’s John Cooney and Connacht’s uncapped Caolin Blade offer scrum-half options.
On the centres and back-three positions, Schmidt added: “Bundee Aki and a fresh and fully fit Robbie Henshaw squeezes out Rory Scannell, who was great for Munster last Friday, and Stu McCloskey, who continues to give Ulster gain line as well as defensive solidity.
“At outside centre Tom Farrell has forced his way into contention and Chris Farrell is working his way back to match fitness, improving week by week.
“We’re sure that Sam Arnold and Rory O’Loughlin will continue to improve and both have plenty of promise. Adam Byrne and Dave Kearney were both very good against Toulouse.
“The Connacht outside backs have been consistently good; Mike Haley is growing into his role with Munster while we look forward to a fit again Darren Sweetnam gaining some game minutes over the coming weeks.”
Finlay Bealham, Marty Moore, Stephen Archer and Rob Herring are among the forwards to miss out.
England team news
Elliot Daly has held off the challenge of Mike Brown at full-back for England’s Guinness Six Nations clash with Ireland at the Aviva Stadium.
Daly has started the last seven Tests in the position but Brown’s expertise under the high ball made him a strong contender to oust his rival.
England are expecting an aerial bombardment from Ireland half-backs Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray.
More accustomed to playing outside centre or wing, Daly’s frailty in the air was exposed last autumn.
Manu Tuilagi has been selected at inside centre – where he has played little rugby – to make his first Six Nations start in six years following an injury-blighted spell, profiting from Ben Te’o’s side strain.
Henry Slade continues at 13, Jack Nowell lines-up on the left wing and Owen Farrell resumes his half-back partnership with Ben Youngs.
“I just felt for this game the best option was to play Owen Farrell at 10 and Manu as a like-for-like replacement for Ben Te’o. Manu has impressed us at the training camp, and is right to play,” Eddie Jones said.
Ireland’s 2019 Six Nations fixtures
- Ireland vs England…. Aviva Stadium (Dublin)…. Saturday, February 2…. 4.45pm GMT…. ITV
- Scotland vs Ireland…. Murrayfield (Edinburgh)…. Saturday, February 9…. 2.15pm GMT…. BBC
- Italy vs Ireland…. Stadio Olimpico (Rome)…. Sunday, February 24…. 3pm GMT…. ITV
- Ireland vs France…. Aviva Stadium (Dublin)…. Sunday, March 10…. 3pm GMT…. ITV
- Wales vs Ireland…. Principality Stadium (Cardiff)…. Saturday, March 16…. 2.45pm GMT…. BBC
England’s 2019 Six Nations fixtures
- Ireland vs England…. Aviva Stadium (Dublin)…. Saturday, February 2…. 4.45pm GMT…. ITV
- England vs France…. Twickenham (London)…. Sunday, February 10…. 3pm GMT…. ITV
- Wales vs England…. Principality Stadium (Cardiff)…. Saturday, February 23…. 4.45pm GMT…. BBC
- England vs Italy…. Twickenham (London)…. Saturday, March 9…. 4.45pm GMT…. ITV
- England vs Scotland…. Twickenham (London)…. Saturday, March 16…. 5pm GMT…. ITV
Follow our Six Nations 2019 fixtures list for all the details.
What happened in this fixture in 2018?
England were comfortably beaten 24-15 at Twickenham in the final game of the 2018 Six Nations. It meant Ireland were crowned champions – and Grand Slam winners – on England’s home turf.
What are they saying?
England head coach Eddie Jones:
“We are very happy with the squad and have a number of players who have come back from long-term injury.
“We are looking forward to getting across to Portugal and having a good 10-day preparation for the Ireland game.
“Ireland are the best side in the world. They are a very well coached and drilled side and have particular things they do well in the game.
“To beat Ireland, we need to compete brutally in all the contest areas of the game.”
England centre Manu Tuilagi:
“It helps a lot to come into the England environment. The way we train is next level in terms of the speed and intensity. That definitely helps you going into the international games.
“You appreciate it 100 per cent more after having so many injuries. Before, when you are always fit and playing, you don’t really think about it because it hasn’t happened to you.
“But when I have been out for a long time, now I have got the opportunity to play and I’m really thankful. I’ve got the opportunity again to do what I really love doing and I have to take it.
“Before, you just played. You didn’t really think about it too much. I didn’t have that much experience. You just wanted to get your hands on the ball. But when you get older and learn more about the game there is a lot more to it.
“There is a different way of getting over the gainline, which for me now is to go into a hole or gap. But sometimes there won’t be a gap there so for me. So that bit is the same – run hard.”
England defence coach John Mitchell:
“Ireland are arguably the best in the world and, for me, are a side who – through their process being a well-coached side – are resilient and they will try to bore the s— out of us basically.
“Ultimately, it will come down to a small piece of possession when you’re not focused that can hurt you, in a contest like this.”
What are the betting odds?
- Ireland 4/11
- England 7/2
- Draw 28/1
What is our prediction?
Form dictates an Ireland win and even the most passionate England fans will find it hard to argue. The Irish are the form team in the world, they’ve beaten the All Blacks and they’re playing England in Dublin. This could get messy. Predicted score: Ireland 35 England 17
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