Sir Clive Woodward has backed England to clinch the RBS 6 Nations title following their victory over Scotland.
Having lost their Championship opener to France, Stuart Lancaster’s men put their Chariot back on track with a one-sided victory in a Murrayfield mud-bath.
England resume their campaign against unbeaten Ireland and Woodward reckons the winner of the Twickenham showdown will top the table.
And he has tipped England to end Ireland’s unbeaten start, with home advantage a decisive factor.
He said: “If England beat Ireland, they’ll go on and win the title.
“England at home should have the firepower to get over the line. If it was at Lansdowne Road, Ireland would be favourites. but England, at Twickenham, will win.
“I was really impressed with their victory over Scotland. We have all been there and lost when we have had the better team.
“It was a case of going up there and doing a job and coming home. The conditions were awful, you saw the state of the pitch, but they did a really good job.
“They will be very pleased and can now focus on Ireland, which will be a totally different game in terms of the challenge.”
Ireland warmed up for the clash with an impressive victory over Wales – the reigning champions’ worst Six Nations defeat during Warren Gatland’s tenure.
The hosts literally blew Wales off the park with a pragmatic performance built upon power, intensity and the boot of Jonny Sexton.
And Woodward reckons it was testament to the impact of new coach Joe Schmidt.
He said: “Sometimes you have to take off your hat to the coach and that was a masterclass from Joe Schmidt. The way Ireland played just strangled Wales to death.
“Wales had no answers and Warren Gatland was brilliant in defeat after the match basically saying they got thumped, smashed, out-thought, out-played and just have to go out and perform in their next game.”
The Six Nations has been plagued by poor conditions to date, none more so than England’s showdown with Scotland which was played upon a worm-infested mud bath.
But Woodward reckons the Championship will burst into life in the Anglo-Irish ‘title decider’.
He added: “It will be a humdinger, there will be a lot of rugby played and a real classic.
“England have a young, promising team that we are all excited about where as Ireland have a far more experienced team with the likes of Paul O’Connell and Brian O’Driscoll. It’s a brilliant match up.”