Five talking points ahead of crunch Ireland v England encounter

Scotland's captain Greig Laidlaw Italy's captain Sergio Parisse Ireland's captain Rory Best Wales' captain Alan Wyn Jones England's captain Owen Farrell and France's captain Guilhem Guirado during the Guinness Six Nations launc

This year is shaping up to be one of the best series in recent memory Credit PA

Silverware in the Irish locker will pain England and Eddie Jones, who takes his squad to the nation he used to coach for the World Cup later in the year, is a man who has enormous pride in his record, so there is certainly a score to be settled.

Ireland are the one country to consistently test England and France in recent years.

It will be about who can win that arm wrestle up front.' Ireland defeated world champions New Zealand in the November internationals and are among the favourites for this year's World Cup in Japan. We're trying to replicate what is going to happen later this year (at the World Cup).

Morgan Parra teams up with Clermont teammate Camille Lopez at half-back for just the second time at worldwide level and four years after their previous game together, in the 2015 Six Nations.

Ireland could not care less, but know full well there is nothing boring about winning a Grand Slam, or beating the much-vaunted All Blacks - as Joe Schmidt's men did in a stunning 2018.

While rapid line speed, a dominant set-piece and a ruthless approach at the breakdown continue to lay the foundations, Schmidt's side has plenty of X-factor to hurt any opponent.

Italy head coach Conor O'Shea spoke to the team's fitness coach last week and the pair believe the 35-year-old "has got his mojo back" ahead of his Five/Six Nations record-setting 66th appearance in Scotland this Saturday.

In a magnificent game of Six Nations rugby between two teams desperate to begin their respective campaigns with a victory, neither fly half...

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The game's authorities, World Rugby, have attempted to tackle renewed safety concerns by lowering tackle heights.

"I don't think that was necessarily part of a plan, but it certainly put Keith out of the game, and he was our most experienced back-3 player". "I back myself, but there's a lot of f***ing people!" Maybe we can carry on together'.

Expect seismic collisions as two of the global game's most physical exponents hurtle straight down each other's channel.

Quite how that manifests remains to be seen, but former Fiji Sevens coach Ben Ryan recently revealed on Twitter he utilised Isoa Damudamu as a "libero" or sweeper in his days coaching Newbury.

"We knew we had to win that battle to win the game".

It also forecasts that England will likely win the Six Nations if they beat Ireland tomorrow, but gives the Irish a 56 per cent chance of seeing off Eddie Jones's side, who have a reasonable 41 per cent chance of causing an upset. And they backed that up with a lot of physical intent.

"It was odd", Gatland said of the rain-hit match where France race out to a 16-0 half-time lead before Wales came back in the second period.

France coach Jacques Brunel has paired him alongside Wesley Fofana, who is playing in his final Six Nations, and left out Mathieu Bastareaud completely for the match at Stade de France.

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