ENGLAND insist they are ready for the aerial onslaught awaiting them in Dublin as Eddie Jones’ men finalise plans to contain Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray.
Ireland’s half-back generals are two of the game’s most dangerous kickers and dealing with the expected bombardment will be key to English hopes of causing an upset in Saturday’s Six Nations showdown at the Aviva Stadium.
‘The high-ball contest is going to be a major aspect of the game,’ said forwards coach Steve Borthwick.
‘Ireland are an extremely well- drilled and well-coached team. They’re very clear about how they want to play.’
Who will play full-back is one of the key selection issues that will be settled today when Jones names his XV.
Elliot Daly has operated at 15 for the last seven Tests but has never convinced under the high ball, while Mike Brown (pictured) is back in contention after being dropped last autumn.
‘You’ve seen Mike’s response to being left out in how he’s been playing for Harlequins,’ Borthwick said. ‘The stats have gone up for aerial competition over the last period of time. It’s an area all of our back three players are working hard to upskill.’
Henshaw set for surprise role
ROBBIE HENSHAW could make a surprise switch to full-back for Ireland’s game against England. Possible ring-rustiness for fit-again full-back Rob Kearney could tempt head coach Joe Schmidt into deploying Leinster centre Henshaw at No.15. Schmidt is understood to be seriously weighing up handing Henshaw just a second Test cap at full-back, with the 25-year-old having started his career in the role.