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The Ireland team Andy Farrell should pick for England

Ireland

Ireland notched their second consecutive win in the 2021 Six Nations against Scotland in Edinburgh, but the performance was far from perfect.

Plenty of players put in arguably their best performance of the championship so far at Murrayfield, but others haven’t done enough to retain their place for the game against England.

Below is the team we think should take on England.

Front row

Dave Kilcoyne, Ronan Kelleher and Tadhg Furlong

Ireland are currently blessed with great options in the front row, and any combination of the six players used in this Six Nations would likely do well against England.

However, Cian Healy and Rob Herring were not at their best against Scotland and just don’t offer as much in the loose as Kilcoyne and Kelleher.

Porter was outstanding for Ireland in Furlong’s absence, but the possibility of seeing another side step from the Wexford man is just impossible to resist.

Second row

Tadhg Beirne and Iain Henderson

James Ryan is unlikely to be available for this Saturday after suffering a head knock late on against Scotland, which is unfortunate because the Leinster lock was exceptional in the lineout at Murrayfield.

Thankfully, the lock pairing of Beirne and Henderson will be more than up for the challenge at the Aviva Stadium, following a great performance from each man against Scotland.

Beirne has played as a flanker in his last two player of the match-winning performances, but a switch back to second row shouldn’t affect his game too much.

Back row

CJ Stander, Will Connors and Jack Conan

All three back row players were impressive against Scotland, but the need to shift Beirne to the second row has created an opportunity for Conan to come in at number eight.

The Wicklow man has been in fine form for Leinster in recent times and looked good in his two short stints off the bench, earning a recall to the starting team.

Ireland

Peter O’Mahony is available having served his suspension, but despite his experience, he will be lacking in game time compared to the other back rowers available.

Half backs

Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton

While Jamison Gibson-Park has played well enough for Ireland in Murray’s absence, Ireland’s insistence on frequent box kicks just doesn’t suit the Leinster scrum-half’s style of play.

Farrell is clearly a fan of the former Hurricanes player, having kept him on for the full match against Scotland, but Murray’s superior accuracy trumps Gibson-Park’s speed in relation to Ireland’s game plan.

Ireland

Sexton played his best game of the championship against Scotland and is an obvious choice to continue at fly-half.

Centres

Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose

The most consistent positions in Ireland’s starting team, Farrell should stick with Henshaw and Ringrose for the pair’s fifth consecutive start in the Six Nations.

Ringrose had a poor game against Scotland, but overall he has played well in this year’s championship and rarely, if ever, has two bad games in a row.

Ireland

Henshaw was one of Ireland’s best against the Scots and must currently be one of the first names down on the teamsheet.

Back three

Jordan Larmour, Keith Earls and Hugo Keenan

James Lowe has started in all four of Ireland’s 2021 Six Nations matches, but is just not up to international standard in defence and needs to be dropped.

Larmour has been given few opportunities in this year’s championship but offers plenty in attack and is a relatively reliable defender on the wing.

Ireland

Keenan is almost unchallenged for the role of Ireland’s starting fullback at present, thanks to an extremely safe pair of hands and his cool head.

Replacements

Rob Herring, Cian Healy, Andrew Porter, Ryan Baird, Josh van der Flier, Jamison Gibson-Park, Billy Burns and Jacob Stockdale

The replacement front row picks itself based on the starting three, while Baird has shown plenty of promise in his two cameos in test rugby.

Van der Flier wasn’t at his best in the first two rounds of the Six Nations, but is a reliable option off the bench at openside flanker.

Stockdale has looked good in his two games for Ulster after coming back from injury, and could provide a real spark off the bench late on in the match.

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