Ireland great Brian O’Driscoll has picked what he believes to be the England centre partnership most likely to worry Joe Schmidt’s men in Dublin this weekend.
O’Driscoll and former English international and World Cup winning rugby player Lawrence Dallaglio were at St. James’s Gate in Dublin to launch the #GuinnessClear campaign and encourage all rugby fans to drink responsibly throughout the Guinness Six Nations by drinking Guinness Clear to moderate their drinking choices.
England and Ireland meet in the opening round of the 2019 Six Nations at the Aviva on February 2nd in what could be a decisive match in the context of this year’s tournament.
O’Driscoll believes that a combination of power and skill is key to causing Ireland problems, and that Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade are the best duo for the job, suggesting Owen Farrell will start at 10 and not at 12.
“If we can see Manu getting back to his best for England – combine that with Henry Slade, and what we’ve seen him do in Europe this season.
“His footwork can really cause defences problems and he can act in that second receiver role.”
O’Driscoll – who has both played with and against Tuilagi – has witnessed first hand the danger the Samoan-born centre can cause.
“Manu gives you go forward and Slade can pull strings as a second receiver. Eddie hasn’t been able to look at that combination due to Manu’s injuries,” said the Ireland great. “Either way it’s going to be exciting from a neutral point of view.”
The England squad traveled to Portugal last week and will arrive in Dublin on Thursday.
“The first thing when we get together as a squad is to get our cohesion back,” said Eddie Jones “The players have been playing for their clubs with different styles and different playing philosophies, so it’s about getting them thinking about playing the England way.
“The second thing is to get our togetherness stronger to work as hard as we can to make sure we are well connected on and off the field so Portugal is an important camp for us.”
The Guinness Six Nations 2019 kicks off this coming Friday in Paris for an exciting encounter between France and Wales that sets up a very exciting weekend of rugby with Ireland taking on old rivals England in Dublin, and Scotland taking on Italy in BT Murrayfield – a weekend that is bound to whet the appetite for the Championship that lies ahead.
Guinness launches Guinness Clear – a new responsible drinking campaign ahead of the Guinness Six Nations to encourage moderation amongst the millions of adult fans who will be watching the Championship. For more information visit http://www.guinness.com/en-gb/guinness-clear-responsible-drinking/
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