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Six Nations: Round 5 Preview

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The conclusion to a gripping Six Nations is almost upon us with England, Wales and Ireland all prepared to do battle to clinch the famous title.

We are set for an intense final round of the tournament with three different nations all in contention for the title.

The match that will have the largest influence on the outcome of the tournament is no doubt Wales vs Ireland, which kicks off at 14.45GMT.

Wales head into the home game at the Principality Stadium knowing that a win will secure them not only the title but also a Grand Slam – something they have not achieved since 2012.

Warren Gatland will take some comfort in the fact that he has led his team through similar situations in his 12 year tenure, with final day Grand Slam victories in front of a home crowd occurring both in 2012 and 2008, beating France on both occasions.

However, a win is certainly not guaranteed as they come up against formidable opposition in the form of Ireland, who are playing off a Grand Slam win last year in which they beat England in the final game.

In order for Ireland to win the Six Nations they must beat Wales and depend on the fact that England lose against Scotland.

Ireland Lock Iain Henderson has outlined the challenge that faces them this week stating that he’s “seen what Wales can do over the last number of weeks” and that they will “have to put in an 80-minute performance, not a 50 or 60-minute performance.”

For Ireland to gain any momentum in this match they will have to rely on the attacking prowess of players such as Jacob Stockdale, who has gained the most metres in the tournament, and the ever-reliable Jonny Sexton to break down the team that has conceded the least tries so far and has built their game on a strong defence.

The mission for England is simple, they must beat Scotland in order to have a chance at winning the title and then they have to rely on other results going their way.

This is a game in which England should be expected to win, with it being 36 years since they Scotland have managed to overturn their old rivals at Twickenham.

With England running out for the latest kick-off of the day they will already know the outcome of the Wales vs Ireland match, with Eddie Jones stating that England “will be interested, that is human nature”.

There is little doubt that the result of the previous games will have a certain effect on the England players prior to kick-off, however they must do their best to block this out and ensure that their big carriers such as Billy Vunipola and lethal finishers in the form of Jonny May are able to put in a big performance come game time.

Scotland have been dealt huge injury blows this week as well with key backs Tommy Seymour and Blair Kinghorn being left out of the squad after their encounter with Wales this weekend.

England will be delighted with this news as winger Blair Kinghorn has had an impressive tournament leading the way in terms of clean breaks and also boasting impressive carrying statistics.

As this Six Nations draws to a close there is no doubt this last round will be watched eagerly throughout Europe as Wales sit in the driving seat hoping for a Grand Slam.

English fans will eagerly be praying that Ireland can cause an upset at the Millennium Stadium which will create an opportunity for them to lift this coveted title, whilst Irish fans all over will be hoping for a famous win in Cardiff and then for Scotland to pull off the unthinkable at Twickenham- this is really not one to be missed.

Tags: England, ireland, Rugby, Six Nations, wales

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