England Ireland Odds : Six Nations set for climax of rugby

Ahead of taking on Ireland in the final Six Nations contest this weekend, England coach Stuart Lancaster believes that the team have come a long way since he took the job earlier this year.

England won 24-22 in France last weekend of course – perhaps ensuring Lancaster will get the job full-time in the process – and now they take on Ireland at Twickenham on Saturday afternoon.

Speaking about the progress his team has made in 2012, Lancaster said: “I think we’ve come an awful long way. The first day at Leeds [at England’s pre-Six Nations training camp], effectively I had three groups of players.”

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“A group of players who went to the World Cup, a group of players who’d never been involved with England before and a group who’d been there but only got one or two caps – we had to merge that group.”

“To get a sense of ‘we’re all in it together’ and then to go on the journey we’ve been on in the Six Nations has been fantastic.”

There is no doubt that Lancaster will want to finish strongly though and they do still have a slim chance of retaining their Six Nations title of course. If Wales lose heavily to France earlier on Saturday, a big England win could secure them top spot.

As for Ireland, they will be looking to end a frustrating campaign on a positive note. So far in the 2012 Six Nations, Declan Kidney’s men have secured victories over Italy and Scotland, but suffered a defeat to Wales and got a credible draw in France.

Looking at the head to head record between these two, Ireland have won seven of their last eight Six Nations matches against England. This includes three of the last four at Twickenham.

Another statistic to consider is that England have only scored five tries in their four matches so far while Ireland will hope to celebrate St Patrick’s Day with a win at Twickenham. This famous contest gets underway at 5pm on Saturday from 5pm.

Over 10 years in football analysis and online publishing with articles featured in a number of different publications.

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