Ireland vs England preview

March 17th, 2011 by Liam Emerson

Bath back Mike Banahan replaces injured captain Mike Tindall at centre for England in Saturday’s final tournament match at the Aviva Stadium. Nick Easter has been made captain for the Grand Slam decider in a team that remains otherwise unchanged from last week. Harlequins number eight Easter captained England to a 26-13 victory over Samoa in November.

Ireland have brought in Andrew Trimble and Johnathan Sexton for the game in Dublin. Trimble’s inclusion on the wing results in Keith Earls moving to full-back and Luke Fitzgerald dropping out of the squad. Sexton comes into the fly-half role at the expense of Munster’s Ronan O’Gara, who moves to the replacements bench, despite the veteran numer 10′s good form. Eoin Reddan is named at scrum-half despite suffering concussion against Wales on Saturday.

Should Ireland beat England and Wales win heavily against France, England will miss out on the Six Nations title altogether, let alone their first Grand Slam title in eight years. England go to Dublin having lost six of their last seven meetings on Irish soil, but with their best chance of a Six Nations Grand Slam since 2003.

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