England try to deny Ireland a Grand Slam

Owen Farrell
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Updated 22 February 2020

England try to deny Ireland a Grand Slam

  • This will be England’s first game at Twickenham since thrashing Ireland 57-15 in a World Cup warm-up match in August

TWICKENHAM: Owen Farrell will attempt to end the Grand Slam hopes of father Andy when England face Ireland in the Six Nations.

Sunday’s match at Twickenham will be the first time the pair have been in opposition since Andy Farrell was appointed Ireland head coach following the team’s disappointing first-round exit at the World Cup.

Promoted from within the setup after Joe Schmidt stood down, Farrell senior has yet to lose as Ireland boss following wins over Scotland and Six Nations title-holders Wales.

Those victories have left the former England dual code international’s current side just 80 minutes away from a Triple Crown.

But they will have to first get past a home team captained by son Owen, with the center a key figure in England’s run to the World Cup final in Japan both as skipper and first-choice goalkicker.

England coach Eddie Jones brought Andy Farrell into rugby union from rugby league while at Saracens, only to dispense with the then assistant coach when he succeeded Stuart Lancaster as Red Rose boss following the hosts’ group-stage departure at the 2015 World Cup. 

The Farrells have grown weary of talking about the family dynamics involved when they are on opposite sides.

Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray praised younger Farrell.  “I’ve played against Owen and toured with him with the (British and Irish) Lions. He’s an incredible player. Even with knowledge of the way he plays, he’s still able to pick the right options — that’s what makes him really hard to defend and analyze,” he said.

England haven’t been quite the same side since a stunning World Cup semifinal win over reigning champions New Zealand was followed a week later by a crushing 32-12 defeat by South Africa.

They then suffered a 24-17 loss away to France in their Six Nations opener before a hard-fought 13-6 win over Scotland at Murrayfield.

Jones has shuffled his backs, with Elliot Daly returning to full-back after George Furbank suffered a recurrence of a longstanding hip and groin problem.

Jonathan Joseph, normally a center, will mark his 50th Test cap by making his first start in the wing berth vacated by Daly.

Both Daly and Joseph can expect plenty of aerial bombardment from Ireland in a match where an England win would put them right back in title contention.

But Jones said Daly would cope and that Joseph was “a great defender,” with “good jumping skills.”

Powerhouse center Manu Tuilagi returns after overcoming the minor groin suffered in the defeat by France, while Leicester team-mate Ben Youngs is restored to the starting line for what will be the scrum-half’s 100th international appearance, his 98 England caps supplemented by two for the Lions.

In the pack, Courtney Lawes moves from lock to blindside flanker, with Jones explaining the switch by saying: “Ireland have got a lot of good carriers... One of Courtney’s strengths is his ruck defense.”

Meanwhile Joe Marler comes in at loose-head prop, with Mako Vunipola missing for family reasons.

Ireland were forced into making a late alteration on Friday to what had been an unchanged team when lock Iain Henderson pulled out, his place taken by Devin Toner.

This will be England’s first game at Twickenham since thrashing Ireland 57-15 in a World Cup warm-up match in August.

Ireland, though, completed a Grand Slam at ‘headquarters’ two years ago.

And if they can deny England their favored fast start, while the likes of Tadhg Furlong get on top on the scrum, the Irish could yet enjoy another memorable win.


‘Liverpool spirits are high’ despite virus lockdown

Jurgen Klopp
Updated 28 March 2020

‘Liverpool spirits are high’ despite virus lockdown

  • Klopp praised the efforts of Liverpool and other clubs in helping support more vulnerable members of the community during the current crisis

Jurgen Klopp says the mood at Liverpool is upbeat despite the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown, even admitting he has tried to copy Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s dance moves to keep himself occupied.
The Premier League leaders were on the verge of their first top-flight title for 30 years when English football was suspended earlier this month.
Klopp said his players’ spirits remained high despite the frustrations of having no football to play and praised the efforts of his backroom staff who are looking after the players’ fitness.
“We spoke a couple of times, we have a really intense, big, big group chat — the whole of Melwood (training ground) are in that,” he said, speaking to the club’s website by videolink from his home.
“The boys are really lively in that, the boys are just interested in what everybody is doing, comments on what everybody is doing — if Ox is on Instagram or whatever.”
Midfielder Oxlade-Chamberlain and his girlfriend, Little Mix singer Perrie Edwards, performed a dance routine, which she posted on social media.
Teammate James Milner played up to his “boring James Milner” tag by posting a video of himself cutting his grass with a ruler and scissors.
“I didn’t cut the grass but I tried the dance of Ox,” said Klopp. “Not as bad as you probably think. It’s very important in these times that we all show we take this situation seriously, but we are human beings.”

HIGHLIGHT

Jurgen Klopp praises the efforts of Liverpool and other clubs in helping support more vulnerable members of the community during the current crisis. He urges people to abide by the lockdown.

“If the boys do anything on Instagram, as long as it’s in a legal frame I’m overly happy about it — it just shows they are still cheeky and all that stuff,” he added.
Klopp praised the efforts of Liverpool and other clubs in helping support more vulnerable members of the community during the current crisis.
And he urged people to abide by the lockdown.
“The only way to get football back as soon as possible, if that’s what the people want, the more disciplined we are now the earlier we will get, piece by piece by piece, our life back,” Klopp said. “That’s how it is.”
“At one point we will play football again as well, 100 percent,” he added. “I couldn’t wish more for it because of a few really good reasons, how you can imagine. I can’t wait actually, but even I have to be disciplined and I try to be as much as I can.”