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Dublin: 8 °C Friday 6 December, 2019

Ireland will try to 'bore the sh*t out of us' - England defence coach Mitchell

The former All Blacks coach did give credit to Joe Schmidt’s coaching team.

ENGLAND DEFENCE COACH John Mitchell has said Grand Slam champions Ireland will try to “bore the shit out of us” when the sides clash in Dublin in their Six Nations opener on Saturday.

England's assistant coach John Mitchell Mitchell joined the England set-up last year. Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

Ireland are renowned for their retention of the ball, with last season’s successful championship seeing Joe Schmidt’s side enjoy an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds of possession per game, the highest in the Six Nations.

England had the next highest average time in possession, with 21 minutes and 56 seconds.

England head coach Eddie Jones last week promised Schmidt that he would be delivering some “verbal grenades” in the build-up to this weekend’s tie at the Aviva Stadium, although assistant coach Mitchell has fired this one.

Former All Blacks boss Mitchell joined England last year after the departure of defence specialist Paul Gustard from the national team set-up.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live at England’s training camp in Portugal, Mitchell said:

“Our aim is to win the Six Nations but it’s Ireland now and Ireland are arguably the best in the world.

“Ireland, for me, are a side that, through their process of being a well-coached side, are resilient and will try and bore the shit out of us, basically, and 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.”

Mitchell did go on to say Ireland “deserved all the honours that came their way in 2018″ but insisted the English players must not “over-think” the challenge ahead of them.

England expect out-half Owen Farrell to be fit to face Ireland as he integrates back into full training following thumb surgery two weekends ago, while flanker Brad Shields is “progressing really nicely” in Portugal too.

Back row Jack Clifford has been ruled out of the game after sustaining a head injury in England’s training camp. 


Join us to preview the Six Nations with Simon Zebo, Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey on Thursday @7pm in Liberty Hall Theatre Dublin.

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Murray Kinsella

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