Six Nations: England in knockout mode as Jones bids to oust Ireland from contention

By Sports Desk March 10, 2022

Eddie Jones has told England to attack their clash with Ireland at Twickenham as though they are playing a tournament semi-final.

The hosts' Six Nations hopes rely on them beating Ireland, and both teams head into the game with two wins and a loss from their opening three games.

Head coach Jones has included Sam Simmonds at number eight for the big game in London, with Alex Dombrandt on the bench after recovering from COVID-19.

Courtney Lawes again skippers the team, with vice-captain Tom Curry fit to feature after recovering from a head injury sustained in the win against Wales last time out.

Joe Launchbury features in an England match squad for the first time since December 2020 after being named among the replacements.

Jones said: "We've been looking at this game as a semi-final. Ireland are the most cohesive side in the world right now and it will be a good test this weekend.

"We've prepared really well for this game. We did some good team togetherness work in Bristol and had a solid week of training on the pitch here.

"We are looking forward to going after them in front of a great home crowd at Twickenham."

England can look at the game in a semi-final sense because their last match in the championship will be a tussle with France, who have a 100 per cent record so far, in Paris.

That has the potential to be a title decider, although Andy Farrell's Ireland could undo England's hopes this weekend.

Ireland have made six changes to the side that beat Italy 57-6 last time out, with veteran fly-half Johnny Sexton restored to the starting XV as captain, taking the place of Joey Carbery.


England team: Steward, Malins, Marchant, Slade, Nowell, Smith, Randall; Genge, George, Sinckler, Itoje, Ewels, Lawes (captain), Curry, Simmonds.

Replacements: Blamire, Marler, Stuart, Launchbury, Dombrandt, Youngs, Ford, Daly.

Ireland team: Keenan, Conway, Ringrose, Aki, Lowe, Sexton (captain), Gibson-Park; Healy, Sheehan, Furlong, Beirne, Ryan, O'Mahony, Van der Flier, Doris.

Replacements: Herring, Kilcoyne, Bealham, Henderson, Conan, Murray, Carbery, Henshaw.

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