England vs Ireland

Rugby Union: England 23/50 for historic win

2017-03-18
A preview of England’s Six Nations match against Ireland in Dublin.

England are 23/50 to make history when the 2017 Six Nations draws to a close with their match against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

Eddie Jones has urged his team to obtain “greatness” by completing back-to-back Grand Slams, in the process becoming the first team to register 19 successive Test victories. Both would be magnificent achievements for a team that 17 months ago was picking through the ruins of the worst ever World Cup performance by a host nation.

Ireland's team announcement saw their odds of upsetting the champions lengthen to 7/4, with injury robbing them of half-back general Conor Murray and their imperious full-back Rob Kearney.

In contrast, England are able to start Billy Vunipola at number eight and Anthony Watson on the right, restoring them close to full strength.

They should not be complacent though. Six years ago England travelled to Dublin intent on claiming the Grand Slam under Martin Johnson, only to be crushed 24-8.

With the champions retaining four survivors from the starting XV that fell to Brian O'Driscoll's men that day, it has been used as a reference point during the build-up to prevent a repeat scenario.

Ireland can be backed at 5/6 with a five-point start on the handicap and will be determined to end a disappointing campaign on a high.

This is a team that ended New Zealand's 18-Test record-setting winning run in Chicago last autumn, but which is now on danger of ending the Six Nations with three defeats. Joe Schmidt has faced accusations that his team have become predictable and there is much for Ireland to prove.

All that matters for England is securing victory and they are 6/4 to win by 12 points or less, with either team to win by seven or less available at 57/50.