As a resurgent Ireland aim to keep their Six Nations championship bid on track they come up against an England team that will be “feeling pretty good”, according to former English World Cup winner Will Greenwood.
With a bonus point victory over Wales, last time out buoying confidence in the Ireland camp, a trip to Twickenham might soon reverse all the goodwill that has been accumulated under Andy Farrell to this point.
After all, it wasn’t that long ago that England humbled Ireland twice and set records for the highest score and greatest winning margin over Ireland.
Granted, the latter result was in a World Cup warm-up game however it further derailed Joe Schmidt’s team.
Speaking on Wednesday Night Rugby, the former England international Will Greenwood explained why the Eddie Jones’ team will fancy their chances despite a turbulent few months.
“On the back of the World Cup and the performance, in camp, they feel a little backed into a corner and that they’ve been turned on a little bit after they lost the World Cup final and in Paris and everyone is on their case.
“I don’t think everyone was on their case, I think they were pretty poor in the first 40 minutes in France and I think some of the criticism was justified,” said Greenwood.
“But now England get to play two home games at Twickenham. I think Ireland are a strong team rather than a great team just yet and got some real edge to them.
“I’ve never been afraid to back against England but I think they have a couple of performances in them and I think they can turn Ireland and Wales over,” he said.
England underestimated the importance of control at the base of the scrum against France and it came back to cost them dearly, according to Greenwood.
However, after a small tweak against Scotland, he thinks the problem has been solved.
“The main problem came, in Paris, when Underhill was stacking down on the key scrums on the left-hand side with Curry at 8.
“Underhill wanted to go wide behind Marlerand drive through him there and Curry was technically binding correct - head between both second-rows - so the gap between Curry and Underhill was too wide and the ball kept bobbling out.
“Whereas, the right hip and right knee of the left side flanker is utterly important in scrums. You’ve got two lads who are just a little bit unsure of what’s going on and Dupont had a field day,” Greenwood explained.
The former Harlequins and Leicester centre outlined his thinking when asked by his former Harlequins teammate Andy Dunne if he would continue with George Ford and Owen Farrell at 10 and 12.
“The best performance that England have ever had, in the semi-final vs NZ, was Ford and Farrell playing 10 and 12.
“Whatever Farrell’s form has been like recently, he’s just the bloke you don’t drop. I think he’s an incredible competitor and goal kicker under pressure, with maybe the odd error against France, but I want him on my team,” Greenwood said.