Six Nations: England not worried by recent Ireland defeats

By Tom FordyceChief sports writer, BBC Sport

England's survivors from their last two dispiriting defeats in Dublin say that recent poor history will have no effect when they meet Ireland again on Sunday.

England were hammered 24-8 two years ago to dash their Grand Slam hopes and lost 14-13 in 2009 as Ireland marched towards their own Slam.

Scrum-half Danny Care was sin-binned in that latter defeat but insists revenge is not on his young team's mind.

"Those games no longer feel relevant," he told BBC Sport.

"A lot of the lads have never played in that stadium; a lot of lads have never played Ireland away.

"It's good that there's a lot of rawness in the team. A lot of the lads don't know what to expect, so they won't be fazed by it."

England have not won a Six Nations game in Ireland for 10 years - their last tournament victory in Dublin secured a Grand Slam in 2003, the year England also won the World Cup - although they did win a World Cup warm-up match in Dublin in 2011, and claimed an emphatic 30-9 victory in their last Six Nations meeting at Twickenham last March.

But there are only six players from the 2011 match-day 22 in Stuart Lancaster's 23-man squad this year, while only James Haskell from the starting XV in 2009 will begin again this weekend.

And Dan Cole, who counts that most recent defeat at the Aviva Stadium among the 36 caps he has won in his country's last 37 matches, says the inexperience of the current side - the starting line-up last week had fewer caps between them than the Scottish front row - can count in its favour.

Cole told BBC Sport: "The set-up has changed so much since two years ago, whether it's the head coach or the players. It's a fresh team. It's not the 2011 side, it's the 2013 side.

"Ever since I've been involved, Ireland has been the big game regardless of form. They're a great side, especially at home."

Care, a replacement both in 2009 and 2011, is expecting a ferocious atmosphere when the two stand-out teams from the first round of Six Nations fixtures come together.

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But he is confident that the callow visitors can continue the fine form that saw them beat the All Blacks by a record-breaking margin in December and then begin the championship in style last weekend.

"Everyone seems to dislike us and wants to beat us," he told BBC Sport. "That comes with the territory.

"Everyone wants to knock you down. We think, bring it on. We look forward to the challenge.

"I've had two experiences there that weren't great, so hopefully we can improve on that. We need to go out there and enjoy ourselves.

"Ireland are a brilliant team, and they showed their class in the first 60 minutes against Wales.

"Any time you play Ireland it's a massive game, with a fantastic buzz around the stadium. All week you're excited. It will be mental over there on Sunday."

Ireland have selected an unchanged side from the team that beat Wales 30-22 in Cardiff last weekend, while Stuart Lancaster has kept faith with Billy Twelvetrees at centre after his impressive debut in the 38-18 victory over Scotland at Twickenham.

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