Can Ireland stop England from achieving history?

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It would also be the first time since 1992 that England have won successive Grand Slams, but they will face an Ireland side licking their wounds after their title hopes were ended by a loss to Wales in Cardiff last Friday.

If they beat Scotland they will have established a record – 18 – consecutive wins in a row in worldwide rugby without having to play New Zealand.

“Those first 20 minutes are going to be vital for us and we’ll put a massive emphasis on making sure we get those early exchanges right”, said the 27-year-old Youngs, now a veteran of 71 Tests.

“We’ve prepared very nicely this week on the back of a good result”.

“We’ll beat England because we’re pulling on a green jersey, because we’re at home and we expect probably a better, more consistent performance over the 80 minutes than we’ve delivered so far in this championship”.

It has not all been plain sailing during the reign of the diminutive Australian; there have been poor performances, but even then, England have found a way to win a game.

After humiliating Scotland at Twickenham, Jones was quick to tell the media his second-ranked team was not yet the best in the world.

“We played a slightly different style of footy to what we perhaps got throughout the rest of the year back home”.

Moreover, it was Ireland who confounded plenty of pundits by beating New Zealand 40-29 in Chicago in November to end the world champions’ 18-match winning streak.

“I like to think that the way we have attacked the last 18 games, we’ve come out with intent and intensity and done the right things bar a few matches”.

“Any team can be beaten on their day”, said Ireland coach Joe Schmidt, citing several recent sporting thrillers, including Barcelona’s astounding comeback to hammer Paris Saint Germain 6-1 in football’s Champions League.

“Sometimes it’s through tactics like Italy pulled, other times it’s just playing the game really, really well”.

Yes, there’ll be a sprinkle of some unknown, there’ll be some trick plays, there always is.

“It’s a very hard place to go to”.

It has been a long time coming for England women, who won their seventh straight title five years ago but had failed to do so since. “It’s a huge occasion”.

“All the guys have put their hands up – Mako, Joe, Jamie, Dylan. there isn’t a single player in the front row who hasn’t put his hand up”, England’s scrum coach said. Obviously, if that opponent becomes England, the world’s number two side, the All Blacks will have their best side on the park and will have to have a plan on how they can still perform at top gear in the next fixtures against France, Scotland and Wales.

“We have one of the best tightheads in the world in Dan Cole and one of the best upcoming tightheads in Kyle Sinckler”. “They’re three key characteristics going forward as a team”.

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While Saturday’s attempt to win a record 19th successive worldwide match will not take the players to the summit, it represents another hard-fought climb towards their Everest.

Steve Hansen: England equalling All Blacks' record 'great for rugby'

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