There are three huge RBS 6 Nations clashes for Ireland teams against England this weekend, with the Under-20s and Women’s side first up on Friday night before the sold-out headline act at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
UNDER-20 RBS 6 NATIONS: Friday, February 27
IRELAND UNDER-20s (1st) v ENGLAND UNDER-20s (2nd), Donnybrook, 7.05pm (live RTÉ Two/www.rte.ie/live (island of Ireland only)/Sky Sports 3 HD)
– Ireland have kicked off this season’s Under-20 campaign with a pair of victories, their best start since they won their opening four games in the 2012 tournament
– Ireland’s only home defeat at U-20 Six Nations level since 2011 came when Wales visited Dubarry Park in round 2 last season
– This is the Ireland Under-20s’ first ever home game at anywhere other than Dubarry Park in Athlone, although the Irish Under-21s had a won 3, drawn 1, lost 4 record at Donnybrook between 1989 and 2005
– Ireland out-half Ross Byrne is the top points scorer so far in this season’s Under-20 Six Nations with 29 points (10 conversions and three penalties)
– The England Under-20s have lost just one of their last eleven encounters: 21-15 to Wales at Colwyn Bay in round 1 earlier this month
– England have never lost successive away games in the same season of the Under-20 Six Nations
– The two sides have met on 13 previous occasions, with the England Under-20s having the edge by eight wins to five
Match Ticket Info: Tickets are available from www.ticketmaster.ie or at the gate on the evening. Prices start at €;15 for adults and €;5 for children.
IRELAND U-20: Billy Dardis (UCD/Leinster); Jack Owens (Queen’s University Belfast/Ulster), Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster), Sam Arnold (Ballynahinch/Ulster), Stephen Fitzgerald (Shannon/Munster); Ross Byrne (UCD/Leinster), Nick McCarthy (UCD/Leinster) (capt); Jeremy Loughman (UCD/Leinster), Zack McCall (Queen’s University Belfast/Ulster), Oisin Heffernan (Terenure College/Leinster), David O’Connor (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Alex Thompson (Queen’s University Belfast/Ulster), Josh Murphy (UCD/Leinster), Rory Moloney (Buccaneers/Connacht), Lorcan Dow (Queen’s University Belfast/Ulster).
Replacements: Adam McBurney (Ballymena/Ulster), Michael Lagan (Ballymena/Ulster), Conan O’Donnell (Sligo/NUIG/Connacht), Cian Romaine (Buccaneers/Connacht), Nick Timoney (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Jack Cullen (Shannon/Munster), Joey Carbery (UCD/Leinster), Harrison Brewer (Terenure College.Leinster).
ENGLAND U-20: Aaron Morris (Saracens); George Perkins (Saracens), Joe Marchant (Harlequins), Nick Tompkins (Saracens), Howard Packman (Northampton Saints); Oliver Bryant (Leicester Tigers), James Mitchell (Sale Sharks); Ellis Genge (Bristol), Jack Walker (Yorkshire Carnegie), Ciaran Parker (Sale Sharks), Kieran Treadwell (Harlequins), Charlie Ewels (Bath) (capt), Joe Batley (Gloucester), Will Owen (Leicester Tigers), James Chisholm (Harlequins).
Replacements: Jack Innard (Exeter Chiefs), Seb Adeniran-Olule (Harlequins), Paul Hill (Yorkshire Carnegie), Charlie Beckett (Leicester Tigers), Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs), Will Homer (Bath), Piers O’Conor (Wasps), Tom Howe (Wasps).
Referee: Thomas Charabas (France)
Assistant Referees: Cédric Marchat, Vivien Praderie (both France)
Television Match Official: Vincent Azoulay (France)
WOMEN’S RBS 6 NATIONS: Friday, February 27
IRELAND WOMEN (3rd) v ENGLAND WOMEN (4th), Ashbourne RFC, 7.30pm (live stream on www.IrishRugby.ie/live RTÉ 2fm)
– The Ireland Women have won just one of their last four encounters, 30-5 over Italy in Florence three weeks ago
– Ireland’s eight-match home winning run ended with the 10-5 defeat to France in the last round
– England Women’s only loss in their last eleven matches was 13-0 to Wales in Swansea in round 1 of this year’s Women’s Six Nations
– Ireland’s only previous victory in their 20 encounters with England Women was 25-0 at Ashbourne in this equivalent fixture two years ago
– Ireland have had six different try scorers so far in this year’s Women’s Six Nations – captain Niamh Briggs, Ailis Egan, Gillian Bourke, Paula Fitzpatrick, Jenny Murphy and Heather O’Brien
Match Ticket Info: Supporters can pay at the gate. Tickets are priced at €;10 for adults and €;5 for OAPs, students and children. The game will will be streamed live on www.IrishRugby.ie, with commentary from Adrian O’Farrell and Ireland’s 2013 Grand Slam-winning captain Fiona Coghlan.
