“There would have to be a massive implosion” – Gordon D'Arcy on Ireland's Grand Slam hopes
Grand Slam at stake.
Ireland are on course to make history on Saturday, with a Grand Slam on the line against England at the Aviva Stadium.
Andy Farrell's side have looked hugely impressive in the championship so far and could become the first Ireland team to win a Six Nations Grand Slam in Dublin this weekend, and it's hard to see past them doing so.
Gordon D'Arcy was part of the 2009 Grand Slam-winning side, the first side to do so in the professional era, ending a 70-year wait for the men in green, and he thinks something will have to go majorly wrong for Ireland to not add a fourth to the history books.
England come into the game on the back of a 50+ point hammering at the hands of France, with the bookies making them overwhelming underdogs, and D'Arcy can see why.
“On balance, it's hard to see how Ireland would take the foot off the gas now,” D'Arcy told us
“It would have to be a massive, massive implosion, mentally, by Ireland to allow England in.
“That happens. It doesn't happen all the time, but it does happen.
In terms of England, D'Arcy can't see where a win can come from for Steve Borthwick's side.
“It's hard to see where an English performance can come from,” D'Arcy continued.
“You're looking at defence, you're looking at attack. And the whole [England] attack since Borthwick has taken over, it looks a bit schizophrenic.
“One thing you got with Eddie Jones was consistency, and I wonder will they be wondering about what Borthwick promised, versus what he's able to deliver.
“You'd expect them to go back even further back to basics than they have previously. Selection-wise, you expect Owen Farrell will come in, Manu Tuilgi will come in.
“Ireland have to under-perform [for England to have a chance].
“If England get off to a good start and score three of four penalties, that puts pressure on Ireland. But what we do know is that Ireland deal with pressure, really, really well.”
In terms of the manner of England's defeat to France, D'Arcy feels Ireland can really use that to their advantage on Saturday.
“There is going to be doubt inside those English players' heads.” D'Arcy added.
“The challenge for Ireland is expose that doubt.
“And it's not Owen Farrell you have to target, it's all those new guys in that Test arena who don't have 50 caps worth of experience.
“Ireland need to flip that pressure in their head to points on the scoreboard.”