Ireland v England - England player profiles
The English starting XV chasing history against Ireland
15 Mike Brown
Weight: 90kg (14st 2lbs)
He has presence under the high ball and his first instinct is to counterattack where he generally beats the first tackler. Kick loosely and Ireland will be in trouble.
14 Anthony Watson
Weight: 93kg (14st 9lbs)
Takes over from Jack Nowell after a try-scoring cameo against Scotland. He is strong, very quick and one reason for his promotion is that he is taller and better able to contest an aerial game.
13 Jonathan Joseph
Weight: 95kg (14st 13lbs)
He was back to his very best against Scotland with a hat-trick of tries that showcased his prodigious ability as a runner with great balance and pace.
12 Owen Farrell
Weight: 94kg (14st 11lbs)
He’s an important playmaker for England will his range of passing particularly impressive over the last season or so. He kicked 26 points against the Scots but it’s his all-round game that marks him as a standout player in an exceptional team.
11 Elliot Daly
Weight: 83kg (13st 1lb)
He has recovered from a tip tackle to take his place. Ostensibly a centre, and an outstanding one at that, he has shifted seamlessly to the wing at Test level, while continuing to showcase his ability.
10 George Ford
Weight: 86kg (13st 7lbs)
One of two playmakers that gives the team a different attacking dimension and in Ford he has someone who is very good at finding opposition pressure points either passing or running. Ireland will seek him out in defence.
9 Ben Youngs
Weight: 76kg (11st 13lbs)
He exudes a new-found maturity in his play and that has been facilitated by the calibre of possession he’s getting from his pack. He’s an eye for a gap and the pace to maximise a breach.
1 Joe Marler
Weight: 114kg (17st 13lbs)
At various points in his career a man of many hairstyles but underneath the colourful veneer, lies an excellent prop. He has perpetual look of being unhappy and likes nothing more than a toe-to-toe slugfest.
2 Dylan Hartley
Weight: 113kg (17st 11lbs)
An occasional bête-noir for opposition rugby teams but whatever about his indiscretions at club level they haven’t surfaced under the gaze of Eddie Jones; a tough, uncompromising player.
3 Dan Cole
Weight: 120kg (18st 12lbs)
Referees occasionally take a dislike to the pictures he paints at scrum time and that’s led to a few three pointers but it can’t camouflage the integrity of his workrate and a no-nonsense approach. He’s started England’s last 23 Tests.
4 Joe Launchbury
Weight: 115kg (18st 1lb)
Another player who has rediscovered his best form following some injury issues, he’s been one of the team’s outstanding players; a superb athlete.
5 Courtney Lawes
Weight: 113kg (17st 11lbs)
He has played in England’s last 12 Tests, all bar one in the secondrow, a recognition of his improved form after a period outside the national side; hits hard, carries hard.
6 Maro Itoje
Weight: 110kg (17st 4lbs)
Captained England to a Junior (under-20) World Championship win in 2015. Made his debut against Italy last season and but for a broken hand that ruled him out of November would have played every Test. A world-class athlete at home in the secondrow or at flanker.
7 James Haskell
Weight: 17st 6lbs
Perhaps the living and breathing example of the bulldog spirit, it would not be an exaggeration to say he loves the physical side of the game and excels in his defensive role.
8 Billy Vunipola
Weight: 128kg (20st 2lbs)
A superb ball carrier, he consistently gets his team over the gain-line while attracting multiple tacklers.