England will be gunning for Grand Slam revenge - Sexton

World Rugby replaces England Ireland official to avoid conflict of interests

Six Nations World Rugby replaces England Ireland official to avoid conflict of interests Getty Images

The narrow, quick line speed defence of Andy Farrell has shown weakness as the Irish players begin to tire but these issues are fixable and they have not cost Ireland, yet.

"The biggest problem of all was the huge penalty count against England: 16 in total", insisted Woodward, who guided England to 2003 World Cup final glory against an Australia side coached by Jones.

World Rugby have confirmed that Ireland have climbed to second in the latest World Rankings.

Until, that was, the last two weeks.

"We've won four games out of four but even coming away on Saturday there was a feeling that we are still not playing to our optimum ability". One's by a hair's breadth against France and in the other one we were outplayed. Today it was similar. "We were beaten at the breakdown, we gave away too many penalties, and when we had the momentum we didn't score, whereas they did".

There would have been no screaming at the screen this time.

Joe Schmidt's men beat Scotland at the weekend to secure the Six Nations title.

"We're not going to change the way we play". No wonder if the experience was curiously flat.

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"It's the exact same for England - I know a lot of the players and they're a proud bunch of people".

France were superior at the breakdown, an area where England also suffered when they lost to Scotland in their previous game.

Then it was agonisingly so, when Huw Jones inexplicably failed to find Stuart Hogg on his shoulder a few minutes later, or when Horne failed to find Jones or Blair Kinghorn on his after another brilliant passage in the second half.

Should England do all of this, they would still need to turn around a points difference of 44 points over the course of their two games.

Gregor Townsend was phlegmatic, encouraged by a performance he described as "miles ahead" of their capitulation in Cardiff in round one. But increasingly it is looking as much a reflection on the benefits of home advantage in this competition as it is any fundamental failings on Scotland's part.

Now, Jones has a chance to wreck Ireland's bid for a first Grand Slam since 2009.

"They dragged England down to their own level of drudgery". All evidence now suggests Ireland have usurped England as the new Northern Hemisphere superpower. The boot is on the other foot after past year and I'm sure they'll be licking their lips.

England conceded 16 penalties in Paris and a repeat could cost them against a rampant Ireland side that are on the verge of a Grand Slam. But we know that the biggest challenge is ahead still (against England).

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