Saturday 9 March 2019

Myles McDevitt – UCFB Multimedia Sports Journalism Student

It was all expected to be a smooth ride wasn’t it after Ireland and France? Wrong. A calamitous defeat to the hands of Wales in Cardiff brought England and Eddie Jones back down to earth but they now have a chance to bounce back again with two home games to round off their Six Nations campaign against Italy and Scotland.

Italy will come into this match today with a high amount of confidence after giving the Irish a run for their money in Rome. By half time, the Italians were leading but dominant Irish pressure secured another defeat in the Six Nations for Connor O’Shea’s men who are for this match boosted by the return of their legendary skipper Sergio Parisse.

England know if they are to have any chance of winning the Six Nations in these two crucial matches, they’ll need to win and do it with a bonus point. In addition to this, they will also rest on the chances of Wales who travel up to Scotland this weekend and have a home game against Ireland a week later.

Ireland like England are also with a shout but they need to win these last two games with a bonus point as well.

England though have a strong and talented side for the game against Italy and certainly Eddie Jones has mixed it up throughout with Brad Shields replacing Mark Wilson in the back row. In the backs, Joe Cokanasiga returns on the right wing with Ben Te’o replacing Henry Slade in the centre.

It is a side that will need to come out of the traps early like they did against Ireland and France. In the last match, England went backwards during the second half which we haven’t seen under Eddie Jones that much. An impressive performance with a bonus point sets up an interesting last weekend in the cities of Cardiff and London.