England may have already won the Six Nations Rugby 2017 Live crown, but a trip to Ireland this Saturday will decide whether coach Eddie Jones’ side can become the first team to clinch back-to-back Grand Slams.The Red Rose will also have their chance to match their own personal best of two Triple Crown victories in as many years, having claimed that accolade in both 2002 and 2003, the latter of which also produced a Grand Slam.
Ireland don’t have much to play for other than pride following last Friday’s 22-9 defeat to Wales, but the Boys in Green are still fighting to preserve a second-place finish and retain some dignity at the final hurdle.
That being said, England have once again looked close to unstoppable in their 2017 crusade, and Ireland will be hard-pressed to restrain a team that’s wholly backed up their billing as pre-tournament favourites.
Read on for a breakdown of Saturday’s showdown in Dublin, complete with all the essential viewing information to ensure you don’t miss a minute of the action.
Date: Saturday, March 18
Time: 5 p.m. GMT/1 p.m. ET
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Live Stream: ITV Hub (UK)
TV Info: ITV (UK)
England’s Record at Risk
Jonathan Joseph (with ball) scored a hat-trick in England’s record win over Scotland last Saturday.Warren Little/Getty Images
Although the Triple Crown and Grand Slam honours are undoubtedly huge motivators, England also know a win over Ireland on Saturday would see them break New Zealand’s all-time record for consecutive victories.
As far as warm-up matches go, England’s 61-21 thumping of Scotland in last Saturday’s Calcutta Cup is about as good as it gets, especially after BBC Sport highlighted the result as a record for the team:
Dylan Hartley lifts the Calcutta Cup for England!
They matched the record points margin in this fixture
England’s current 18-match winning streak has unsurprisingly caught the attention of New Zealand coach Steve Hansen, who responded positively to the Red Rose’s challenge, per the BBC (h/t Sky Sports’ Michael Cantillon):
I’d like to congratulate England on equalling the record. It’s great for rugby because we want competition and games that people want to watch and get excited by.
Eddie [Jones] has come in and installed a want and a desire that probably hasn’t been there before. We’ve always felt England have had plenty of talent but not always been willing to work hard.
But they seem to be doing that now under Eddie, and it’s no surprise that they’re putting a run together that’s pretty impressive. Sometimes you get talented players, but they don’t have that work ethic.
Jones would undoubtedly love to get one over his southern hemisphere peers by scoring what would be a tremendous Six Nations Rugby Live for his side, going 19 wins in succession across the space of almost two years.
The Australian tactician has transformed this England team into winners, but he’ll be equally as wary of the threat that awaits in Dublin, as well as the cries of “so close, yet so far” that will follow if he fails.
Joe Schmidt’s Statement
Despite being second in the table, Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has come in for recent criticism.Julian Finney/Getty Images
Ireland sit second in the Six Nations standings for the time being, but with only a point distancing them from fifth-placed Scotland, there’s a realistic chance the Boys in Green could end up as far down as fourth come Saturday evening.
The 22-9 defeat to Wales last Friday was a disappointing display for Ireland coach Joe Schmidt, seeing how offensively inept his side looked.
However, Luke Fitzgerald—who not too long ago played under Schmidt—recently dismissed speculation of the coach’s exit when speaking on The Left Wing podcast (h/t Irish Independent‘s Will Slattery):
That’s ludicrous. I think we need to be careful. We were pretty close to winning both games even though we didn’t play great. I’ve come up under his coaching principles and I’ve been very successful with them. Ireland won two championships out of four and he oversaw Brian O’Driscoll leaving the team, Paul O’Connell leaving the team, a lot of key guys. I think Six Nations Rugby 2017 Live Stream Stream he’s done an unbelievable job.In a cup that’s seen England run away with the top prize while every other outfit has been playing catch-up, Ireland can make a powerful last statement on Saturday if they’re able to conjure up their prime form just in time.