(Reuters) – Defending champions Ireland will look to play a patient possession game and “bore” England in their opening Six Nations match in Dublin on Saturday, according to the visitors’ defence coach John Mitchell.
Ireland, who achieved the Six Nations grand slam last year and beat world champions New Zealand in November, are firming as favourites for the Rugby World Cup in Japan later this year with a game built around a superb tactical kicking game and ability to control the ball.
“They are resilient, they will try and bore us basically,” Mitchell told the BBC. “Ultimately, it will come down to a small piece of possession when you’re not focused that can hurt you in a contest like this.
“In many ways it will be (about) who wants to be more patient than the other.
“They are a huge momentum team who love to keep possession and that’s where that patience comes from. That will be the challenge.”
Mitchell added that loose forward Jack Clifford had returned home after suffering a head injury at a training camp in Portugal and would not be replaced in the squad.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)