IRELAND WOMEN: Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians/Munster) (capt); Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Jenny Murphy (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Katie Fitzhenry (Blackrock/Leinster), Alison Miller (Portlaoise/Connacht); Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Larissa Muldoon (Skewen); Ruth O’Reilly (Galwegians/Connacht), Gillian Bourke (Olympico de Pozuelo), Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Sophie Spence (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Marie Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s/Leinster), Claire Molloy (Bristol/Connacht), Heather O’Brien (Highfield/Munster).
Replacements: Sarah Mimnagh (Wasps/Exile), Fiona Hayes (UL Bohemians/Munster), Fiona O’Brien (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Orla Fitzsimons (St. Mary’s/Leinster), Katie Norris (Blackrock/Leinster), Tania Rosser (Blackrock/Leinster), Jackie Shiels (Richmond/Exile), Sene Naoupu (Galwegians/Connacht).
ENGLAND WOMEN: Lauren Cattell (Saracens); Ruth Laybourn (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Abigail Brown (Bristol), Ceri Large (Worcester), Sydney Gregson (Bristol); Katy Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks) (capt), Bianca Blackburn (Worcester); Rochelle Clark (Worcester), Victoria Fleetwood (Saracens), Laura Keates (Worcester), Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Abbie Scott (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Alexandra Matthews (Richmond), Hannah Gallagher (Saracens), Harriet Millar-Mills (Waterloo).
Replacements: Amy Cokayne (Lichfield), Heather Kerr (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Justine Lucas (Lichfield), Rowena Burnfield (Richmond), Hannah Field (Richmond), Fiona Davidson (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Megan Goddard (Worcester), Amber Reed (Bristol).
Referee: Leah Berard (USA)
Assistant Referees: Joy Neville, John Carvill (both Ireland)
RBS 6 NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP: Sunday, March 1
IRELAND (2nd) v ENGLAND (1st), Aviva Stadium, 3pm (live RTÉ Two/BBC One/RTÉ Radio 1/IRFU Live Blog)
STATS & FACTS
– Ireland have won their last nine Tests since their 13-10 defeat at Twickenham in round 3 last year. Their best ever all-time run is ten wins in-a-row set from 2002 to 2003
– Ireland have not been defeated at the Aviva Stadium since losing out in the final seconds of their clash with New Zealand on November 24, 2013
– England have won their last four matches since the Springboks beat them 31-28 at Twickenham in November
– England have won their last six fixtures in the RBS 6 Nations since losing out to France in Paris in the opening round last season
– England have won their last four Tests against Ireland, their best success rate against the Irishmen since the turn of the millennium
– England’s record in their last 13 visits to Lansdowne Road/Aviva Stadium since 1987 is won nine, lost four
ON THE PITCH
– England’s Jonathan Joseph has beaten more defenders in the first two rounds of this year’s RBS 6 Nations than any other player (nine)
– Ireland scrum half Conor Murray has thrown 41 more passes than any other player in rounds 1 and 2
– England captain Chris Robshaw is the top tackler so far, making an impressive 45 tackles, and only missing one
– Ireland have the most ball wins in open play with 206, while England have made the most metres so far (880)
– Irish players, along with French, have made the fewest clean breaks with just five so far
IRELAND: Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster); Tommy Bowe (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Jared Payne (Ulster), Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Connacht), Simon Zebo (Cork Constitution/Munster); Jonathan Sexton (Racing Metro 92), Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster); Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster), Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster), Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster), Paul O’Connell (Young Munster/Munster) (capt), Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster), Sean O’Brien (UCD/Leinster), Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster).
Replacements: Sean Cronin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster), Martin Moore (Lansdowne/Leinster), Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster), Tommy O’Donnell (UL Bohemians/Munster), Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster), Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster), Felix Jones (Shannon/Munster).
ENGLAND: Alex Goode (Saracens); Anthony Watson (Bath), Jonathan Joseph (Bath), Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs); George Ford (Bath), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers); Joe Marler (Harlequins), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), David Attwood (Bath), George Kruis (Saracens), James Haskell (Wasps), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins) (capt), Billy Vunipola (Saracens).
Replacements: Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Henry Thomas (Bath), Nick Easter (Harlequins), Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens), Danny Cipriani (Sale Sharks), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester).
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Jérôme Garcès, Mathieu Raynal (both France)
Television Match Official: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)
– Compiled by SFMS Limited (Stuart Farmer Media Services)