England take on Ireland on Saturday in an Autumn Nations Cup clash full of intrigue. It may not hold the high stakes of a big Six Nations clash, but meetings between these two nations are rarely short of drama.


Ireland will travel a little lighter than usual this time, with Johnny Sexton, Robbie Henshaw, Garry Ringrose and Tadhg Furlong just some of the big-hitters set to miss out, while England head coach Eddie Jones has warned his players of the step up required after recent wins against Italy and Georgia.

It’s a rivalry which has ebbed and flowed in recent years, Ireland becoming the dominant force before England wrestled back control with a series of physically dominant wins.

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James Ryan to captain Ireland:

Here, we look back at some of the most memorable quotes from the last ten years.

“We were very good – we played a smart game, an intense game and they couldn’t live with us.”
Captain Brian O’Driscoll basks in the glory after Tommy Bowe inspires Ireland to a 24-8 win in Dublin which sees England denied a Grand Slam. (2011)

“We didn’t deserve to win; we weren’t in it; we didn’t land a blow and there are no excuses.”
England manager Martin Johnson accepts his team were second best. (2011)

“Ireland have a good record here but that means nothing to this England group.”
England assistant coach Andy Farrell when asked about Ireland’s record of seven wins in their last eight Six Nations fixtures against the Red Roses. (2012)


“That was extremely painful. You never like losing and you never like losing 30-9, especially on St Patrick’s Day against England.”
Declan Kidney after watching Ireland lose 30-9 at Twickenham. (2012)

“A lot of lads in that changing room are bruised and battered… We’re suffering a little bit in there… it’s a hard pill to swallow.”
Jamie Heaslip paints a picture of the Ireland dressing room after England win a Six Nations game in Dublin for the first time in 10 years. (2013)

“My life flashed before my eyes. If we’d lost, I thought I’d have had to run out of the stadium.”
James Haskell after being sent to the sin-bin in the 56th minute, with the scores level at 6-6, during England’s 12-6 victory at the Aviva. (2013)

“I haven’t got a context for it really as I’ve only coached at club level… There’s been some that stand out in my mind but none of them would be tougher than this.”
Joe Schmidt says trying to win in Twickenham will be the biggest test of his career as he prepares for his first visit as Ireland head coach. (2014)


“This is the most significant win of my time in charge, a great game between two really good sides. The boys showed great maturity in closing out the game against an Ireland side bristling with experience.”
Stuart Lancaster soaks up the good vibes after his team record a 13-10 win. (2014)

“Ireland got it right playing the referee and the conditions. It’s about playing right on the edge and seeing what you can get away with. I think Ireland got away with a lot.”
James Haskell is less than impressed after Ireland record a 19-9 win in Dublin. (2015)

“Joe is an intelligent guy – he’s an excellent coach, plus we have a very good provincial set-up, a lot of strength in depth and genuine competition for places. We have a lot of respect for this England team, so to beat them we are really delighted.”
Ireland captain Paul O’Connell praises his head coach after the win hands Ireland a record 10th consecutive victory. (2015)

“I am working away in a really player-driven environment. I think the players expressed themselves on the pitch today, not always in a spectacular fashion but certainly in a gritty, determined fashion.”
Schmidt directs any praise right back at his players. (2015)

“Sexton is an interesting one, they’ve talked about him having a whiplash injury which is not a great thing to talk about. I’m sure his mother and father would be worried about that. Hopefully, the lad’s all right to play on Saturday.”
Eddie Jones on Johnny Sexton’s history of concussion injuries. He later apologies for his comments. (2016)

“Those extraneous things, we’re probably less affected by that than you people [the media]. If we’re distracted by that, it is something we are wasting our time on.”
Schmidt refuses to take the bait. (2016)

“He played exceedingly well and found a way to test our defenders constantly.”
Ireland lose 24-10 but Jones praises Sexton after the Ireland out-half puts in a superb performance. (2016)

“Ireland, psychologically, are in a very strong position. They’re beaten, they’re out of the tournament and they love spoiling parties. And the party they’d love to spoil the most is the England party. They’ve got an enormous amount of psychological advantage.”
Classic Jones mind-games as the England boss says Ireland take special pleasure in beating England as his team chase a Grand Slam. (2017)

“The bit of pride we can take is the three teams that sit above us in the world we have beaten in the last six months.”
Joe Schmidt takes special pride in a 13-9 win which spoils England’s Grand Slam party. (2017)

“It (the performance) came from a special group of guys. We were disappointed with the way some of the results have gone but we knew deep down there is a lot of heart there, fellas showing up for each other, showing up for what is special to them, not just on the pitch but off it.”
Peter O’Mahony praises the character of his teammates. (2017)


“Everything was wrong with the preparation because we played like that. I take full responsibility, I didn’t prepare the team well and we will respond in the future.”
Jones takes the blame for England’s limp performance. (2017)

“We’ve played 23 Tests and we’ve only lost one Test to the scummy Irish, I’m still dirty about that game, but we’ll get that back, don’t worry, we’ve got them next year at home so don’t worry, we’ll get that back.”
Comments made by Jones at a 2017 conference surface online just in time for the following years’ Six Nations. (2018)

“We showed a little bit of class where we opened them up and at the other end of the pitch it was pure courage.”
Schmidt admits he likes what he saw after a 24-15 win secures the Grand Slam at Twickenham. (2018)

“They are a good tough team, very worthy Grand Slam champions and they’ve performed extremely well today.”
Jones is gracious in defeat. (2018)

“If he was Sexton then we’d be able to complain about him. But because he’s Owen Farrell he’s allowed to be hit late. He’s tough so he gets up and he plays. He’s a tough rooster, a warrior. He takes the ball to the line, he puts his body on the line, he doesn’t play in a dinner suit.”
Later that year Jones is less gracious and makes it clear that he feels Owen Farrell and Johnny Sexton receive different treatment from referees. (2018)

“Look, I don’t know how I was mentioned at a New Zealand-England press conference, that still baffles me. I didn’t think we were playing England until February.”
Sexton wonders why Jones seems so interested in him. (2018)

“Sexton has the bat phone to the referee. When he talks, the referee listens.”
Jones talks Sexton and referees, again. (2019)

“Eddie went past me just before and he said, ‘Right, let’s get ready for a few grenades.’ He’s always incredibly hard to read, Eddie.'”
Joe Schmidt admits Jones warned him to expect some verbals at the Six Nations launch in London. (2019)

“It is my most disappointing defeat at the Aviva. We were physically bettered. I don’t think I’ve seen a game we played here where our opponents got so many dominant tackles and carried physically in the manner that they did.”
A deflated Schmidt admits his team were bullied by England in a bruising 32-20 loss in Dublin. (2019)

“There were so many aspects that we didn’t get right today that we looked dishevelled out there, to be honest.”
More woe for Schmidt as England hand down a 57-15 hiding in a World Cup warm-up game at Twickenham. (2019)

“Every time we’ve played Ireland since my dad’s been there (as a coach) I’ve been asked questions about that. I can’t see this being too different. We’re just trying to do our job.”
Owen Farrell prepares to come up against his dad, Ireland head coach Andy, in the Six Nations. (2020).

“I know, it’s weird, isn’t it?”
Andy is asked the same question. (2020)


“I need to look at myself regarding the performance in the first half because obviously we weren’t in the right area. We didn’t play how we wanted to play until the game was over.”
Andy Farrell reflects on a chastening 24-12 loss at Twickenham. (2020)

“We played with a lot of control. We read conditions well, read the referee well and at half-time if it was a cricket game we could have declared.”
Jones says his team had it easy after building up a 17-0 lead by half-time. (2020)

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