England assistant says Ireland will 'try to bore the shit out of us'
England assistant coach John Mitchell has said that 'Ireland will try bore the shit out of England' during their Six Nations opener at the Lansdowne Road on Saturday.
Ireland will open their Six Nations campaign against England in Dublin this weekend with Joe Schmidt's charges aiming for their third consecutive Six Nations championship.
Ireland have won three of the last five tournaments and lost just one game last year (Australia) with a clean sweep of the Six Nations and the November internationals, including a first ever home win over two-time defending world champions and world number one New Zealand.
However, their pragmatic style under Schmidt has received some criticism from some quarters and Mitchell predicts that this weekend's match may come down to small samples of possession.
“Ireland are arguably the best in the world and, for me, are a side who - through their process being a well-coached side - are resilient and they will try to bore the shit out of us basically,” Mitchell told BBC Sport.
“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.”
The former Ireland forwards coach added that England need to take the game to Ireland and said that they deserve the honours they have received over the last few years.
“It’s our aim to win the Six Nations but first up is Ireland and arguably they are the best team in the world,” he added. “If you’re going to play the best team in the world, you might as well get into them straight away.
“They’ve deserved all the honours that came their way in 2018. Having them first up makes the challenge even more exciting. It’s a challenge that you don’t over-think, instead you walk towards it and embrace it.
“It’s always been tough playing there, but it’s even harder now because they’re a well coached side. They’re very consistent and have a process they’re very confident in.”
Meanwhile England head coach Eddie Jones also hailed Ireland as the 'best team in the world' and added that the Six Nations is incredibly strong as a competition this year.
"It's so exciting, it's a great competition," said Jones.
"Warren Gatland said it's probably the strongest we've seen the Six Nations. You've got ranked two, three, four in the world and Scotland are five are they [seventh]? And France are eighth or ninth [ninth].
"They might be ranked 2, but on form @IrishRugby are probably the best team in the world."
Eddie Jones speaking about the strength of @SixNationsRugby this year ahead of Ireland v England at the Aviva this Saturday!#VMTVRugby #GuinnessSixNations pic.twitter.com/3kjV7wtowG
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) January 28, 2019
"That's a pretty strong competition. Then you know Italy can cause an upset on any day. Play Ireland and they're the best... they're ranked two... but they're probably on form the best team in the world.
"It's a great opportunity for Ireland to take a foot forward and it's a great opportunity for us."