Dublin delight for England

  • By: David Gee
  • Last Updated: February 28 2013, 17:04 GMT

David Gee takes a look ahead to the second round of action in the RBS 6 Nations, with England fancied for victory in Dublin.

England are fancied for back-to-back victories
England are fancied for back-to-back victories

The match kicks off at 1500 GMT on Sunday with many suggesting the winner will go on to lift the famous trophy.

Here's his big-match verdict.

Ireland v England

Many pundits are billing this as the 'title-decider' and whilst there may be some justification for this after two impressive victories last weekend, both Ireland and England know that it is a little too early in the tournament for that kind of rhetoric. Ireland simply blew Wales away in the first half at the Millennium Stadium last weekend but I got the distinct feeling that Howley's men made the Irish look very good in the first 40 minutes. The second half wasn't so impressive and Declan Kidney's side really let Wales back into the game and the end result was a little too close for comfort. Ireland looked to take their foot off the gas in the second half which was surprising and they will have to play a lot more evenly if they are to get the better of England on Sunday afternoon. England posted another ruthless performance against Scotland at Twickenham last Saturday and whilst it wasn't the most taxing victory they've ever earned, there was a real no-nonsense quality to it which seems to typify the Red Rose under Stuart Lancaster. Their pack is solid, their backs are creative and tough-tackling and the boot of Owen Farrell is more than reliable. Lancaster will have to do without Ben Morgan this weekend as he has not been included in the travelling party after spraining his ankle in the match against Scotland. James Haskell is expected to be promoted to the starting line-up at flanker with Tom Wood shifting across to cover Morgan at eight. Ireland are not expected to make many changes either with the evergreen Brian O'Driscoll spearheading their attack from centre. He rolled back the years last weekend against Wales and his link-up with exciting winger Simon Zebo will be the key to Ireland's hopes. However, there's not a lot wrong with England at the moment and I've no doubt that if they win this game, they will only have to overcome France at home to land the Grand Slam. I thought they might be slight favourites to win this match so to see even money available about an away victory is quite tempting. Lancaster's men were easily the more impressive in their victory last weekend and I still have slight doubts over the Irish having seen them let Wales back into the game so quickly last Saturday in Cardiff. I don't think there will be much in this game but England's new-found ruthlessness - coupled with the reliable boot of Farrell - should be enough to see them record their second successive victory.

Verdict: England by 5.

  • Preview posted at 1950 GMT on 07/02/2013.