England's injured Itoje ruled out for France and Wales matches

Ross Houston
February 8, 2019

Much of the talk going into this year's Six Nations was how Ireland were the team to beat as they once again chased Grand Slam glory, but victory for England in Dublin last Saturday now means the betting has been flipped around with the winners of England v Wales likely to claim the spoils after their clash on February 23. We are a team that's still going.

First and foremost, England won the physical battle, as Ireland coach Joe Schmidt admitted: "We were physically bettered".

However, if you think the Scots have what it takes to win the Six Nations outright for the first time in 20 years they can be backed at [16.5] on the Exchange. England may have missed 28 tackles to Ireland's 13, but the ones they did make they conclusively won: they registered 48 dominant tackles - those which stop the opponent getting over the gain-line - to Ireland's eight.

He has become an established, influential figure at the heart of the England pack, but Jones can call upon men with significant Test pedigree to fill the void - either Courtney Lawes or Joe Launchbury.

"These games have got nothing to do with the World Cup", Jones said.

"It's something that happened to us two years ago against the All Blacks - we got bullied here".

Of course you need artistry to go alongside the brutality and with Ben Youngs and Owen Farrell conducting traffic and Jonny May and Henry Slade clinical around the try-line, England had it in abundance. "We went out with a certain plan that we thought would work and we stuck at it, and that's what really pleased me". "When you have the likes of Manu in midfield you just want to get the ball into his hands and skip out the middle man", explained George.

It was serious enough for referee Jerome Garces to state "I think he's broken his leg", but Jones revealed the extent of the injury will only be indicated by a scan. We were just a little bit off.

"I don't think that (Ireland being the best team in the world at the moment) changes in one game. It's a challenge to all our confidence".

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