Stuart Barnes: England v Ireland will be a ferocious and brutal game of chess

Stuart Barnes: England v Ireland will be a ferocious and brutal game of chess

France and Ireland's Grand Slam aspirations are on the line.

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Comments (12)

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Bryn Mullett says...

Still seething,hope England put those paddys were they belong.

Posted 21:25 19th February 2014

Ben Southcombe says...

Healy is not as good as Corbs simply put. He is performing well and i do like him but he just is not as good as Corbs at his number 1 jobs. Corbs being injured is a huge blow especially coupled together with Cole being injured ( not that i rate him as highly as i used, seems to have gone off the boil ). Packs will be fiercely competitive, backs will be interesting as i cant see our centres matching BOD still! Goode should not be in the squad, nor Dickson. Youngs and Watson/ Eastmond should ( Kyle has the pace and footwork to play wing with ease )

Posted 09:49 19th February 2014

David Short says...

I have to agree mostly with SBs comments.He has written a good concise article,and ticked most of the issues..The England -Ireland match is in my opinion to close to call,these so many factors ,that can turn the game one way or another.As for the Wales-France match,i have misgivings that Wales can play at the required tempo,and power.Its a huge powerful french pack,and they will look to play from set piece to set piece .Where i feel they really have an edge at the moment.Also France are a leathel counter-attacking team .Any mistake and they will punish Wales severely,and Wales are making alot of mistakes these days.Scotland-Italy also looks a forgone conclusion.Italy at home in Rome,against a misfiring,and lackluster Scotland.They should win easily,by 10 or more points .But Italy do have this habit of starting a campaign well,and fading,so there is hope for Scotland ,although i do feel that this year its a slim hope at best.

Posted 18:11 18th February 2014

Flloyd White says...

The Irish back row compliment each other superbly well with O'Mahony, Heaslip and Henry - even more so than when O'Brien plays who can go off on his own. For me that is where Ireland will win it.

Posted 01:00 18th February 2014

Dave Kerwin says...

andrew alexander I think if anyone is looking through tinted glasses it's you through your anti England ones. Hartley was picked ahead of Best for the Lions, and for good reason, Youngs was picked ahead of Best for the actual tests and for good reason and Hartley is playing head and shoulders better than Tom Youngs, Harts would have been the starter for the entire Lions tour

Posted 21:12 17th February 2014

John Feek says...

I think Rory Best would have had a far better 2013 if Paul O'Connell had not been injured,and he actually had somebody to throw to. Hartley is the class England hooker at the moment, Youngs is still struggling to find his jumpers and is a liability if he is on the pitch for more than the last ten minutes. Frankly I think all coaches ditch their starting front five too early, I know how hard it is for the forwards but modern day conditioning should enable them to play well in to the last quarter. Looking forward to a great game at Twickenham on Saturday,hoping to meet the Flameheads in Rome on the 15th March. Swing loww!!!!!!

Posted 21:02 17th February 2014

Thomas Pollock says...

i have watched cian healy loose head and im saying win or not , he is the best loose head in the world . but the english media wont let you know this as everything english is the best . not the case remember ireland beating england 204 05 06 07 etc ?the irish will be fired up for this so much to gain for them withe the world cup near and places up for grab , the irish will play their heart out passion pride . we must win our mauls and sexton must be allowed to play not held back . been at home is a big advantage and england are looking forward to their hq . and they can win with the backs and luck. watch out for ref . thomas age 16

Posted 18:48 17th February 2014

Thomas Pollock says...

ireland are in for a big battle but can be cute in the kicking the english half and keep them there . healy is a needed man on sat as is sexton close game england/just

Posted 18:37 17th February 2014

R T says...

Strange similarities between the full backs..... Both Brown and Kearney are average in my opinion. Slattery got it right when he called Kearney a blagger. Brown has everything it takes to be world class.....except pace. Oh dear! He WILL be found out against world class back threes. They are both pretty 'feisty' characters too. This is just code for chippy. But at least Kearney doesn't resort to the sort of behaviour that Brown indulged in when touching down against the worst Scottish team in living memory. That is the sort of thing that in the past would have seen him stretchered off with concussion the next time he got stuck in a ruck. I am a proud Englishman and am quite happy for us to be a target for the celtic nations.... But I don't like the arrogant label and think that it is for the most part misplaced but that sort of showboating behaviour will only reinforce the stereotype. Brown has no class as a player or a professional. We got rid of Ashton, now lets get rid of Brown. Get Foden back in ASAP please. Rugby is a professional sport now yes, but it needn't lose its soul.

Posted 17:02 17th February 2014

Paul Newman says...

Hi Stuart, 'Lion's malaise' I like that phrase - Tuilagi, Parling, Cole, Croft all with long term injuries after a draining domestic season and then the Lions and the Youngs brothers are either jaded (Ben) or under considerable pressure (Tom). English players need proper rest but who will give it to them? Clubs? Cole has been seriously over played by club and country. Country Gatland did more for England than Wales in his selections! Lions? the strongest nation is Ireland because they focus on two things - country and Europe and proper rest periods as do the All Blacks. What do you think? Paul

Posted 16:53 17th February 2014

Andrew Alexander says...

Bit harsh on Rory Best their Stuart about his 'Lions malaise' He has been one of the most consistent hookers in the Northern Hemisphere for the past 3-4 seasons. And Hartley I wouldn't consider as boardering world class as he is always going to be a liability to which ever team he plays with. But as usual you have your English tinted glasses on.....

Posted 12:38 17th February 2014

Michael Nash says...

Good article Stuart, but to say Cian Healy is playing almost as well as any loose head in Europe is crazy. He is so far ahead of all loose heads in Europe at the moment. I would go as far as saying he has more to his game that any other loose head in the world.

Posted 11:15 17th February 2014

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