'Angry' England pack ready for Ireland

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 15:21
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SIX NATIONS BUILD-UP: England's forwards are ready to put their "anger" to good use against grand slam-chasing Ireland at Twickenham, according to scrum coach Neal Hatley.

Back-to-back away defeats by Scotland and France wrecked England's hopes of a third straight Six Nations title ahead of their tournament finale against newly-crowned champions Ireland.

England, however, have won all 14 of their Tests at Twickenham since Australian Eddie Jones took over as coach after their 2015 World Cup debacle.

Now they must try to defend that record on Saturday against an on-form Ireland side bidding for just their third grand slam of all-time.

Jones responded to England's 22-16 loss in Paris last weekend by making seven changes and three positional switches, with the Australian altering every row of the scrum.

"I'd say they're angry and I'd say they're competitive as well," Hatley told reporters at Twickenham on Friday when asked about England's pack.

"There's obviously a certain bit of anger over what's happened across the last two weeks, which is what you'd expect from this group of players,"

England's forwards have struggled to adapt to a more competitive breakdown contest than the one normally allowed in their domestic Premiership.

"We know it's an area we have to improve in," said Hatley. "It's about the way we carry the ball and our speed to the breakdown.

"Ireland have probably attacked the breakdown less than they have done in the past two seasons but in people like Peter O’Mahony, CJ Stander, Cian Healy, Tadhg Furlong, Rory Best – they have a lot of players who are very good over the ball.

"We're under no illusions as to how tough the task will be and how good we need to be in that area,"

England are set to give a first Test start to Kyle Sinckler in place of benched veteran prop Dan Cole.

Harlequins front-row Sinckler has won all his 12 previous Test caps, including three for the British and Irish Lions off the bench.

Sinckler is known for being a volatile character, but Hatley said he would cope with the responsibility of starting.

"I think without question. He came on, he had a real impact the last 20 minutes out in France and quite rightly has earned an opportunity,"

England will again look to prop Mako Vunipola for another all-action display in a pack where captain Dylan Hartley returns after missing the France defeat with a calf injury.

"We ask Mak to carry the ball a lot," said Hatley. "He finishes games making 15, 16 carries, 18 tackles and however many scrums, line-outs, clean-outs.

"It's an intense game and the way that Mako likes to play is high-speed. I think he's coped unbelievably well with the workload,"

Jones came under fire after a video emerged Wednesday in which the Australian referred to Ireland as "scummy" and described Wales as a "shit place" during a speech given to corporate sponsors last year.

"Eddie has been good and has apologised unreservedly," said Hatley. "Eddie has been Eddie - there has been no change in his demeanour and he is getting on with his job."

Agence France-Presse

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Team P W D L Pts
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