With Ireland currently at the top of the Six Nations pile, will 2019 see their old rivals England making a killer comeback at the Aviva Stadium?
England and Ireland’s rugby union teams first faced off at the Oval in London in 1875, and they’ve been knocking spots off each other ever since. Here are some historical highlights of this northern hemisphere rivalry.
1. Celtic tigers have the edge – but it wasn’t always that way
Despite Ireland’s recent glories, a look back down memory lane shows England triumphing over the greens more often than not. During the Home Nations era, which ran until 1939, England won 27 of their 41 matches against Ireland. It’s the same story with Five Nations – up until 1999, there were 70 matches between the pair, with England winning 38 games, and 7 matches ending in a draw. But the turn of the millennium saw the trend reversing. Since 2000, when Six Nations Rugby began, Ireland has won 11 of its 19 matches against England. Will its dominance continue this February?
2. 2018 was a stellar year, but not Ireland’s first
The Irish side saw off all contenders in 2018, taking out France, Scotland, Wales, Italy – and of course England, in a memorable St Patrick’s Day victory at Twickenham that brought them home with a Grand Slam. Their last was in 2009, and before that, in 1948. England has a few more Grand Slams under its belt, having racked up 13 over the years. But with Ireland on home turf, holding the Millennium Trophy and still glowing from its 2018 success, England will need to pull out all the stops to succeed in 2019.
3. Grand Slam near misses
In 2003, England stormed the Landsdowne Road defences and snatched the Irish side’s Grand Slam hopes in an edge-of-the-seat Championship final. With both sides undefeated in any of their matches until that moment, the atmosphere was electric.
Roles were reversed in 2017, when England faced Ireland in a Grand Slam decider. The English team had hopes of becoming the first team in the 21st century to achieve the accolade two years running. On top of that, they were on course for a record 18 back-to-back test match victories. But facing Ireland in the Aviva Stadium, hopes were dashed when the Irish side battered them into submission.
4. The Aviva Stadium – Ireland’s good luck charm?
Dublin’s Aviva Stadium (previously Lansdowne Road) has been kind to its incumbent rugby union side. Out of 20 Six Nations matches Ireland played at home since the stadium opened in 2010, 15 were victories. They also saw two draws, meaning just three matches were lost. Talking to CNN, Ireland’s star coach Joe Schmidt, who will retire from the sport after 2019’s Rugby World Cup, acknowledged the ‘tremendous support we have had, especially at home in the Aviva Stadium’.
5. Sharing the limelight since 2013
Between them, England and Ireland have reigned over the Six Nations over the last five years, with Ireland claiming three Championship trophies and England the other two. The media focus and high stakes have lent heat to the rivalry, especially following England’s 2018 Twickenham defeat. And in 2019? It’s all to play for…
Ireland v England in Dublin with Corinthian Sports
Fancy staying in the same five star hotel as the Irish rugby team? Our corporate hospitality packages see you and your guests spending two nights at the Shelbourne Hotel with bed and breakfast accommodation, setting you up for an electrifying match at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium.
You’ll attend a three-course gourmet dinner and drinks reception on the Friday night, hosted by former England and Ireland Internationals.
There’s a chance to hear speakers from the world of professional rugby, including Mark ‘Ronnie’ Regan (Retired British Lions, England and Barbarians hooker), Paul Wallace ( Former Ireland/Lions Rugby player) and the brilliant Gavin Mairs hosting (Daily Telegraph Rugby News Correspondent) – adding an unforgettable VIP edge to your Six Nations experience.
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