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Opta Match Facts Preview: Ireland v England

Ireland v England

A view of the Ireland v England match programme featuring Cian Healy on the cover ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Opta bring you all the team and player facts you need as the build-up continues to Ireland’s opening Guinness Six Nations encounter with England at the Aviva Stadium today (kick-off 4.45pm).

IRELAND v ENGLAND – TEAM FORM & FACTS:

– Ireland have won their last two games against England in all competitions and are searching for a third consecutive win against them for the first
time since a string of three victories between 2009 and 2011

– England have won just twice in nine trips (2003 and 2013) to Dublin in the Six Nations since Italy joined the tournament in 2000. They have failed to score a try in each of their last three such visits

– England have lost their last three games in the Six Nations. They have not lost more consecutive fixtures in the Championship since a run of four straight defeats across the 2004 and 2005 campaigns

– Ireland have won their last 12 home games in all competitions, their longest ever such run. They have also won their last seven home matches in the Six Nations, again a record for them

– Ireland completed the Grand Slam last year, however no side has managed to achieve this in consecutive seasons in the Six Nations, with France the last side to do it in the Five Nations (1997-98). Ireland have won their last six games in the Championship overall, only once before have they won seven in a row (2004-05)

– Ireland averaged the longest time in possession per game of any tier 1 team in 2018 (22 minutes 8 seconds), averaging the most carries (165) and conceding the fewest turnovers (12.2) and infringements (7.8)

– England hooker Jamie George made 35/35 tackles during the November Tests, no other tier 1 player attempted as many without missing. The last time George missed a tackle for England was in the second Test of their series against South Africa last June

– Ireland winger Jacob Stockdale scored a record seven tries in the 2018 Six Nations, including one in each of his last four appearances, only nine players ever have scored in five consecutive Five/Six Nations matches and only three have done so in the Six Nations era (Philippe Bernat-Salles, Shane Williams and George North)

Devin Toner has won his last 17 Test matches in a row, no player has won more consecutive matches in an Ireland shirt in Test history (level with Guy Easterby – 2001-03 and Leo Cullen – 2002-05)

– Chris Ashton’s last Six Nations appearance for England was in 2013. He started all 15 games between 2011 and 2013 (also one appearance in 2010) but only crossed the whitewash in three of those 16 matches (7 tries)

IRELAND – PLAYER NOTES:

Robbie Henshaw made his Ireland debut at full-back against the USA in June 2013, not playing for Ireland in that position in any of his subsequent 35 caps

CJ Stander has been the top ball carrier in each of the last two editions of the Six Nations, making a record 104 carries in 2017 and 96 in 2018

Sean Cronin has made 56 appearances for Ireland from the bench, more replacement appearances than any other player from any nation

Conor Murray has provided 16 try assists in his Six Nations career, one more will draw him level with Jonny Wilkinson and Ronan O’Gara with the most in the tournament’s history

– Ireland captain Rory Best will make his 15th appearance against England, equalling Mike Gibson for the most caps for Ireland v England

– Tadhg Furlong made more metres (116) and beat more defenders (14) than any other prop from a tier 1 nation in 2018

ENGLAND – PLAYER NOTES:

– Both Tom Curry and Mark Wilson will make their Six Nations debuts in this match

– Flanker Tom Curry has won more turnovers than any other player in the English Premiership this season (16)

– Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade will be the 12th different centre partnership that England have started a Test with since the 2015 World Cup, it will be the sixth different partnership involving Slade

– Elliot Daly made his England debut against Ireland in 2016. The last player to make their England debut against Ireland in Ireland was David Strettle in 2007, scoring a try in the process

IRELAND v ENGLAND – HEAD-TO-HEAD:

– England’s two victories away to Ireland in the Six Nations came in 2003 and 2013, despite this they have only averaged three points per game fewer than Ireland in their clashes in Dublin (England 15 to Ireland’s 18)

– Ireland and England were the top two try-scoring teams in the Six Nations last year

– Ireland conceded the fewest penalties in last year’s tournament while England conceded the fewest turnovers

– These two sides made more carries and passes than any other sides in the 2018 tournament