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England vs Ireland Prediction: Will It Be a Comeback? Or Is Their Fate Sealed?

James
March 10, 2022
Modified: March 10, 2022

It is crunch time in week four, as England and Ireland battle for second place in the Six Nations 2022, and possibly set up themselves for a sneaky grab of the title away from France in week five. All is still to play for, and Twickenham is going to be electric on Saturday, 12th of March, when kick-off comes.

History of the Team’s Encounters

The England vs Ireland match, now also including the prize of the Millennium Trophy (since 1988), has a long prestige of epic clashes. Since 1875, the two teams have forged a bitter rivalry, with England managing to claim almost 60% of the honours. Let’s take a look at the history below.

Wins for EnglandWins for IrelandTied Matches
50308

Some may think that the past will dictate another England win in the pipeline, but I think there are other factors that need to be considered before Ireland are written off so early.

New World Rankings

We have had another update from World Rugby, as to how they think all of the nations stand in relative strength. Below, we can see the new rankings alongside how teams have shifted in the table.

RankCountry
1 (-)South Africa
2 (-)New Zealand
3 (↑)France
4 (↓)England
5 (-)Ireland
6 (-)Australia
7 (↑)Wales
8 (↓)Scotland
9 (-)Argentina
10 (-)Japan

Third and fourth makes this match too close to call for me. I do not think it fair to say that England’s extra spot up will guarantee happy home fans, come the final whistle, especially since they have dropped a place to France. I believe the greatest take-away from these standings is that it shows the importance of this match in chasing away the Six Nations title from world third place, France.

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Results from the First Three Weeks

Our best indicator in predicting the England vs Ireland outcome is likely going to come from analysing the first three weeks’ results. Here’s how both sides have shaped up at the half-way point.

England MatchesScoreWinner
Scotland vs England20-17Scotland
Italy vs England0-33England
England vs Wales23-19England
Ireland MatchesScoreWinner
Ireland vs Wales29-7Ireland
France vs Ireland30-24France
Ireland vs Italy57-6Ireland

I believe you can look at these results with two schools of thought:

  1. Both nations have drummed up two wins each. On this thinking, it’s going to be a tight game, and the results do not give too much away in terms of a clear winner.
  2. Ireland have produced the better of the two sets of results, meaning that they have a slight advantage, going into this game. How big an edge that is still remains to be seen, but I believe, out of the two theories, this is the one which should be treated with greater weight.

The 16th Man and the Benefits of Playing at Home

After a win against Wales in week three, there is going to be pressure on England to deliver again. Thankfully, they do have the advantage of playing at Twickenham. What is going to be the real effect of playing at home, though? Whilst I believe the friendly fans are going to do their job in lifting England to perform, I worry that this will not be enough to silence the Irish. Ireland are used to playing under such conditions, and I feel they will be hungrier for Six Nations glory than the home side. Overall, I think the crowd will make a difference, but not enough to see an English victory.

Attacking Options Based on Previous Points Scorers

Rugby is all about points scoring. Your opposition could rack up 100 points on the board, but they will still lose if you can stick 101 of your own next to them. Having a solid defence is, of course, a crucial discipline, but without an ability to get the ball over the line and over the posts, any great team can fall short of the mark. Let us take a look at what both teams have in their lockers, in terms of attacking abilities.

England

PlayerPointsPoints Break-down
Marcus Smith482 tries, 4 conversions, 10 penalties, 0 drop goals
Jamie George102 tries, 0 conversions, 0 penalties, 0 drop goals
Elliot Daly51 try, 0 conversions, 0 penalties, 0 drop goals
Alex Dombrandt51 try, 0 conversions, 0 penalties, 0 drop goals
Kyle Sinckler51 try, 0 conversions, 0 penalties, 0 drop goals

Ireland

PlayerPointsPoints Break-down
Joey Carbery181 try, 5 conversions, 1 penalty, 0 drop goals
Johnny Sexton170 tries, 7 conversions, 1 penalty, 0 drop goals
Andrew Conway102 tries, 0 conversions, 0 penalties, 0 drop goals
Jamison Gibson-Park102 tries, 0 conversions, 0 penalties, 0 drop goals
Michael Lowry102 tries, 0 conversions, 0 penalties, 0 drop goals
James Lowe102 tries, 0 conversions, 0 penalties, 0 drop goals
Bundee Aki51 try, 0 conversions, 0 penalties, 0 drop goals
Ryan Baird51 try, 0 conversions, 0 penalties, 0 drop goals
Mack Hansen51 try, 0 conversions, 0 penalties, 0 drop goals
Peter O’Mahony51 try, 0 conversions, 0 penalties, 0 drop goals
Garry Ringrose51 try, 0 conversions, 0 penalties, 0 drop goals
Kieran Treadwell51 try, 0 conversions, 0 penalties, 0 drop goals
Josh van der Flier51 try, 0 conversions, 0 penalties, 0 drop goals

Whereas some of the other factors were a close call, to say the least, I think this is the area that highlights Ireland potentially dominating the scoreboard. 13 players to 5 who have scored so far in the Six Nations, alongside 110 points to 73, embarrasses England’s attacking dynamic. You can give a lot of credit to youngster, Marcus Smith, for his world-class efforts in finding the line and the posts, but where is his support? Ireland have quality to score throughout their squad, and they are going to use all of it to punish the English.

My Overall England vs Ireland Match Prediction Winner: The Millennium Trophy Will Stay Put

It is going to be an exciting match for all rugby fans, but I think that fans of England rugby, like me, are going to be disappointed. Andy Farrell has been doing a fantastic job with Ireland over the years, and I believe Twickenham is going to see exactly what his lads are capable of, on Saturday. As much as it pains me to say it, I am predicting Ireland, after 80 minutes, to be lifting the Millennium Trophy again.

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James

Gambling Consultant at Betiton