Ireland vs England, Six Nations 2017 - What time is Saturday's match in Dublin, what TV channel is it on and what is our prediction?

Telegraph Sport
England captain Dylan Hartley (left) and Ireland skipper Rory Best (right) - 2016 Getty Images

When and where is the game?

It's this Saturday! In fact, all the games are this Saturday (March 18). All eyes will be on Dublin, though, because of what's at stake. England are not only going for back-to-back Grand Slams, they could also set a new world record for most consecutive Test wins for a Tier One nation, overtaking the mighty All Blacks.

What time is kick-off?

This is the final game of Saturday's triple header and kicks off at 5pm.

What TV channel is it on?

ITV will be your hosts from 4pm, taking in all the build-up before the live action.

Six Nations 2017 fixtures, dates, kick-off times and TV schedule

What is the team news?

England

Billy Vunipola and Anthony Watson will start England's attempt at securing back-to-back Grand Slams.

Vunipola replaces Nathan Hughes at No 8 and Watson is recalled at the expense of Jack Nowell on the right wing in a straight swap between starting XV and bench.

Their elevation off the bench sees England travel to the Aviva Stadium with their strongest possible starting XV, with only long-term injuries Chris Robshaw and George Kruis absent.

Elliot Daly continues in the No 11 jersey after passing the return to play protocols for suspected concussion sustained in the 61-21 demolition of Scotland last Saturday.

England XV: M Brown (Harlequins); A Watson (Bath), J Joseph (Bath), O Farrell (Saracens), E Daly (Wasps); G Ford (Bath), B Youngs (Leicester); J Marler (Harlequins) D Hartley (Northampton, capt), D Cole (Leicester), J Launchbury (Wasps), C Lawes (Northampton), M Itoje (Saracens), J Haskell (Wasps), B Vunipola (Saracens).

Replacements: J George (Saracens), M Vunipola (Saracens), K Sinckler (Harlequins), T Wood (Northampton), N Hughes (Wasps), D Care (Harlequins), B Te'o (Worcester), J Nowell (Exeter).

 

Ireland

Conor Murray has failed to shake off his shoulder problem while boss Joe Schmidt has dropped lock Devin Toner.

Fit-again Jared Payne starts at full-back ahead of Rob Kearney, with Iain Henderson preferred to Toner in the second-row and Kieran Marmion replacing Murray at scrum-half.

Keith Earls has shaken off his groin complaint to start on the wing, but Schmidt sprung a surprise with his decision to drop line-out co-ordinator Toner.

Full-back Kearney has suffered a knee injury, opening the door for Payne to feature for the first time since suffering a lacerated kidney in November.

Ireland XV: J Payne (Ulster), K Earls (Munster), G Ringrose, R Henshaw (both Leinster), S Zebo (Munster), J Sexton (Leinster), K Marmion (Connacht), J McGrath (Leinster), R Best (Ulster, capt), T Furlong (Leinster), D Ryan (Munster), I Henderson (Ulster), CJ Stander (Munster), S O'Brien, J Heaslip (both Leinster).

Replacements: N Scannell (Munster), C Healy (Leinster), J Ryan (Munster), D Toner (Leinster), P O'Mahony (Munster), L McGrath (Leinster), P Jackson (Ulster), A Conway (Munster).

Most consecutive Test wins for a Tier One nation

Three key stats

1. Ireland are unbeaten at home in the Six Nations in 10 games (W8, D2), their last such defeat coming in 2013 when England visited.

2. England have won just twice in eight visits to Dublin in the Six Nations (since 2000), the first victory came in their 2003 Grand Slam and the other 10 years later in 2013.

3. No player has made as many carries in the tournament this year as Ireland's CJ Stander (84), while England’s Joe Launchbury (67/70) tops the tackle charts after four rounds.

England's Grand Slam bid in numbers

19 - should England achieve victory, it will extend their winning streak to 19, an outright record for a tier-one Test nation.

9 - Grand Slams won in the Six Nations era, with England bidding to take the tally into double figures.

4 - teams to have won a Six Nations Grand Slam. Wales and France have three each, with England bidding to join them on that mark, while Ireland won it in 2009.

137 - points scored by England so far in this season's competition.

27 - players used in their four games.

9 - try-scorers - Ben Te'o, Elliot Daly, Ben Youngs, Jack Nowell, Dan Cole, Danny Care, Jonathan Joseph, Anthony Watson and Billy Vunipola.

5 - players to have started all nine of England's games this season and last - captain Dylan Hartley, front-row colleague Cole, George Ford and Owen Farrell at 10 and 12 and full-back Mike Brown. Five others - Joe Marler, James Haskell, Care, Youngs and Nowell - have featured at some point in all nine games.

11 - consecutive wins for England since they last lost in the Six Nations, to Ireland in March 2015 - a record for the Six Nations or its predecessors.

Rugby world rankings

What are they saying?

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt

"You lose Conor (Murray's) experience, 50-plus caps, you lose his calm; he's incredibly calm on the pitch. He's a good foil for other players who are under pressure, because he very seldom looks like he's under pressure.

"You lose a defender who is incredibly good at organising other people and himself to make very good decisions, and then carry them through with positive action.

"His ability to control us and navigate us around the pitch, particularly with his kicking game, and the speed of his passing game.

"His experience will leave a hole for us, we've got a combined caps with Kieran Marmion and Luke McGrath of about a dozen, as opposed to about 140 that they have in their half-backs. And I guess the biggest thing is that what a fantastic opportunity to learn."

Ireland prop Tadhg Furlong

"The focus is massively on us and trying to get the most out of the game that we can. And I suppose trying to prove to our supporters what it means to us.

"England are right up there with New Zealand at the minute, the way they are playing. I think they are flying, and have deserved to retain the Six Nations. So it's going to be a massive test for us no doubt."

England coach Eddie Jones

"We've had a really good week's preparation. The intensity of training has been good. It's going to be quite an occasion in Dublin so we understand we have to be prepared emotionally, physically and mentally.

"The mood in camp has been positive. We're very excited ahead of what is a huge opportunity for the players. You sense the intensity has stepped up - it definitely has in training."

England coach Steve Borthwick

"This squad keeps looking ahead and the players thrive on the next challenge. Ireland are a very good side and have a forward pack who have experience and are able to show what quality and pace they have. Their half-backs are good, so they're a good side."

England full-back Mike Brown

"They (Owen and Andy Farrell) are very similar. They both bring a lot of energy. Owen backs up words with actions. Being a rugby league fan I grew up watching his dad on TV playing for Wigan.

"Owen is probably used to this. He's probably not taken a second thought about coming up against his dad because he's so focussed on his job in the team.

"Owen is obviously a world class player. The ways he's grown has been amazing. Most of the time I don't even look when he's kicking because I just expect it to go over. He's that good. He's obviously massively involved in bringing energy to the team. He's physical and leads by example with his words."

What are the betting odds?

Ireland: 6/4 Draw: 25/1 England: 8/11

What is our prediction?

This is going to be an epic contest. England playing Ireland on St Patrick's Day weekend (Paddy's Day is actually on Friday). This is as tough a task as there is but this England team are on a mission to create history and, buoyed by their thrashing of Scotland, should have the upper hand. Just.

Predicted score: Ireland 17 England 21

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