England vs Ireland: A Surprise for the Millenium Trophy?

Banner featuring the logo of the Rugby Six Nations tournament next to the flags of England and Ireland Banner featuring the logo of the Rugby Six Nations tournament next to the flags of England and Ireland
TournamentSix Nations
TimetableSaturday 12th of March at 16:45 GMT
PredictionIreland to Win
OddsIreland to Win @ 1.75
Ireland to Win
The best odds
Odds : 1.75
Bet €100 and win €175 if Ireland win.
€50+ 50 Free Spins
Casumo Sport
Odds : 1.72
Bet €100 and win €172 if Ireland win.
Odds : 1.72
Bet €100 and win €172 if Ireland win.

It has been a case of so far so good for England in the Six Nations 2022, with two wins, against Italy in Rome, in week two, and Wales at home, last week, respectively. Can they grab another victory to push themselves back into second place? Will their rivals across the Irish sea shut the door on an English comeback? Let us take a look at some of the factors that will influence this momentous match.

england-ireland-six-nations-rugby england-ireland-six-nations-rugby

Background on England vs Ireland

Almost 150 years have passed since the very first England vs Ireland match. That makes this event one of the oldest sporting events, not just in in the world. The original iteration ended in a score of two goals to nil, to England - due to the fact that the sport did not use the same scoring system as its modern variant. In total, there have been 138 matches between England and Ireland - England claiming victory 80 times, Ireland grabbing 50, and there being 8 draws. Since 1988, both sides have also played for the Millennium Trophy, or Corn na Mílaoise in Irish, with Ireland being the current holders.

Six Nations Results So Far

One of the ways to predict the outcome of a rugby match is to look at the current form of both sides. With that in mind, I have provided the results from the first three weeks of the Six Nations 2022, to analyse England's and Ireland's performances.

England Results

Scotland vs England20-17Scotland
Italy vs England0-33England
England vs Wales23-19England

Ireland Results

Ireland vs Wales29-7Ireland
France vs Ireland30-24France
Ireland vs Italy57-6Ireland

Analysis of Results

There are a few ways to look at these results:

  1. Both nations have two wins apiece, so this is going to be

    a fairly even match.

  2. Ireland have almost exactly twice the points difference (67) over England (34), so it looks like Ireland are going to grab at least four points on Saturday.

With these notions in mind, perhaps it would be worth taking a look at last year's clash, to see if there is greater verisimilitude to the first or second idea.

Performance in the Six Nations 2021

In the Six Nations 2021, Ireland came off the better of the two rivals, punishing England by 32 points to 18. This was made all the worse for England when Ireland finished third, two places above in the standings, leaving England in the most abysmal form they had been in for years, in fifth. Based on these results, I believe we may be discovering that this will be a walk-over by Ireland.

World Rankings Updated 2022

The world rankings were updated in recent weeks, and I think they offer an interesting insight into how World Rugby perceives both England and Ireland:

New World RankingCountryOld World RankingShift
1South Africa1No change
2New Zealand2No change
5Ireland5No change
6Australia6No change
9Argentina9No change
10Japan10No change

As you can see, England have fallen from third place in the standings, barely staying above Ireland, who are nipping at their ankles from fifth place. The fact that England are seen to be slipping from their fantastic form in the Autumn Internationals 2021 and that Ireland seem to be standing firm in the top five makes me feel that England could be caught unawares. If England does not recognise the danger and the team plays complacenctly, things are going to go south very quickly.

How Players Have Scored in the Six Nations 2022 So Far

Whenever I am asked about important aspects of rugby, one of the many factors I highlight is a team's ability to read the game, create space, and to deliver on their attacking promise. If a team has the know-how consistently to convert defensive mistakes into points on the board, they stand a good chance of walking away with glory. With that in mind, let's take a look at England's and Ireland's attacking potential, based on how they have delivered in the first three weeks.

England Players

PlayerNumber of TriesNumber of ConversionsNumber of PenaltiesNumber of Drop GoalsTotal Points
Marcus Smith2410048
Jamie George200010
Elliot Daly10005
Alex Dombrandt10005
Kyle Sinckler10005

Ireland Players

PlayerNumber of TriesNumber of ConversionsNumber of PenaltiesNumber of Drop GoalsTotal Points
Joey Carbery151018
Johnny Sexton071017
Andrew Conway200010
Jamison Gibson-Park200010
Michael Lowry200010
James Lowe200010
Bundee Aki10005
Ryan Baird10005
Mack Hansen10005
Peter O'Mahony10005
Garry Ringrose10005
Kieran Treadwell10005
Josh van der Flier10005

Analysis of Points Scoring

Looking at the statistics, we can see that Ireland have been able to drill 110 points with 13 players, whereas England have only managed 73 with 5 players. Ireland are clearly showing a lot of depth to their attacking strategy, managing to bring in as many players on the pitch into sticking points on the board. On the other hand, England seem primarily focused on dominating with forwards play, using their strong pack to drive the ball over the line. Both teams have found aspects of their play that works, but whose strategy gives them the greatest chance of seeing success on Saturday? I can not deny the potential that Ireland have, so I think it is going to be an uphill struggle for England to fight back over all 80 minutes.

The 16th Man: The Effect of the Home Crowd at the Twickenham

Twickenham saw a close win against Wales last week, so England rugby fans will surely be expecting the same against Ireland. I think the crowd's support will help England keep in the game up till the 60-minute mark, but after that? I worry the effect of Swing Low ringing around the stands will make little difference to a fatigued England keeping up their momentum.

My England vs Ireland Prediction Winner

In my heart of hearts, as an Englishman and England rugby fan, I would really like to believe that England will pull themselves together and do the business. What does my head say, though? Look at the statistics. My head wants me to look at last year, look at the first three weeks' results, and look at how Ireland have the means and know-how to put any player into a scoring position. For me, sad but true, I feel this is going to be Ireland's game.

Steven Brown - Rugby Coach and Writer

steven-brown steven-brown

This prediction was written by Steven Brown.

Steven grew up in the football-mad town of Cannock, Staffordshire, in the UK, but he was introduced to rugby at the age of 11. He was a keen player in his youth, and went on to set up a successful sports agency, working with rugby stars such as Leicester legend and England captain, Martin Corry.

Steven’s great love for the game has also led him to exemplary coaching success, having coached men’s and youth teams in the UK, Luxembourg, New Zealand and Malta. Two of his personal highlights from his time coaching came in the form of having six All Blacks lead a one-and-a-half-hour coaching and QA session for an U14s team he had helped to set up and a Best Coaches conference where he had the privilege of talking rugby with a coaching idol of his, Graham Henry. Steven is now pursuing his love of coaching once more, back in the UK.

You can follow Steven Brown on his Linkedin.

Ireland to Win