6 Nations Betting: Five reasons why the Irish will beat England on Sunday

Munster's Paul O'Connell is vital to Ireland's hopes against England
Munster's Paul O'Connell is vital to Ireland's hopes against England

Callum Davis previews Ireland's showdown with England in Dublin and comes up with five reasons why Irish eyes might well be smiling come Sunday night...

"Ireland are led in the pack by the part-man part-tree Paul O’Connell. There is no equivalent for England. Meanwhile, world class Jonny Sexton matches up against George Ford who, despite showing clear promise, remains wet behind the ears internationally."

England don't know what their best side is 

After nearly three years at the helm, Stuart Lancaster still doesn't know his best XV. The English are having to deal with a raft of injuries to key personnel hampering any hopes of settling on any regular combinations in essential positions. Since the centre partnership of Will Greenwood and Mike Tindall which helped the Red Roses to World Cup glory in 2003, England have fielded 44 different partnerships in the centres and they look no closer to finding their perfect pair now. As we all know, such a cavalier attitude to partners is never conducive to a successful long term relationship.  


Ireland Have Been Holding Back

After a solid but unconvincing start from the Green Men, it's safe to say that they have not got into top gear yet. Renowned in recent years for their combination of brute force and guile, the absence of Brian O'Driscoll this time around has seen them rely more on sheer tenacity over sleight of hand versus Italy and France. However with lynchpin Jonny Sexton getting closer to match sharpness all the time, England should beware of his ability to harness the potency of a back line which boasts seasoned Test players like Rob Kearney, Tommy Bowe and Simon Zebo.    


Dublin

From professional rugby players on the pitch to stag-do revellers on the streets of Temple Bar, nights rarely end well for the English in the Irish capital. After a tricky transition from the fortress of Croke Park to the Aviva Stadium, Ireland have turned their home patch into a formidable venue for travelling sides. In Autumn 2013, the greatest rugby side of recent times nearly had their 33 straight winning run broken when Irish heroics were eventually overcome by a last minute New Zealand try. Be in no doubt, home advantage means a lot here.

 
Courage To Play

Fear is a powerful thing in Rugby. Fear of playing running rugby with heads up and ball in hand can stifle a team's attacking instincts and extinguish their try scoring ambitions. With the enthusiastic backing on their home crowd in the Aviva Stadium, Ireland will be buoyed by the support while the atmosphere could see the English shrink and regress to the one dimensional pack-led game plan they know so well.  


Leaders

Ireland are led in the pack by the part-man part-tree Paul O'Connell. There is no equivalent for England. Meanwhile, world class Jonny Sexton matches up against George Ford who, despite showing clear promise, remains wet behind the ears internationally. Sexton has moved beyond the shadow cast by Ronan O'Gara and evolved into a world class fly half in his own right. With the long serving Chris Robshaw captaining the side, England are not short of leaders but they also have an over-reliance on the leadership of players such as Dylan Hartley whose constant indiscipline has cost his club and country in the past.


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