ENGLAND V IRELAND PREVIEW Vunipola’s warning to Ireland: ‘We want to dominate’
ENGLAND No 8 Billy Vunipola has warned Ireland that his team are ready to dominate once again at Twickenham on Saturday.
Andy Farrell has picked an inexperienced side for Saturday’s Autumn Nations Cup fixture, but despite the loss of Johnny Sexton to injury the Ireland coach is hoping his side can back up their impressive win over Wales.
England, however, have had their number since last year’s Six Nations opener.
And, while Vunipola knows Farrell will have his team fired up, he says the Chariot is ready to roll.
“Everyone here has seen his motivational speeches with the Lions, and how pumped up he’ll get the boys, especially the Irish lads,” Vunipola said.
“He’ll be drip-feeding information to them the whole week, we know they’re going to come out firing.
“We’ve got to step up. We want Ireland to know that we’re not taking this as just another game, it’s a massive, massive challenge and a test for us especially up front.
“He’ll be at the forefront of that, and they’ve picked a big pack.
“They’ve gone big up front. We’ve made no bones about the fact we want to play the English way and that’s through our set-piece and getting front-foot ball, putting us in the right areas of the field.
“Obviously they’re trying to negate that. It’s important for us to make sure our intentions are in the right place.
“We want to dominate. Whether it’s Georgia, Ireland or Italy, our intentions are to dominate. It’s important for us as forwards especially to kick-start that battle and win it, because it goes a long way to winning the game.”
Former Ireland back-row Seán O’Brien says Ireland must match England in the contact battle if they are to succeed today.
“You've got to just physically front-up, first and foremost. The last two outings we've probably lost the physical battle and they've caught us with one or two plays we hadn't seen before. The kick down the middle last time, things like that,” O’Brien said in an exclusive interview with today’s Irish Independent.
“The problem is their momentum. They're a momentum side. You have to stop that, you have to stop it for long periods of time because they keep the ball well.
“You have to win the aerial battle too. Physically, we have to be there for 80 minutes like any Test match, but especially against bigger sides. I think the lads will be well up for it. They played well last week, showed glimpses of some good stuff. It'll be interesting.”