A couple of Munster legends have delivered the most confident Ireland v England predictions yet
If you are anything like us, your midweek confidence about the Irish rugby team usually fritters into sheer nerves as matchday approaches. Worry not as some knowledgeable former players are calling Sunday's game for Joe Schmidt's men.
With a potential championship decider [we won't talk G**** S***s yet] coming up at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday afternoon, we trawled through newspapers, websites and radio shows to discover who the former players - both Irish and English - are backing to capture the glory.
Encouragingly, although with a slight Irish skew, most believe Joe Schmidt's men will prevail. Here is what this XV of former players has to say:
The former Leicester and Ireland fullback says he is 'more hopeful than confident' but believes the men in green will edge it.
SportsJOE's resident rugby columnist, and all-round legend, is not sitting on the fence. He is calling it, 19-13 to Ireland.
Made his prediction of an English win early last week and is not changing his mind.
The man that often fought England on his own [or at least that's what it felt like] feels 'there is nothing in it' but he is siding with Ireland.
Speaking on Off the Ball, the World Cup winning back-row admitted, 'My heart says England but my head says Ireland.'
Leinster's former captain says Ireland will win by three to five points but stresses the need not to concede foolish penalties.
A 2001 Lions tourist with Wood and O'Driscoll, Greenwood predicts a 25-22 England win. Ireland's main strength, he says, is their total belief. Greenwood adds, 'Nine wins on the trot gives you that inner belief that whatever England throws at them, they can overcome. It is what comes with consistency of results. Other than that there’s not much to split the two sides'
— Alan Quinlan (@AlanQuinlan1) February 26, 2015
The legendary No.13 gave Ireland his backing on Newstalk's Off the Ball midweek but feels Ireland's success rests on really testing the English back three.
Another former England international calling this one for the Red Rose. He predicts Ireland will target George Ford but backs the massive defensive qualities of Stuart Lancaster's men to see them through by four points.
Injured and out for the rest of the season, the Ireland winger believes his teammates will win an "arm-wrestle" but cautions that Jonathan Joseph [the England centre] is 'tearing people apart'.
ROG for Ireland. He told RTE Sport, 'They’re just so efficient in everything they do that you watch the team and you don’t know how a team is going to beat Ireland at the minute.'
The Sky Sports and now TV3 pundit, and former England back, says he would go for Ireland if he were forced to pick a winner.
An Englishman who served Ireland with distinction, in midfield. 'Crash ball' Maggs says it will be close but predicts Ireland to win by five.
We can always rely on Healey to back the sweet, sweet chariot. In his latest Telegraph column, he writes, ' I do still believe this England team will go on to win. Get the fingernails ready.'
Overall predictions: Ireland 11, England 4
*Will Greenwood and David Wallace will be at the Aviva Fan Studio ahead of the Ireland v England game, on Sunday. The pre-game chat, and preview, will be live on RTE Radio One from 2pm and streamed live on the RTE website.